life·4 min read

That’s a Wrap: Hacks to Pack Smarter For Holiday Travel

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Nov 18, 2019

We're bringing you tips and tricks to Celebrate Smarter this holiday season. Check it out.

The Story 

If you’re heading over the river and through the woods (or somewhere less old-timey) this season, you know that holiday packing is its own beast. You need cozy clothes, but you also need a party outfit. You’re worried about lost luggage. And what about packing gifts? 

Freaking out. 

Deep breaths. This guide will help you get packing, smarter. Tips coming in 3, 2, 1...

For when your trip is a few weeks away…

Not sure whether the weather will be cold or really cold where you’re going? Add your destination to your weather app now, and take a look every day before takeoff. That way, you’ll get a sense of what the temp is really gonna be like. And if you need to pack long underwear

For when you’re preparing to prepare…

Baby steps. To start, buy some packing cubes. They’ll help you say ‘bye’ to a messy, overflowing suitcase and ‘hi there’ to peak organization. Plus, they make it easy to actually find things when you’ve reached your destination. These are the highest rated on Amazon. 

For when you’re worried about wrinkles…

Meet your friend the steamer. They’re small but mighty, and they’re a quick fix for any wrinkling you can’t prevent in transit. We recommend this one

Or prevent wrinkles in the first place by wrapping delicate clothes in plastic. Wrinkles are caused by friction, and plastic gets rid of that friction. Oh and, reuse the plastic for the way back. 

For when you’re ready to load your suitcase…

Put anything hefty (think: books, shoes, that steamer) on the side of your bag near the wheels. That way, when the suitcase is upright, it will be less likely to topple over. And your heavy stuff won’t smush everything else.

And then, roll your clothes and squeeze them in where there’s room. When Chamillionaire said, ‘they see me rollin’... they hatin’....’ he was definitely talking about the fold vs. roll debate. 

Speaking of shoes…

Pack them in shoe bags. Because the rest of your stuff doesn’t need to be walked all over. 

For when you come bearing gifts…

Pro tip:  the TSA doesn’t like wrapped presents. So bring your goodies unwrapped, and pack gift bags to make them presentable later. 

Oh, and if what you’re gifting is large or unwieldy, do everyone a favor and ship it directly to its destination. Headache, avoided. 

For when you’ll be getting some gifts from your very nice family…

Do you hear what I hear? It’s your suitcase breaking. Instead, be ready to bring home the gifts you receive by packing an empty duffle bag. This one can be folded up to fit in  your suitcase on the way there. 

For when it’s time to pack your purse or backpack…

It all comes down to this. A good tote or backpack should be stacked with a reusable water bottle, a sweater or scarf to keep you cozy mid-flight and an eye mask and ear plugs for catching zzz’s. 

And, in  case of a stuck-on-the-tarmac-nightmare (we’re trembling), bring some snacks and at least one form of non-technical entertainment (think: a real book with real pages). You never know when there won’t be a (gasp) in-flight TV.

For when you’re not flying direct…

Prepare for the worst. Bring the things you really need for your trip in your carry-on. Translation: any medication, anything of value (like jewelry), and one full change of clothes. That way, even if your luggage has a rocky road, you’ll be smooth (ish) sailing until you’re reunited. 

To prevent the nightmare of lost luggage in the first place (ok we’re actually trembling this time), put your name and cell number on the outside and inside of your bag. Yes, in two places. Because luggage tags can be ripped off in transit, but your contact info — placed on top of your clothes inside the bag — is forever. 


Packing is harder when holidays are involved. But if you plan ahead and have the tools you need, you’ll wrap things up just right. It’s the most wonderful trip of the year. 

PS: If you purchase anything in this article, theSkimm may get something in return. If something’s out of stock, oops, it was there when we published. Thanks.

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