10 Packing Mistakes You're Making and How to Avoid Them

Pack it right, so you can save yourself and your sanity.
packing mistakes to avoid
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Last Updated
August 8, 2023
Editorial Staff
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Are you dreading the process of packing for your next trip? Chances are, there's a part of you that hates having to come up with an inventory list, squeeze all your items into luggage without exceeding those airline weight restrictions, and run around trying to grab everything in time before it’s time to leave.

But when done correctly, packing can be made easy – and unfortunately, we might be making mistakes along the way that add more stress than necessary!

That’s why today we're walking you through these common packing mistakes travelers make and how to avoid them. Let's get started!


1. You pack every item of clothing you’ve ever owned

Overpacking Packing Mistakes to Avoid
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When it comes to packing for a trip, many of us tend to err on the side of caution and pack too much. This can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress and wasted time lugging around a heavy suitcase. To avoid overpacking, here are a few solutions:

  1. Make a list: A packing list is essential for keeping track of what you need to pack. Without one, it's easy to forget items or end up packing duplicates.
  2. Don't pack too much: It's important to be realistic about what you'll actually need while on vacation. There's no need to pack your entire closet - just bring the essentials.
  3. Don't overload your suitcase: A overweight suitcase can be difficult to carry and may even incur additional fees at the airport.

2. You fold your clothes instead of rolling them

You Fold Your Clothes Instead of Rolling Them
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Whether you're packing for a weekend getaway or a month-long vacation, making sure everything fits into your suitcase can be a challenge. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is folding your clothes instead of rolling them. Here's why:

Folding clothes takes up more space. When you fold your clothes, they end up being thicker and taking up more space than if you rolled them.

Rolling your clothes prevents wrinkles. Nobody wants to arrive at their destination with a suitcase full of wrinkled clothes. Rolling them means they'll stay neater and look better when you unpack them.

You can take it up a notch by rolling them up tightly and using rubber bands to keep them in place. Then sort them into large storage bags so everything stays organized. This will help you save time and space when packing for your next trip.

All in all, if you want to get it done quickly, rolling your clothes is the way to go.


3. Not using packing cubes

Not Using Packing Cubes Packing Mistakes
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You can also use packing cubes as an alternative to the rolling clothes method above. Packing cubes should be an essential tool for any traveler. They help keep your luggage organized and maximize space.

Without packing cubes, you are likely to end up with a jumbled mess of clothes and belongings.


4. You forgot to bring essential items

Forgot to Bring Essential Items Packing Mistakes
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There's nothing worse than getting to your destination and realizing you've forgotten to pack an essential item. To avoid this packing mistake, make a list of everything you'll need for your trip and check it twice.

Some items that are often forgotten are chargers, toothpaste, and sunglasses. If you're forgetful, it might be helpful to pack these items in a separate bag that you can easily grab before you leave.


5. You don’t bag your shoes

You Dont Bag Your Shoes Packing Mistakes't bag your shoes packing mistakes
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There are many advantages to not bagging your shoes when packing. It protects them from airline damage and prevents other items from pressing against them.

However, it is also inefficient and takes up a lot of space. Instead, fill your shoes with smaller items, like rolled-up socks or underwear. Then, wrap them individually.


6. You’ve mixed up your prohibited items

Mixed up Prohibited Items Packing Mistakes
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As you go to close your suitcase, you realize you've made a mistake — you've mixed up your prohibited items!

There are a few things that you can do if this happens. First, check to see if the item is actually prohibited. If it is, then you'll need to find a place to store it until you return home. You can also try mailing the item to yourself or leaving it with a friend or family member.

If the item isn't actually prohibited, then you should be able to pack it in your suitcase without any problems. Just make sure to double-check the rules before packing so that you don't make this mistake again in the future!


7. You got sucked in by the travel gadget ads

You Got Sucked in By the Travel Gadget Ads Packing Mistakes
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You've seen the ads. The one where the couple is frolicking on the beach with their new travel towels that double as a poncho and a carrying case. Or the guy jogging along an exotic coastline with his new state-of-the-art travel backpack that has a built-in charger for his phone. They make it all look so easy and fun. So you buy into the dream and spend your hard-earned cash on these new must-have travel gadgets only to find out that they are complete packing mistakes.

Here's the thing, those travel ads are designed to suck you in. They show you exactly what you want to see, a carefree couple enjoying their vacation without a worry in the world. But what they don't show you is how difficult it is to actually pack and use these gadgets. So, before you go and buy everything that's advertised, consider this: do you really need all of those gadgets?

Chances are, you don't. In fact, most of those gadgets are more trouble than they're worth. They're bulky, they're heavy, and they take up valuable space in your suitcase that could be better used for other things.

So before you pack your bags for your next trip, take a step back and consider which gadgets you really need, and which ones you can leave at home. You might be surprised at how much lighter your suitcase will be - and how much easier your trip will be - without all of those unnecessary gadgets.


8. You don't check the weather

Not Checking the Weather Packing Mistakes
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When you're packing for a trip, the weather is one of the last things on your mind. After all, you can always check the forecast when you get there, right? WRONG. Checking the weather ahead of time is one of the most important steps in packing for any trip - and yet, it's one of the most commonly overlooked.

Why is checking the weather so important? For one thing, it can help you pack more appropriately for your destination. If you know it's going to be sunny and hot, you can pack shorts and sundresses instead of jeans and sweaters.

But more importantly, checking the weather can help you avoid dangerous situations. If a hurricane is scheduled to make landfall while you're on your trip, for example, you'll want to change your plans accordingly - or at least be prepared for some bad weather.


9. You don't prepare yourself for souvenirs

Not Prepare Yourself for Souvenirs Packing Mistakes
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When you're packing for a trip, the last thing on your mind is probably souvenirs. But if you don't plan ahead, you might find yourself struggling to fit everything into your suitcase on the way home. Here are some solutions to the packing mistakes when it comes to souvenirs:

  • Planning ahead: If you wait until the last minute to think about souvenirs, you're likely to either forget them altogether or end up buying something that's too big and bulky to pack home.
  • Checking airline restrictions: Before you buy anything, make sure it meets your airline's size and weight restrictions for carry-on luggage. Otherwise, you'll be stuck paying hefty baggage fees on the way back.
  • Make sure to not overpack it: It's tempting to want to bring home everything you see, but resist the urge!

10. You ignore local culture and customs

You Ignore Local Culture and Customs Packing Mistakes
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When you travel to a new country, it's important to be respectful of the local culture and customs. Unfortunately, many travelers make the mistake of ignoring these important aspects of travel.

One of the most common mistakes is not dressing appropriately. In some cultures, it's considered disrespectful to show too much skin. Make sure to research the local dress code before packing for your trip.

Another mistake is not being aware of local customs and traditions. For example, in some countries, it's considered rude to eat with your hands. In others, it's considered disrespectful to show up late for appointments. Do your research before you travel so you can avoid offending locals.

Finally, don't forget to pack any necessary items required by local law. In some countries, women are required to wear headscarves when entering religious sites.




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