Travel Tips

This Genius $20 Hack Will Make Packing For a Long Weekend A Breeze

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There are two types of people in this world. Some pack intentionally and unpack immediately upon landing, and others delay packing and will leave their suitcase untouched for weeks after vacation. I’m team plan and unpack immediately, so you can imagine my joy when I came across this genius TikTok travel clothing hack.

An organizer for more than just sweaters

There’s a good chance you’ve already come across TikTok’s unofficial nonna, Babs. The lovable grandmother of eight shares plenty of motherly wisdom with her nearly 2 million followers. In one of her recent videos, she shares her time-saving packing hack that transforms anyone into an organized unpacker.

Her secret weapon is an inexpensive sweater organizer. In the video, Babs reveals, "When going on a quick trip, your sweater organizer doubles as packing cubes." Her trick is to fill each slot of the organizer with outfits, then collapse them into a suitcase. “When you arrive in your hotel room, this is a time saver,” Babs says while opening her luggage and hanging up the cubes.

Fans were blown away, with many commenters calling Babs a genius. However, some people were skeptical. “Ugh, how I want to be a person that can pack like this! I pack like I’m moving!” wrote one. Another: “Wait, people unpack their suitcases at hotels?!” As it turns out, less than half of travelers do.

A generation gap with packing

A 2020 YouGov survey questioned Americans about their packing and unpacking habits when away from home for over two days. Out of 3,800 participants, 51% revealed that they live out of their suitcases the entire time. Only 33% said they unpack and hang their things or put them in the dresser. The remaining 16% said they never travel away from home for over two days or answered, “I don’t know.”

The results also showed that the older you are, the more likely you are to unpack immediately, with 41% of people over the age of 55 doing so. In comparison, 62% of 25 to 34-year-olds preferred to live out of their suitcase. Talk about a generation gap.

How to become a better packer

Most Americans overpack when traveling—a whopping 62%, according to a Nordstrom Trunk Club survey. One of the reasons that people overpack is because their outfits aren’t planned in advance to be repurposed for multiple looks. “36% of Americans wear two outfits per day while traveling, but many looks can be taken from day to night by simply throwing on a great third piece, like a blazer or jacket, and accessorizing,” Maggie Mee, head of merchandising at Nordstrom Trunk Club, says in the report.

That's where a capsule wardrobe comes in. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing pieces that can be easily paired and interchanged, which is perfect for traveling. Having a set of items that all work well together will limit you from bringing options that can only be worn once or alone. Before putting an item in your suitcase, ask yourself, "Does this fit me well and make me feel my best?"

Of course, there are clothes we may really want to wear despite them not fitting well. (Hello, fellow petites!) In that case, it's worth tailoring those items—but going forward, shopping specifically for your body type will eliminate the ill-fitting items you may pack but won’t wear. “Always start with great-fitting jeans and shorts, dressier trousers, blazers, and sun dresses,” suggests Isabella Sun, founder and CEO of the petite brand Short Story. “With these base items, you can’t go wrong, as they’re timeless and are multipurpose for vacation.” And if you pack them using Babs' clever hack, you'll have plenty of room left in your suitcase, too.

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