I bet everyone has packed way too much for a trip. That is the biggest mistake you can make. The reason for that is because we usually leave packing to the last minute and don't have time to plan. I take at least 10 trips a year and I still make mistakes, but I make a lot less than I use to. Packing is a real art form. Let's look at some things I've learned.
Make sure you follow TSA's guidelines for liquids.
I have small containers for shampoo and conditioner that fit into small bag and buy small containers of toothpaste regularly so that when I'm going to be traveling, I have them on hand. Don't forget that aerosols are liquids. I've seen many of these get confiscated by TSA. Be very careful on the way home after you've purchased sunscreen or other products that are liquids.
Wrap Liquids Properly
Air pressure changes cause liquids to expand in their containers. If you don't have them packed separately, you could ruin your clothes. Make sure they are tucked into zip lock bags, wrapped in plastics, or just kept separate from your clothes.
To avoid this preplan outfits. Stick to a basic color palette so you can mix and match pieces. Three tops for every bottom is a good formula to use. Think about what clothing can be layered such as tank tops and long sleeve shirts. This way you can adjust to changing weather. Don't pack too many shoes. Take shoes that are versatile. Try flats and heels or dress and casual. Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane.
Not Checking the Weather
Check the weather via an app on your phone. There are several ones to choose from.
Cross Pack with your Partner
If you plan on checking your bag, it is a good idea to throw in a few of your clothes into your partners bag. That way if you bag is lost, you still have a few clothes to rely on.
Maximize Bag Space
There are several ways to pack including rolling your clothes, laying them flat or a combination. I like the combination. I My large things lay flat. I like to put my slacks on one side and tops on the other side. The small skirts are rolled along with some thin tops. I don't use compression bag like Ziploc space bags, but I know some people that do. Be careful of your bag weight if you use compression bags as they save space, but not weight. Place small items in your shoes such as socks. I also shove things into the side spaces that are sometimes left empty.
Don't Bring An Over-sized Bag
Make sure you check with the airline size restrictions for carry on bags. Some airlines are more forgiving than others. Also, the bigger the bag, the harder it is to get into the overhead bin because of weight. On many international flights they weigh all bags, including carry on for weight. If they are not within a certain weight, you must check them.
Pack Shoes Wisely
Protect clothes from dirty shoes, use shoe bags. If you don't have any, pack soles away from clothes.
Bring a Swim Suit
You never know if your accommodations have a pool, hot tub, or sauna
Take a Small Bag With You
Tote bags are small, light weight and easy to throw into the front pocket of your suitcase. Use it to hold your sunscreen, water bottle, souvenirs and snack for the plane. At the end of the trip, use the tote to hold your dirty laundry.
Don't Wait Until the Last Minute to Pack
When you wait until the last minutes, you usually end up with a crammed bag and not much in it.
Think about the activities and the weather before packing. Also plan the toiletries, electronics, credit cards, and ID. Make a list of things you need to throw in at the last minute. My list always includes phone charger, hat, and curling iron. I make sure I check it before I leave. I found that if I don't, I have a tendency to forget things such as my hat.
Judy Peterson, Peterson Travel Pros