Packing and travel hacks that also work at home

Scarborough Bluffs
Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto, Canada

There are some things you can do to make your travel easier. Most, or all of these you can do at home too. Living in New York City, I’ve learned which packing hacks are especially valuable if you live in a small space.



I will always remind people to pack the minimal amount of items you need for your trip to reduce the amount of suitcases you carry. You will thank me one day.

Put a dryer sheet or a ball of foil in your suitcase. It will reduce static and keep your clothes fresh. You can do this in your drawers too to help get rid of static.

Use tissue paper to minimize the amount of wrinkling in clothes. Wrap your clothes individually in a sheet.

Put your socks in your shoes to free up space, and your pairs of shoes in reusable bags to protect other things in your suitcase, or closet at home depending on its size. Bags also protect them from scuffing and take up less room than boxes. Amazon has some options.

Save space by rolling clothes instead of folding, except for items that it’s better to fold like formal clothes.

Use belts to line the collars of your shirts (that have them) to keep them solid and reduce the need for ironing.

belt in shirt

If you have extra eye or sunglass cases, they are perfect to pack or store your chargers and cables.

Tech stuff

I’ll start with the most important things.

When you book flights and hotels online, do it in private browsing. Many travel sites track your visits and will raise the price because they know you’ve been to the site before. Also clear your browser afterward. This practice is also true for some other sites that you use to shop around.

You can find the WiFi passwords for different places by checking the comments on FourSquare. For example, reading through the comments in this FourSquare post, you can find the Starbucks Wifi code at some Upper West Side locations in New York.

Back up all of your things on the cloud or if you don’t want that, a portable drive that you carry with you. The last thing you want to do is lose all your memories or work.

Use the spring from a pen to protect your chargers from bending or breaking.

pen protection
Protect your chargers with a pen spring.

If you don’t have a clip, wrap your headphones around a binder clip or an elastic band to prevent them from tangling.

Whenever you want to save a map to use again, put Google Maps offline by typing “OK Maps.” It will save the visible area so you can use it again later. It’s invaluable if you’re in a pinch; you can still navigate your location.


Sensō-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan
Sensō-ji Temple, Japan

Take lots of pictures, but don’t go overboard. You want to capture moments, but you don’t want to miss out on life and what’s around you either by keeping your head behind your camera.

Learn everything about your camera. Whether or not you have a camera or are using your phone, you’ll capture your great shot if you know how to work it properly.

Life lessons

greenwich new york
Greenwich Village, New York

On the last day of your trip, collect your change and the currency you may not need anymore, and give it to the homeless. You can do this once a week or once a month at home too.

Keep an open mind. Lifestyles and customs may differ from yours. Listen, even if you don’t agree. Embrace the different possibilities, opportunities, people and interests out there. Don’t assume your views are correct and others are wrong. You don’t have to agree, but you may be surprised at what you can learn. I find this lesson equally, if not more important at home.

Say hello to people. If you feel uncomfortable talking to strangers, or think people seem unfriendly, try making eye contact with them and smiling. If they smile back, say hello in their language and take it from there. Do this at home too. How many times do you walk by the same people and never acknowledge them? Next time you see someone, say hi or smile.

These are some of my tips. Do you have any others?



  1. How did you get the spring around the phone wire? Great tips! Also, I love dryer sheets too!! We like don’t have them in Argentina since no one has a dryer so now when I have frizzy hair I’m helpless hahahaha!!

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