Odd (& Useful) Packing Tips from Smarter Travel

Smarter Travel
Cover your shoes with a shower cap

When it comes to packing for a trip the main decision I have is whether or not I’ll roll or fold, my clothes…

If I’m traveling with a backpack (I do on just about every trip), I always roll. When bringing along a suitcase, I tend to fold my things and place them in piles inside.

One packing hack that I learned from a Buzzfeed article was to place footwear in shower caps to “prevent the soles from touching your clothes“. I now cover the bottoms of my shoes with shower caps all of the time before packing them. The only problem I have is that the caps tend to rip relatively fast.

Since I’m always looking for ways to improve the travel experience, I was happy to come across a slideshow from Smarter Travel about Weird Packing Tips You Never Thought Of.

Here are the tips:

  1. Mail your stuff there– It might save you some money over paying bag fees but this seems like too much of a pain to bother with.
  2. Go to thrift stores– This doesn’t interest me as I like to buy new clothes. I also don’t want to waste my time in a new place shopping.
  3. Dump your duds– I’ve met some people that bring along clothes for trips that they then leave behind. I haven’t done this but it is an interesting idea.
  4. Mail your stuff back home– The article mentions to mail home dirty clothes. Again, I just don’t see doing this during a trip.
  5. Make your own washing machine– Using a plastic bag as a washing machine sounds interesting but for the things I wash during a trip, I’ll stick to using the sink.
  6. Get Strategic– I love this idea! The article suggests when traveling as a couple to pack two days of clean clothes in each other’s bags. This is just as a precaution in case a bag gets lost so one person won’t get stuck without clean clothes.
  7. Go Disposable– Disposable underwear- weird…
  8. Take a snapshot of your Samsonite– Take a picture of our luggage which can make it easier to describe (by just showing the photo) if your bags get lost.
  9. Leave it all behind– Become a minimalist and travel with a coat with many pockets to fill with basics or downsize your luggage, only bringing a carry-on. Some interesting ideas here…

What do you think of Smarter Travel’s packing tips? Do you see anything useful to start using from this slideshow?

If you have any packing tips for us, feel free to share.

Find out more about each of Smarter Travels’¬†Weird Packing Tips You Never Thought Of¬†here.

Oh, here is one more from me- When packing your shoes/ footwear- stuff them with your socks or try to fit other small items inside.

11 thoughts on “Odd (& Useful) Packing Tips from Smarter Travel

  1. #1 – I have friends who ship their skis ahead of time but check one bag with them.
    #3 – I have another friend who will take old shirts where the cuffs & collars look nice but may have stains on them and wear those shirts under sweaters or sweatshirts when traveling – then leave them behind. Frees up space for souvenirs on the way back.
    #8 – I definitely keep a photo of my luggage on my phone for this very reason.

    As for shower caps on shoes, I find that plastic grocery bags work just as well.

  2. Lea- The old shirts idea is definitely a good idea, I just happen to rarely wear undershirts! I used to always use plastic bags until coming across the shower cap trick. I like how the shower caps have less bulk. One negative is that the elastic around the shower caps tend to rip easily.

    Alvin DTW- I always did until coming across the shower cap trick!

    Randy- I like the idea!

  3. I do like rolling clothes but I usually fold them.
    I wear size 15 shoes so the shower caps don’t work well for me most of the time.
    I use leak proof bottles (I like the nalgene ones from The Container Store the best).
    I like the idea of throwing away clothes but what’s better is to take clothes that are still fairly good and giving them away while your there. Especially in third world countries.

  4. DannMCI- I think rollings vs folding (at least for me) depends on what kind of bag I am using. Wow, size 15- I don’t think shower caps will be working! We have a few Go Toobs which we’ve found on sale, otherwise they are pricey!

    I haven’t thrown away or given away clothes on a trip but it is a good idea!

  5. on leisure trips, I take only my small backpack for electronics, minimal toiletries and 1 change of clothes. On the rare occasion that I need more/different clothing, I tend to ‘rent’ it – buying items at a thrift store, then dropping them off (laundered) before leaving.

  6. I’m wary of regimes that rely on leaving things behind. We leave enough trash when we travel. Also, I don’t like depending heavily on shopping when we get there. Shopping on vacation is fun but, not when you are desperate for clean underwear. I have found that generally, we bring too much stuff to start with. Too many gadgets, clothes, toiletries. Each time I get home I make an honest assessment of what I really used and what was just there for emotional security. I amazed at the “travel accessories” for sale. Travel size scented candles? Really?

    I bring the smallest amounts needed, the most versatile clothes, and accessories, a washcloth, smartphone (a million gadgets in one), appropriate converters, the torn out pages I need of maps and travel books (in case I have to go analog), docs, small journal, pen and a quality, mostly empty, nice looking purse that serves a double life as a camera bag, picnic bag, market bag and so forth. Oh, yeah, and corkscrew, always. I have never found a shortage of local reading material, even in English. Besides, if I do run out of toothpaste or need clean clothes, it’s always fun to find a pharmacy or cleaner. It’s great to be home later and look at that tube of Italian toothpaste on my sink. Good times.

    Travel isn’t always profoundly life changing but does teach us to suffer well. That starts with light packing.

  7. I recently returned from two weeks in Europe. I took a carry-on and a small backpack with my camera equipment. Packing cubes were fantastic and I will confess to ditching undies that would have been tossed at home. I did do some hand washing of clothes but we did not check a bag!

  8. D.- Not bad at all! I don’t think I could do a two week trip with just a small pack and carry-on unless I knew I was going to have time for laundry…

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