Whether you're packing a bag to visit your parents for the holidays or looking at six weeks' worth of clothing for a trip to Europe, the struggle to be efficient with your packing can be highly confusing. Everybody has their "own" system, but it turns out that looking at the science of packing can actually help with many different aspects of travel, from fitting the right things into your suitcase to preventing your bag from going AWOL when you fly.
I'm a packing veteran and daughter of two packing parents who shuttle regularly between the hemispheres, and I can tell you that there is always a way to pack more efficiently — stuff soft things inside your shoes! Fill gaps with small items like socks! Invest in non-crumple clothing! — but that efficiency doesn't matter if you end up over your baggage limit. Always check the weight and size regulations for your carrier if you're going by air, and weigh your items before travel; if you end up getting over-excited and fitting half your life into a suitcase, you might have to repack half of it on the airport floor. So what's the best way to be smart about packing? Here are the best science-backed techniques.