While nearly everyone gets excited to go on vacation, almost no one looks forward to packing beforehand. This dreaded task is only made worse by the threat of wrinkled clothes, forgotten items and broken gear when you arrive at your destination. Read on to learn how to pack a suitcase like a pro.
Choose the right bag
Choosing the right bag for your trip, needs and style is key to achieving packing success. Narrow down your choice with these multi-purpose options, from soft-sided and hard-sided carry-on bags to travel backpacks and duffels:
Invest in packing cubes
Frequent travelers swear by these highly rated packing cubes – lightweight, zip-up compartments allow you to separate different types of clothing, accessories, and even toiletries within your suitcase. They can also help to keep clothing wrinkle-free.
Pack everything from underwear to charging devices in individual packing cubes to keep everything organized and easily accessible. You might even purchase a few packing cube sets in different colors to organize your belongings by color (clothing items in red packing cubes, accessories in blue, etc.) or by a family member. Once you arrive at your lodging, just take the packing cubes out of your bag and place them in the dresser drawer.
Make a few packing lists
Before you start packing, jot down one list of must-haves and a second list of other items that you’d like to bring, but that aren’t totally necessary. This will help you to avoid overpacking. Also write a list of last-minute items you’ll need to throw in your bag just before you leave.
Assemble a capsule wardrobe
Emirates cabin crew member Lauren Guilfoyle recommends assembling a capsule collection of basics like black pants, white jeans, neutral T-shirts and a denim jacket. These items are easy to mix and match and can be worn multiple times, so you won’t need to pack a brand-new outfit for each day.
Roll your clothes
“Rolling your clothes helps to fit more and, if done right, helps to reduce wrinkles in the clothes you’ve packed,” says Bobby Laurie, a former flight attendant and current host of “The Jet Set” talk show. To do this efficiently, use the Army or Ranger Roll method, which involves folding up the bottom few inches and sleeves of a garment as shown here.
Wrap breakables in clothing
Traveling with wine bottles or other fragile items? Roll any breakables inside a few layers of clothing to prevent damage.
Wear bulky items on the plane
“Wear your bulkiest items on the plane to free up space in your luggage and keep you warm during travel,” Guilfoyle recommends. For example, if you’re going to the beach, pack your flip-flops in your bag and wear your sneakers on the plane.
Pack a laundry bag
Scott Keyes, chief flight expert and founder of travel website Scott’s Cheap Flights, advises bringing a separate, packable bag – even just a small plastic bag or trash bag – for dirty laundry. “[A trash bag] is simple, compresses super small and saves you from having to mix your clean and dirty clothes,” Keyes says.
Fill in empty spaces
Be sure to use up any excess space. For instance, you can place socks and other small items inside of your shoes or a clutch purse.
Pack a wrinkle-release fabric spray
Not a fan of ironing or packing for a cruise and worried about wrinkle-prone clothing? Carry a bottle of wrinkle-release spray with you. Simply spray the liquid liberally on clothes while gently stretching and smoothing the garments to eliminate creases caused by packing. You might also consider packing wrinkle-resistant fabrics like 100% cotton, nylon and spandex.
Buy a portable luggage scale
Rather than trying to balance your luggage on your bathroom scale, hook this portable (and affordable) luggage scale onto any bag to check its weight. When you’re finished, pack the scale in your baggage so you can check the suitcase’s weight for your return flight as well.
Keep toiletries ready to go
To avoid the hassle of packing your toiletry bag every time you go on vacation, keep one in your closet filled with travel-sized items. If you run out of an item on a trip, be sure to refill it as soon as you get home so it’s ready for your next getaway.
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U.S. News – Travel