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Editor Pick

12 Packing Tips for Any Trip

Updated: June 14, 2024

Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Patricia Miller

First and foremost, give yourself plenty of time to pack. It’s a good idea to start planning 2-3 weeks ahead of time. Whenever you think of something you’ll need, jot it down or make a list on an app. Even better, leave your suitcase where you can see it and throw things into it during the weeks leading up to your trip.

Next, create a travel checklist. On the list, write down your outfit for each day of your trip. Plan on wearing neutrals like camel, navy and black; if you like to wear color, a scarf or jewelry does the trick nicely. And remember, dark colors don’t show spills as much as light colors do.

Pack an extra phone charger and a portable power bank. It’s easy and fun taking photos for Instagram with your smartphone, but you can wear your battery down quicker than you may realize. And trying to find an outlet in a public place to charge your phone when your battery is at 4% power is almost impossible.

Bring travel sizes of grooming items like toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant, or fill up little empties with your favorite brand to save valuable space in your suitcase.

Stash an empty water bottle in your carry-on that you can fill at water fountains. This way you won’t have to throw away unfinished bottled drinks as you go through the TSA security screening line or wait for the flight attendant to bring you a beverage.

Put shoes in thin plastic bags like a grocery bag or dry cleaning bag to keep them from touching your clean clothes. Pack footwear and other heavy things at the bottom of your suitcase to keep your clothes from wrinkling.

Invest in a set of packing cubes to keep items separated. It will be much easier to find things in your luggage or duffel bag and the cubes keep your neatly folded or rolled clothes from wrinkling. Speaking of rolling clothes, many travelers firmly believe it’s the best way to keep your garments crease-free. Give it a try and see how you like the results.

Tuck a fabric softener sheet into your suitcase to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Be prepared for bad weather and pack proper gear. If you find yourself in a sudden thunderstorm, you’ll be glad you brought a mini umbrella and a cheap plastic rain poncho.

Throw in some scented soap to add a touch of familiarity to your bath routine. Use a favorite scent to make you feel more at home and relaxed at the end of a long day of exploring your destination.

Stow necessities in your carry-on. This may seem too obvious, but medicine, expensive tech equipment, jewelry and essential toiletries are things you don’t want to lose and should keep close at hand.

Download the app, where you’ll find detailed information about hotels, restaurants, gas stations and attractions as well as maps, directions, approved AAA auto repair facilities and roadside service. In addition, you can search for nearby savings with AAA Discounts & Rewards®.

AAA Travel provides peace of mind when you travel—before, during and after your vacation! Members enjoy the advantages of membership including exclusive benefits, savings, map routing and travel planning, plus additional travel needs such as AAA Travel Guides, TourBook® guides, passport photos, International Driving Permits and travel insurance. Your next vacation starts with AAA—your complete travel solution. Visit
Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Patricia Miller

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