The key to prevent overpacking is to make sure you're organised. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Have you ever sat on your suitcase and tried to zip it shut? You’re not alone. Whether you’re heading out on a long, two-month summer vacation, or a short weekend trip, it’s easy to fall into the trap of overpacking.

We all know that when it comes to luggage, less is more. But how do you even begin organising yourself and making sure nothing important gets left behind?

It all starts with a list, says Shelina Jokhiya, professional organiser and managing director of DeCluttr Me, a Dubai-based home organisation and decluttering company. She explained: “When packing for a family, it's important to make a list of all the items you'll need for each family member, including toiletries, clothing, shoes, and any special equipment you might need, such as car seats or strollers. Having everything on a list ensures that you don’t miss anything out.”

Jokhiya usually uses the TickTick app to create her list. You can take advantage of such apps to not just list items, but also share them with your partner, so that you can both keep checking them off as you pack.

Getting organised ahead of time is key. Our expert said: “Last minute packing is always a bad idea and will give you more stress. I suggest starting to [place] clothes, accessories, shoes and other items into a pile for each person a week before. That way you can see how much you are planning to take and start reducing the amount you take with you. We all tend to start with a bigger pile when we first pack, so doing it this way ensures that you have time to reduce the choices (especially with clothes and shoes).”

Start early, and organise your travel items into piles so you can edit as you go. Image Credit: Unsplash/Sarah Brown

It's not just how you pack, but what you pack that’s important. Jokhiya recommends assessing your wardrobe for clothes that are truly versatile: “When choosing clothes to wear, pick outfits that can be mixed and matched, and also worn for night and day. Also ensure that they are suitable for the weather in the country you are visiting.”

She shared another useful hack – pack items inside your shoes (provided they are new or clean). Jokhiya said: “This can be especially helpful when it comes to packing socks, underwear, or small electronic items like chargers or headphones.”

If you’re travelling in the days ahead, or planning a trip for the summer, check out our curated list of travel essentials to help you transform how you pack. We took into consideration our expert’s tips, along with trending items and user ratings, to bring you our favourite picks. Get them with Amazon Prime for free, fast delivery.

1. Best Organisers: TravelWise Packing Organisation Cubes (5-Pack) 

If you’re already aware of your itinerary, or roughly know what you’re going to be doing at your destination, packing cubes can be extremely useful. Jokhiya said: “Use packing cubes to divide your items or to put your items for each day in one cube. That way, it’s easy to know what you are going to wear each day and it’s easier to pack. I organise my clothes by type and put them into different-sized packing cubes.” TravelWise’s set of five includes one small, two medium and two large packing cubes. They’re made with lightweight, durable nylon and have a mesh window so you can see what’s inside at a glance. Buy more than one set if you’re off on a long trip!

2. Best Compression Bags: The Chestnut Space Saver Bags (8-Pack) 

Going somewhere on business or where the weather is a whole lot colder? Jokhiya advises using compression bags: “They are great to use if you are going somewhere where you need bigger items like coats and jumpers, and don’t have much luggage space.” We picked The Chestnut’s space saver bags, which have nearly 4,000 4.5-star ratings on Amazon for their ease of use – you don’t need a vacuum sealer or pump to use the bag. Just put your clothes in, zip it up and roll the bag to push air out through the valves at the bottom. Apart from clothes, these bags are ideal for towels, pillowcases, baby blankets and more.

3. Best Toiletry Containers: Magorui Travel Bottles Set

When it comes to toiletries, it's important to pack only what you need, Jokhiya advises. She said: “Opt for travel-sized containers, and make sure to pack them in a separate bag or pouch to avoid any leaks or spills.” Magorui travel bottles set goes a step further. Four silicone containers, which feature caps with three-layered leak-proof locks, come in their own storage bag. The set also includes two 30ml spray bottles for perfume or moisturiser, two 30ml cream jars, two smaller 10ml cream jars, along with accessories. Pick and choose what you'd like to take along with you - everything is under 50ml, so it's TSA approved.

4. Best Toiletry Bag: Bagsmart Toiletry Bag 

Rather than rummaging around in a toiletry pouch or bag, invest in one that you can hang on a hook and that cascades open to reveal what’s inside. Jokhiya recommends buying a toiletry bag with compartments “so that you can separate your items into each section”. Our pick by Bagsmart has four separate sections that zip up, along with inner main pockets that use elastic straps to hold bottles upright. The bag is water resistant and well-padded to keep liquids and creams safe. Reviewers say that despite packing all their essentials, the bag remains slim and easy to pack.

5. Best Weighing Scale: Soehnle Luggage Scale 

A portable weighing scale that you can pack is important if you want to ensure your luggage is never over the limit. The ergonomically shaped Soehnle luggage scale is lightweight, slips easily into your carry-on bag, and can weigh loads of up to 50kg. Reviewers say it’s accurate and you can easily switch between pounds or kilograms.

6. Best Charger: Excefore 3-in-1 Wireless Charger 

Instead of bringing along a different charging cable and adapter for each of your devices, opt for a foldable magnetic charger. These are ideal, Jokhiya says, when there are limited plug points at your destination. Excefore’s 3-in-1 magnetic charger can give a boost to your phone, smartwatch and Airpods, simultaneously. This versatile charging station has a foldable design, and is suitable for all iPhone and Android mobile phones that support wireless charging.

7. Best for Perfumes: ZKSM Refillable Perfume Atomisers, (5-Pack) 

Nervous about packing your favourite eau de parfum, but can’t imagine travelling without it? Refillable atomiser spray bottles are the perfect solution. ZKSM’s bottles are made from glass but have an aluminium outer shell that’s durable and not easily susceptible to leakage or damage. There’s a tiny window in each atomiser so you can monitor the volume of your perfume – the bottles accommodate 12ml of perfume, which equates to about 100 to 120 sprays. A funnel is included, so you can fill the bottles without any spills. They’re compact, colourful and perfect for travel.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.