Tips on how to pack like a pro

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- After you've purchased your airfare and accommodations, the last thing you want to spend money on is getting your luggage to your vacation destination too.

But with these tips from a thrifty traveler, you can pack everything you need without paying any baggage fees.

Jaimie Ratliff has mastered the art of maximizing luggage space, and says it's not as hard as you might think.

"If you pack right, I think you can get up to two weeks," Ratliff said.

The easiest way to start is to take inventory of what you will need and do not just raid the closet.

"They start packing two or three outfits a day. Before you know it, you luggage is so heavy and so overwhelming, and they end up not wearing half of the things they packed," Ratliff said. "Look at the weather, look at your activities, and keep it as light as possible."

Go with a color theme to maximize the number of outfit options you can create.

"That way I can wear the white jeans or the black jeans and just keep it simple," Ratliff said.

Once you've picked out your clothes, utilize the roll method to stack your clothes in the suitcase. Then you can see everything side by side once you get there, which you wouldn't be able to do if it were all folded.

You can wrap your shoes in a shower cap or plastic shopping bags to protect your clothes.

Ratliff also has a handy trick to keep your clothes from becoming victims to a leaky lotion and shampoo bottle.

"You put the saran wrap between the bottle and cap, and that way you don't get any spills or leakage," Ratliff said.

You can also opt to pack light and use the travel size bottles of shampoos and lotions from the hotel. Keep those and refill them after your trip with your favorite products at home.

"Take advantage of those free things. You are essentially paying for them so not stock up on those and use them on your next trip?" Ratliff said.

Packing light makes getting through the airport easier and cheaper and gives you enough extra space for all the souvenirs that need a home on the journey back.

For more travel tips from Jaimie Ratliff, visit her blog This Way North
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