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Packing with Efficiency According to Those Who Do It Often

by Amanda Smith

So you’re going on a trip and you don’t know how to pack all your Korean skincare in your suitcase and still leave room for souvenirs. Trust us, we’re right there with you. Traveling is exciting…packing is not. If you’re anything like us, you probably need a Marie Kondo type friend to come in and help you pack. Well, your wish has been granted. Here we are! Sorry, we don’t come with fairy dust, a cool wand, and a carriage but we promise you’ll love us after this. We spoke to international travelers who are pros at traveling, packing, getting every oddly shaped ceramic through TSA, and doing it without pulling a muscle. Okay, maybe only one pulled muscle, but that one-of-a-kind flower vase from Paris is worth it.

Michelle Montes


You’ve gone on some amazing trips this year. What items would you say are most valuable when traveling?

When I’m packing for a trip, my number one priority is my film camera! I treasure it so much & make sure to always carry it on me in order to capture the essence of my travels as much as possible.

If you know you’ll be doing a lot of different things on your trip, how do you even start packing?

Traveling to a different country can be overwhelming when you’re in the packing phase, so I try my best to stick to the essentials! Packing light will ensure you have enough room in your suitcase/bag for souvenirs for everyone back home. I would say my biggest tip when planning a trip and packing for it is to make a list of everything you plan on doing and according to that, make another list (yes, I like lists) for every item you plan on taking to ensure you have the appropriate clothing for your activities and that you don’t over pack! This ~very important~ list method will also serve to check off & keep track of the items as you pack them in your suitcase to make sure you’re not forgetting anything. That way you don’t leave anything behind (learned this the hard way). I think about my dear flower dress that I left in Italy every day. I hope some Italian girl rocks the heck out of it!

Alex Martinez


So you do a lot of traveling, what are the best tips for packing that you have found that help you bring everything you need even while traveling to multiple countries?

One thing I’ve learned to do (which really gets the airline staff shook) is wearing on whatever doesn’t fit in my carry on. If you choose a budget airline and cheap ticket and have absolutely NO room to include your clothes, layer up! I’ve literally been told my carry on is too large and that I’d need to pay to check it while backpacking. I decline, take out shirts and pants and the thickest layers I have and place them one over another whilst still in the front of the line at boarding call; then get the bag down to the appropriate size. The attendants are always shocked at my sass and new stuffed Eskimo #ootd, but it works. Once you’re on the flight, feel free to drop those layers and pop them back into your carryon bag. Who cares once you’ve made it on.

Carry On or Suitcase for International Trips?

I’m a BIG fan of carry-on. It limits you to traveling light, which means cheaper airline tickets for those on a budget. If you’re a low maintenance traveler, you can just repeat and re-wear outfits every few days, even on long trips. Then once you get to where you’re going, you can always grab essentials or new clothes there, which makes for a nice experience to bring home souvenirs. Purchasing a checked bag on your return flight home won’t be such a big deal most likely towards the end of the trip.

Alexandra Michelle


How do you make room for your camera gear, clothes, toiletries, and room for souvenirs while traveling?

I have an order system for packing my gear and clothing that I have found help me a ton. I always pack my camera equipment and other top priorities first. To save room, I put my socks inside my shoes. I lay everything flat in my suitcase with the clothes on one side and shoes on the other side. If I’m checking a bag, I make sure to pack my camera and most important items and a change of clothes in my carry on in case something happens to my main suitcase.

Have you found any packing hacks or tips during your travels?

I haven’t really found any special hacks, it’s really about narrowing down the items you bring. I try to only bring what’s necessary. I also like to color coordinate that way I can mix and match. Rewearing items differently and adding maybe one or two “fun items” really help change your looks while traveling. I like to bring items I can easily dress up or down, you never know what you may get into. Simplicity is better. It’s less stress to keep up with fewer things. I like to think of what I’m bringing as a way to enhance my experiences, rather than taking away from them.

There you go. Three professional world travelers who know their ish and then some. Only take a carry-on, bring what you love/need the most, pack all technology properly, make a list of everything you have, and wear whatever doesn’t fit. Noted! Now you’re ready for your international girls trip (that we will be very jealous of). If you use any of these tips (or others) share the love down below. Also, let us know if you’re traveling anywhere fun this summer? If so, make sure to take your Chillhouse Sweatshirt with you. It will be your best friend on long flights!

Feature Image via Victoria Morris

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