Last updated: 11:00 AM ET, Thu November 03 2016

How to Pack Like a Travel Pro

Features & Advice Janeen Christoff November 03, 2016

How to Pack Like a Travel Pro

Photo courtesy Thinkstock.

Almost everyone who has traveled has, at some point, overpacked. 

Poet and musician Sharrif Simmons recalls a trip to Paris when he lugged around what he dubs, “a small apartment.” His suitcase was so overstuffed and unmanageable, it induced belly laughs among travel companions,” writes Jess Simpson for Paste Magazine

Overpacking is easy to do, and packing smarter is definitely a learned skill. When Paste asked its expert travel writers for tips, one of the first things they learned was to pack in advance. 

“Almost every expert described a similar technique. A week before travel, gather together each item you plan to take. Then, every day leading to the trip, remove at least two items. In other words, distill,” Simpson reports. 

They also suggested starting from the ground, with your shoes. 

“Whether your days are spent walking up mountains, climbing church stairs, or staggering between pubs, the right footwear is crucial. Style is important, but opt for a workhorse,” Paste writers recommend.

They also note that there’s nothing wrong with a travel “uniform.” 

 READ MORE: What Not to Pack  

“Challenge yourself to develop “travel uniforms” based on pieces you wear often at home. The concept may seem boring, but it’s actually liberating. Having a series of go-to pieces that work for multiple activities allows for less focus on what to wear, more on exploration,” says Simpson. 

Streamlining your travel gear is another key to packing smarter. 

“Determine your top-three must-have travel devices, then research the most light-weight, durable options. I failed in this area for years by lugging around a ridiculously heavy laptop to save money. Upgrading to an ultra-light option was worth the investment,” she says. 

For more ways to pack smarter and lighter — including how to pack for the whole family — read on here.