Packing a suitcase might sound easy, but there’s a real art to doing it right. Someone who knows all the tips and tricks about how to pack a suitcase can get 20 per cent more clothes into a bag than someone who doesn’t, and they can do it in a way that ensures nothing gets damaged.
Choosing the right bag is the first step. There are a wide range of models on the market these days including hard sided, soft sided, with and without wheels and extendable handles, and even models that have straps hidden inside so that the suitcase can be carried like a backpack over rough terrain. Have a look at the different types available on the Luggage Direct website if you need to buy a new one.
If you are going to be traveling by air and doing a lot of transiting through airports, then the types with wheels would be a good choice. There are models with two wheels – which are usually the cheapest – and four wheels called ‘spinners’ which are the easiest to wheel. However, be aware that the wheels on spinners are more likely to broken when thrown about by baggage handlers, compared to the two-wheel types with recessed wheels.
If you are going to be traveling in Europe where you may often find yourself dragging bags over cobbled streets, then the two-wheel type, or the type with straps, would be a better choice.
Keep in mind too that each airline has its own set of size limits on carry-on, so for those bags you don’t want to check in, make sure to research the limits in advance on the airlines’ websites.
It helps to make a daily plan of your trip to determine what you need to bring. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to stick to this plan, but nonetheless it will give you a useful reference. Here’s what you need to know in advance:
- Check what kind of weather you’ll be dealing with at your destinations.
- Determine the kinds of activities you expect to be doing.
- Find out whether you will be required to dress up for dinner on any occasions.
- Check whether there will be days where there will be more than one activity that would require some outfit changes.
- The whole duration of your trip, which will be a good general base on the number of socks and underwear to use.
With this information, and knowing the whole duration of your trip, you’ll be able to create a list of all the items you need to bring. Compiling a list in advance ensures that you will not forget something important, and will lessen last-minute preparation and avoid the panic that often comes with packing – especially for a big trip when we all tend to get that nagging feeling that we’ve forgotten something.
Some travelers love to use compression sacs when packing. These sacs are a great help in compressing your clothing items into a fitted bundle and will save some valuable space in your suitcase. Others opt for packing cubes where every kind of clothing gets its very own cube. Packing cubes are a great way to organize your clothes, arrange them neatly in your luggage, and makes unpacking simple and easy.
You may also use zip lock clear plastic bags to organize your clothes as well. It’s a good way to see the things you want in your suitcase and they will keep your stuff dry from any leaks of toiletries in your suitcase.
Generally, jeans, t-shirts, knitted clothes and underwear will not have wrinkles in them if you roll them tightly. You can also use tissue paper to roll your garments as that helps to further prevent wrinkles.
For shirts, dress pants, blazers and similar clothing it is best that they be folded with care and placed on top of your rolled clothes. Your evening wear and other delicate garments should be placed on top. Keep in mind when packing your clothes, that the general rule is that softer garments are best rolled while stiffer ones must be folded.
Shoes tend to take up a lot space in suitcases. They are the most difficult thing to pack because of their size and shape. Pack fewer pairs if you can. Ideally, three should be the maximum but there may be certain trips that would require more. If this is the case, take with you the most lightweight pairs you have. Pack versatile shoes that can be used for both day and night. For colors, go with neutrals, browns or blacks that can easily go with a wide variety of outfits.
For street shoes that are not new, pack them inside plastic bags to ensure that dirt on the soles do not get into your clothes. Or alternatively clean the soles with soapy water and disinfectant, and dry them before packing. Make sure you keep the plastic bags when you reach your destination for the return trip, or for when you may be moving on to other destinations.
The inside of shoes becomes wasted space inside your suitcase, so utilise this for packing small toiletries or rolled up socks or underwear. If placing toiletries inside the shoes, make sure they are placed in sealed plastic bags in case there is any leakage en route.
Finally, if it is necessary for you to take any heavy shoes or boots on your trip, try to wear them on the way rather than packing them. They may not be the most comfortable choice of footwear for a long flight, but that will save a lot of space in your suitcase, and help to keep the weight down as well. If you have a side pocket in your carry-on bag, you can slip a pair of lightweight slippers into that pocket and then change into those when you are on the plane.