Monday, 20 July 2015

Travel Aid: Packing Hacks for Students

I myself am prone to last minute packing. Combine that with my mild case of organizational OCD and I am the definition of a last-minute-packing disaster. And as Paige pointed out with her Study Abroad Prep List, it’s probably helpful to be a little (or a lot) more organized before your next adventure abroad begins. So for those of you who are like me, (i.e. the packs-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-type), I’ve done a little research and have compiled a few tricks that might help you stay on top of things. Yes, I am talking about packing hacks, and if this is the first time you are hearing about these, it explains why your sunscreen ends up everywhere except the inside of the bottle. 

Save Space

1) ROLL The Clothes: 
Packing Hack: Roll Your Hoodies

This is one of the most valuable and effective packing hacks because it frees up plenty of extra packing space and also keeps your clothes wrinkle free. You can even go one step further and roll completed outfits into bundles

2) Pack Smaller Things Into Shoes: 

By doing this you are taking advantage of all the free space you have, and also protecting small and/or fragile luggage like perfume or cologne bottles, deodorant, or small electronics. 

3) Use Contact Containers… But Not for Your Contacts: 

Packing Hack: Contact Lotion Containers
Image courtesy of Pintrest

For the short 3-day trips, save space by putting small amounts of lotion in a contact lens container. That way you won’t have to pack an entire bottle.  You can use this trick for hand lotion, face cream, foundation, or even back up first aid creams like Polysporin. (Just don’t put your contacts in the case too…)

4) Mix And Match In Advance: 

The basic rule is 3 tops per bottom. This way, you can have 3 different outfits to wear while leaving more space available for other necessities. 

Stay Together:

1) Pulling Straws: 

Packing Hack: Straw Necklaces
Image courtesy of

To prevent a tangled ball of chains, thread necklaces through straws and fasten the clasp. This way, you avoid wasting 20 minutes (or in my case hours) trying to untangle your jewellery

2) Buttons: 

To keep earring pairs together, use buttons as earring holders. 

3) Pill Cases: 

Another way to organize and keep track of smaller jewellery like earrings and rings or even thin necklaces, is to put them into pill containers. This, however, will not guarantee tangle-free necklaces. You could also use a pill container to hold back up ear buds or other electronic cords.

4) Tic-Tac Containers: 

Packing Hack: Bobbi Pin Tic Tac Case
Image courtesy of

Bobbi pins – a short walk around campus with your head pointed at the ground will prove just how easy it is to lose these (since there are plenty of random pins scattered around the halls of campus). To help keep your bobbi pins in one spot, stick them in a Tic-Tac holder. And if you don’t wear bobbi pins, consider using the Tic-Tac container to hold things like tooth picks or safety pins. 

5) Razor Armour: 

Use butterfly clips to cover razor blades. Doing so will keep them clean and will prevent any unwanted cuts while you sift through your, hopefully very organized and spacious, suitcase. 

6) Toothbrush Covers: 

Packing Hack: Toothbrush Cap
Image courtesy of

After I discovered toothbrush covers, all felt right in the world. They are by far my favourite packing tool. These little caps can be purchased cheaply at your nearest drugstore. And they work miracles. I guarantee that you will never find hair, sand, or makeup chunks in your toothbrush bristles ever again

Staying Clean to Prevent Disaster

1) Saran Wrap: 

My biggest travelling fear is to open my suitcase to find a coating of slimy bath gel on all my belongings. To prevent this from happening to you, unscrew the bottle cap and put a square of saran wrap over the top of the bottle before screwing the cap back on. Just make sure the saran wrap is hole-free.

2) Socks: 

Packing Hack: Stuff Your Socks

Use socks to store breakables

3) Shoes And Shower Caps: 

To protect your clothing from the bottom of your shoes, place your shoe soles inside a shower cap. If you plan on using the shower cap during your trip, make sure that the outside is the part touching the bottom of your shoes, and not the part you put on your head. 

4) A Belt Is A Man’s Best Friend: 

Use a rolled up belt to keep shirt collars shaped properly.

5) Trust In Tide: 

Place a dryer sheet in your suitcase to keep clothes smelling fresh and clean. 

Don’t Forget… 

1) Stay Hydrated:

Packing Hack: Reusable Water Bottles

Take an empty water bottle through security and fill it once you have passed through.

2) Stay Cozy:

Pack a pair of warm socks in your carry-on – just in case your feet get cold on airplanes. 

3) Keep Your Credit:

Call your credit and debit card companies BEFORE you embark on an international trip. (They'll think that someone has stolen your information if you don't... which means that they'll freeze your accounts.)

4) Digitize:

Make digital copies of your passport, ID, and other important documents and then send them to yourself just in case your hard copies are lost or stolen. 

5) Power Up:

If, God forbid, you forget your wall charger, there are usually USB outlets at the back of hotel televisions that you can use to charge your electronics. If not, hit up reception and they may let you borrow a charger for the length of your stay.

So whether you are a travel expert or nube, let’s hope that some of these tips and tricks make your travel experience a whole lot better! Bon Voyage and safe travels!  

----About the Author


Niabi is a third year student who is just starting a BA in English with a Spanish Minor. She’s a relentless optimist, hazardously curious, and tends to laugh a lot (her friends would say that she has a juvenile sense of humour). When not spending money she doesn’t have on clothes, or jamming out to Reggaeton, you can find her in a movie theatre, reading a book that involves sword fighting and dragons, or serving herself “eyes-are-to-big-for-your-stomach” helpings. She is thrilled to be a part of the YouAlberta team this year and plans to spread the excitement!

1 comment

  1. Great ideas! I am going to study in France. I am trying to find the best way packing my stuff. Your idea of putting make up in the contact containers is fantastic. I am going to show your post to my mom. She is so concerned that I am not going to manage to put everything in the luggage. With your tips I think I will cope with it. Best regards!


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