Busting 5 Of The Most Insanely Ridiculous Packing Myths
We’ve all been there.
Trying to pack your stuff in the most practical way possible, trying to squeeze one more item in your suitcase or backpack, finally giving up and deciding to find some wisdom online.
Only the tips and hacks seem a little odd to you. But hey, they’ve been published on some of the most visited sites, so they can’t be wrong, right?
It’s not you, it’s the thousands of people who’ve never left their home and never packed a bag in their lives who upvote and share those kinds of “advice” because they find them “cool“.
Luckily, I was as annoyed as you are by these “genius easy tips” or “travel hacks”, so after having a good laugh at them, I took them under the microscope, tested them all, recorded the results, and I’m about to present my findings to you along with usable alternatives.
Are you ready to hear the truth about the packing myths polluting the Internet? Then sit back and enjoy!
Packing Myth 1: Disposable Shower Cap Over Your Shoes
How to execute it: find a shower cap. Put it over the soles of your shoes.
What’s wrong with this advice: packing your shoes instead of throwing them in your luggage is excellent advice.
Even if your travel shoes are extremely clean when leaving home, you’re going to wear them at some point (at least that’s your intention, I guess) and they’re not going to stay clean forever.
But even if you have a shower cap in your home or in your hotel room, why on Earth would you use it to cover just the soles of your shoes?
Why not pack the shoes entirely?
And how many caps do you need to actually pack all of your shoes, and then your partner’s or your kids’ shoes?
Result: surprisingly for me, even my husband’s shoes of size 46 (EU) = 12 (US) = 11 (UK) were able to fit in the shower cap. But only the soles were covered, which I don’t think is very useful.
What to do instead: simply use a large enough plastic bag which I bet you have at your home or you brought to your hotel room along with some groceries.
That’s it if you want to cover your shoes and protect your clothes from the dirt under the soles. If you don’t care about the dirt, just throw your shoes in your luggage and you’re ready to go.
Packing Myth 2: Fill Straws With Skincare Products
How to execute it: put skincare products in straws, secure the ends from leaking.
Result: it was probably me, but I couldn’t get the body lotion into the straw (see the result below).
Most tips tell you to melt the ends of the straw and press them together to seal them. I’ll just shake my head in disbelief here. Taping the ends sounds a lot easier and sane to me.
What to do instead: (re)use travel-size, samples or hotel toiletries bottles. In case you’re afraid they might leak, or even just for convenience, pack similar toiletries together in a small plastic bag.
For example, you can pack your shower gel, face wash, shampoo and conditioner in one bag and your face cream and body lotion in another.
Packing Myth 3: Transport Wine In Your Shoes (Or In Your Pool Floaties)
I’m sorry, but I learned how to swim at the age of 5 and I’ve never used floaties in my life.
So I can’t transport wine in my suitcase, you say? My many friends whom I’ve personally brought bottles of wine or other liquor will disagree.
If there’s something a Bulgarian knows how to transport safely, that’s bottles of alcohol, trust me!
And no, I never pack them in my shoes either, nor in my husband’s shoes.
How to execute it: put a bottle of wine in your shoes under some weird angle, making it extremely hard to pack the whole thing into your luggage. Or put a floatie over the bottle, after inflating it, of course.
What’s wrong with this advice: everything! Instead of saving space, you’re inflating a floatie?!? And how will you ensure the bottle doesn’t fall out of your shoes?
Result: yes, you can pack a bottle of wine in big enough shoes. And probably your kid’s floatie will keep the bottle safe from breaking, too. But there are so many less insane ways to pack a bottle, that these two tips sound like the stupidest of the whole bunch so far.
What to do instead: wrap the bottle in paper or even better bubble wrap, if you have some at home.
You can put the whole package in a sock for some extra protection.
That’s right, in a sock. No usable sock? Then just wrap it in any piece of clothing.
Finally, put the wrapped bottle in a plastic bag.
The idea is, even if by any teeny-weeny chance your bottle breaks, the paper and the fabric will suck as much as possible of the liquid content and the plastic bag will prevent the mess from leaking and messing the rest of your luggage.
Most importantly, secure the bottle between your clothes – don’t worry, it won’t break and mess them.
Put it in the middle of your luggage, avoid the sides. The trick is to have everything tight together.
If your bottle doesn’t move in your bag, there’s no way it would break.
Trust me, this tip has been tested on so many occasions, that I’ve lost count years ago.
So now you know how not to mess up the rest of your luggage with a broken bottle.
Packing Myth 4: Pack Your Soap And Wash Cloth Together By Making A Simple Case
How to execute it: have the insane idea to pack a bar of soap. Have a bar of soap and a washcloth at home. Make a pouch from the cloth.
What’s wrong with this advice: packing soap, seriously?
Unless you’re going camping in some absolutely off-grid place on Earth, every other accommodation will provide you with at least soap, if not proper shower gel. And if you’re so off-grid, then I guess you won’t be showering anyway.
But let’s assume you absolutely must have your soap with you and you’ve made a case out of your washcloth.
What will happen after the soap is wet and you pack it back in your luggage?
The whole thing will leak like crazy on your clothes, that’s what will happen.
Result: I couldn’t find my washing cloth. Wait, I don’t use one at all! And I don’t really use soap either, see the photo below, the one I found isn’t even unwrapped.
What to do instead: if you still insist on taking your soap bar with you, then maybe you should buy a soap case as well. Or at least put your simple-case-out-of-washing-cloth in a plastic bag.
For the rest of us, who use shower gel – just continue using shower gel!
And for the really smart ones, who don’t pack a soap or shower gel, because your accommodation will provide it anyway, thumbs up – you’re saving quite some space in your luggage, I’m so proud of you.
Packing Myth 5: Protect Your Digital Camera With A Soap Case
Wait, what?!? I thought we didn’t have a soap case, that’s why we used the washcloth in the previous tip?…
The best part, those two tips came from the same “DIY travel hacks” list.
How to execute it: put your camera in a soap case and close it.
What’s wrong with this advice: the chance of having a soap case and a camera, which perfectly fits in it, is almost non-existent.
Result: none of the three compact cameras at home fits in a standard soap case.
What to do instead: do what every normal person would do – when buying a camera, buy a case or bag for it as well. Or even wrap your camera in a handkerchief, put it in a sock, a glove, a hat, anything but a hard inflexible soap case.
The Hack That Actually Makes Sense: Roll Instead Of Folding Your Clothes To Save Space
How to execute it: fold your clothes, then roll them to save space.
If the clothes unroll, pack them tight together into plastic bags or secure them with rubber bands.
What’s wrong with this advice: sounded too good to be true, so I was urged to test it.
Result: I’m busted here! I could not prove this advice wrong, but since I thoroughly tested this method of packing, I’ll present my results to you.
|Tested object||Volume Folded||Volume rolled|
|Jeans||2740.5 cm3||2278 cm3|
|Towel||1728 cm3||1527 cm3|
How to enhance the result even more: don’t put your clothes in the dryer, air dry them instead before packing. That way they’ll be less fluffy but also would have less air in the fabric, hence will have a smaller volume than normal.
Additionally, you can use packing cubes or ziplock bags to further compress your clothes, while keeping them clean and separated from the rest of your luggage!
Which Is The Most Insane Packing “Tip” You’ve Come Across?
Not all tested myths proved to be wrong or insane, I admit.
But 5-out-of-6 turned out the be really bad advice, considering the much better, easier options I presented you with.
Some of these “hacks” have been copied and repackaged so many times, that it was impossible to find the original source.
They even appeared on the same site multiple times. I’m looking at you, Huffington Post and BuzzFeed! When will you finally stop recycling terrible ideas? No matter how many times you repeat a lie, it doesn’t become the truth, you know…
For me, the best advice out there, tested over and over again by yours truly, is to pack everything possible into plastic bags, or if you travel really often, invest in packing cubes.
P.S. Is there some other packing hack you were wondering if it’s any good and you wanted me to test for you? Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to do it!