You’ve made the plans, booked your accommodations and now it’s finally time to hit the road for your big vacation. While some people always nail their packing strategy, many others either under or overpack when they travel. If you fall into either of the latter groups, this guide is here to help.

1. Check the Weather

Before you even begin to tuck anything into your luggage, take a look at the weather forecast in your destination. You may have booked one of the most luxurious cruise packages that sail to tropical destinations, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be cloudy and rainy when you finally pull into port.

2. Make a List

Few things are more stressful when travelling than realizing you forgot to pack something important. Jot down a list of everything that you think you might need to bring or look up a handy pre-made packing list online so you’re less likely to forget any of your vacation essentials.

3. Choose the Right Luggage

Whether you’re driving, flying or taking the train will dictate the best type of luggage to haul on your trip. If you’re packing everything into a car, you may find that hard shell suitcases take up too much space, while these bags are ideal for carry-ons and checked bags that you bring onto your flight.

If you are travelling by plane, hardshell suitcases are the best option for you. They are compact and are also easy to carry around with you. For a long trip or for a family vacation, make sure to take a large superlight suitcase so that you won’t have weight issues at the airport, and also can have a lot of space for everything you need to bring on your trip. The quality hard shells also do protect your belongings from being crushed or damaged during transit.

4. Use Packing Cubes

Every seasoned traveller knows that packing cubes are a great way to maximize the space within your luggage and keep everything organized at the same time. These zippable bags help you to condense your clothes, toiletries and personal items down so you can fit more into your luggage and find everything with ease when you get there.

5. Start with the Essentials

Check your packing list and begin with the things you know you will absolutely need on your trip. That way, if you need to clear out any space at the end, you can pull out the extras packed last rather than what the trip definitely calls for.

6. Roll Up Your Clothes

If you know you’ll want to have options for what you wear on your vacation, you can save space in your bag and pack more alternatives if you roll each item of clothing up tightly. Fold your clothes into long strips and roll them up, packing them into a neat row inside of your luggage.

7. Pack Basics

While some like to pre-plan their outfits, your best bet is to pack several basic items that you can mix and match on different travel days. A few basic pairs of pants or shorts and a series of tops that you can layer will keep your luggage light while providing different choices so you don’t have to compromise on style.

8. Stash Extra Bags

Tuck a few extra plastic bags or totes in case you need them. Dirty clothes, wet shoes or swimwear or any other extra items that need to be separated from the rest of your things can still be packed into your suitcase, but will have an extra protective layer to keep them divided.

9. Trim Your Toiletries

It’s common knowledge that it’s not a great idea to pack an entire shampoo bottle into your suitcase, so it’s best to bring travel-sized containers of your favourite products. You can save a little bit of cash, too, if you purchase your own containers and squeeze what you already have into them. Always make sure to pack any liquids in a separate container for easy access and to prevent spillage.

10. Wear Bulkier Items

If you really want to save space in your luggage, but need to bring a few larger or bulkier items of clothing on your trip, just wear them while you travel. You can always take anything off if you get too hot and carry it around with you.

11. Leave Some Room

If your luggage is packed full when you depart, you won’t have any room for purchases you make at your destination. Leave at least a small amount of space just in case you find the perfect thing to remember your trip by, so you don’t have to leave any sentimental souvenirs behind.