How to Pack a Suitcase Like a Pro

How to Pack a Suitcase Like a Pro

Organizing your suitcase and finances before vacation

Although I try to make traveling the world look easy, a lot of planning goes in to my trips. From deciding whether I’ll bring a carry-on vs. checked bag, to ordering foreign currency, packing and financial planning are both essential parts of the process I use before to plan my travel adventures.

Here are my top four tips for packing your suitcase like a pro:

  1. Make a Travel Packing List

To make sure my travel packing list includes everything I need, I always take plenty of time to research the location I’ll be visiting. Researching ensures you pack the right types of clothes to account for the weather and cultural sensitivities. Planning out your activities in advance helps too- since the things you pack can be very different depending on whether you’re visiting sports stadiums, museums, touring a city by foot or exploring the great outdoors. When you have an itinerary, you can create a customized packing list to ensure the stuff in your suitcase matches up with your activities—whether that’s sweaters and skis, swimsuits and sunscreen or – depending on your plans – all four and more!

  1. Earn Maximum Rewards When You Buy What You Need

If you’re missing some of the key items on your packing list, plan to shop online or in-store using a credit card that rewards you for purchases leading up to the trip. I personally like the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card. As a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member with the Premium Rewards credit card, I earn 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining, and an unlimited 2.62 points on everything else. This is great for stocking up on those last-minute trip essentials!

  1. What to Pack in Your Carry-On

Whether you travel frequently like me or only once in a while, I always suggest making a list of the essentials to bring with you in your carry-on – items like a phone charger, universal adapter and medications. I also bring travel sized toiletries including deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste – basically, the stuff I can use to quickly clean up before landing. It’s also helpful to have an extra pair of pants in your carry-on, so if your luggage is lost you can still hit the ground running when you arrive. Finally – I always travel in long pants and a sweatshirt because it gets cold on a plane, and that way I have more room in my carry-on for other stuff.

  1. Less is More

Aside from what’s in my carry-on, I never worry about packing items for those “just in case” moments because chances are I won’t end up using them. If I end up needing something I don’t bring with me, I just buy it on my trip with my Premium Rewards credit card.

While packing your suitcase is important, making sure your finances are in order as you head out on a trip is also essential. It’s smart to be certain you’re maximizing rewards potential on your next trip and that you’ve set yourself up for financial success beyond a well-packed carry-on. Here are a few tips to consider when getting ready for your next trip.

  1. Track Your Financial Rewards

Oftentimes we miss out on rewards because we don’t have an efficient way to keep track of them. Travel is the perfect time to earn or redeem rewards you have layered together, including airline, hotel, shopping, banking and credit card rewards programs. With Bank of America My Rewards, I can track all of the rewards, deals and benefits I’m earning across several Bank of America rewards programs all from one convenient dashboard in my mobile banking app. That means when I’m packing for an upcoming trip, I can see if I have enough rewards to redeem for travel purchases, booking or activities.

  1. Order Foreign Currency Ahead of Time

When I travel internationally, I bring foreign currency in my carry-on to use in case of emergencies and for places that only accept cash. I always keep the currency tucked away securely in a zipped compartment on the inside of the bag. Another tip: As a Preferred Rewards member, when I order my foreign currency ahead of time I get a discount off the published foreign currency exchange rate and free shipping. If you decide to do a foreign currency exchange at an airport or hotel, you’ll most likely pay extra.

  1. Ask for Help

Doing a little extra planning ahead of time can go a long way in ensuring you have an enjoyable trip. Getting your suitcase and finances in order will take away a lot of the stress that can often accompany traveling.

Before you head out on vacation, make sure your financial questions have been addressed so you can enjoy a stress-free getaway. As a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, I’m always fast tracked for priority service through the Preferred Rewards Center. They have a dedicated team of specialists that handle all my banking product and service needs before, during and after my trips.

My Final Tip

If you’re ever in doubt, remember less is more when traveling. Always take half the clothes and twice the money!

To learn how you can maximize your financial rewards on your next trip, visit

Disclaimer: I am a paid spokesperson for Bank of America.

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  1. I am the worlds worst packer. I spend so much time packing and then waiting at the airport for my bag. 1-5 times it gets lost and costs me time and money. I need to start packing better. I don’t use half the rings I take with me anyway. Cool post and great partnership.

  2. Christine says

    London was my first place I traveled to as well and I’ve been to 46 countries! I’m coming for your record!

  3. Half the clothes and twice the money…love it!

  4. Yup … half the clothes and twice the money. Been doing that for years. Also … have a color palette. I tend to go with blues and greys and then buy local for pops of color (t-shirts, jewelry, etc.). When everything in your suitcase matches everything else in your suitcase, then you can literally get dressed in the dark. Which occasionally comes in handy …

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