For many people, one of the most stressful parts of planning of a new trip seems to be packing. You’re excited to head out on this adventure, but you’re not excited about taking the time to pack your bags and start the headache that’s fitting everything you need into a bag that meets the weight and size requirements of whatever your preferred method of travel is. When flying, this issue becomes even more pronounced because you need to make sure you follow all the rules while avoiding paying any unnecessary baggage fees. Here are some tips to make packing less stressful so you can enjoy your trip!

Make that list

The first step to successful packing is making a list. For many, this step is the easy part, so take care of it as soon as possible. Sit down a week or two in advance of your trip and begin making your list. Starting early gives you plenty of time to add items you might have forgotten and also re-evaluate the list as time goes on. Remember to save this list so when you re-pack at the end of the trip, you don’t leave anything behind at where you were staying.

Start early

Depending on where you’re going, there are likely items you can pack that you won’t need anytime in the next week or so. Start packing early so you don’t forget anything and can evaluate what you’re taking. As you’re packing, it’s the perfect time to look over your list and what you’re taking and decide if you really need as much as you’re planning on packing; we all have a tendency to overpack. Starting early also gives you plenty of time to go out and buy something you may not have realized you need.

Utilize compartments

Most bags or suitcases have plenty of compartments you can use to store your items. If you do not have luggage with sufficient compartments, invest in better luggage or accessories that provide you with more room for organization. These can usually be found at most home goods or department stores. The more orderly you are when packing, the easier it is to find items and keep your suitcase organized.

Double check everything

Before you leave for your trip, take time to double check your list and bag to make sure you didn’t leave anything important behind. If you did, it’s not the end of the world; you can usually buy anything you need once you reach your destination. You should also make sure you took care of any obligations you needed to before leaving; turn off all of your lights, leave your contact information with family, and do anything else that needs to be done.

Keep it organized

Once you’re on your trip, it doesn’t mean you can forget about being organized. While traveling, keeping your luggage organized can be incredible beneficial when it comes time to repack and head home or move to your next location. Even if you unpack your suitcase, stay organized so it’s easy to repack everything and you avoid forgetting any of your belongings once you head home.