We all wrangle with the same situation when it’s time for vacation – how to cram too many clothes into any given piece of luggage. Learning how to pack the perfect suitcase is therefore crucial. Whether it’s a weekend trip or a week-long getaway, it’s vital to know how and what to pack. No matter if you’re flying or driving, following, you’ll find several expert hints and tips that can take away some of the stress as you work out how to pack the perfect suitcase.
Grab the essentials first. Before you pack the fancy, lacy top or polo shirt, make sure you have the basics. A few pairs of jeans, tees and khakis are the perfect fit for a vacation wardrobe. If you’re on a business trip, the more neutral clothing, the better. Don’t go for a “look” for each day, but rather a cohesive wardrobe composed of different, but related pieces that you can mix and match.
Pare down. Do you really need six pairs of shoes for a two-day trip? That moto jacket and a parka? Keep it simple when you think about how to pack a suitcase: If you’re traveling in the heat, pack light dresses or short and shirt combos. If you’re traveling during the winter, bring items you can layer, but keep the bulky hooded sweatshirts at home. And as for footwear, stick to what’s comfortable. Now’s not the time to break in those cool boots you just bought.
Roll ’em up! Trying to figure out how to pack that suitcase? Remember that it doesn’t have to look like a display shelf at The Gap. Tightly roll your clothes up, from one end to another (not in a ball). Jeans and T-shirts can be rolled easily. When packing, line your rolled clothes up tightly to maximize space. While it’s a method that can’t be employed for all clothing items, it will save you space on many.
Stack ’em up. Remember the days you spent playing Tetris? Those same skills might come in handy when packing. Before you start, though, think about what clothing items will stay wrinkle-free while rolled up, and what may need to be folded. Pack slacks and wrap dresses across the suitcase and fold half-way the length of the bag. Then take the rolled items and put them on top.Line shoes at the bottom of the suitcase. Fill the empty spots with belts, socks, and underwear. Costume jewelry should go in small canisters and wear your good jewelry on the flight. (Leave the heirloom ring home.)
Go light. Stuff as much as you can into your carry-on. The more you can get in there, the better. If you pack it just right, you may not need a checked bag, saving you some cash. But before you pack your only bag, make sure you measure the bag. The required sizes for an airline’s carry on and personal items can vary, so it’s important that yours is the right size.
Pack Essential Items. Double-check that your medication is in your carry-on bag (don’t risk putting it in your checked luggage, which might get delayed or lost). You can always pick up travel-size toothpaste, deodorant and more at a drugstore at your destination. Items like Tide-To-Go stick and Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus will become your travel essentials.
Still need help? Learn a little more on how to pack the perfect suitcase at the links below.
Suzanne is a journalist in Queens, New York. She’s interned at Rolling Stone, NBC local media, Mashable and the Queens Chronicle. Though she’s from upstate New York, she considers herself a Queens girl. If she’s not writing or editing, she’s probably scrolling through goat Instagrams.