How to Pack a Suitcase

A few years ago I planned to travel to Australia and Asia for a month, and since I knew I’d be taking lots of short plane rides, I wanted to see if I could do it with just a carry-on case, rather than checked luggage.  I studied a lot of information about how to pack for a trip, and I learned a lot!   To my surprise and delight I was able to easily pull off the Asia trip with one carry-on case, and everything worked out just fine!

The benefits?

I was able to get in and out of airports much faster, my luggage was always with me so I never had the potential to lose it, and when flights got delayed or cancelled, the airlines could accommodate me quickly onto another flight because I didn’t have to wait for them to offload checked bags!

So here’s some of my favorite packing discoveries:

TIP #1: Plan out what clothes you need, rather than want.  Plan to use multiple outfits multiple times.  Be conservative with the amount of clothes you bring.  Most people admit they usually pack too much, so don’t hold back from pruning your case.  Trust me, the world won’t stop spinning if you wear the same clothes more than once on a trip!

TIP #2: Pack underwear and socks into pouches or packing cubes, using the Marie Kondo method.  I like these packing cubes from Amazon as they keep like items together and save space.  Place additional pairs of socks inside any packed shoes.

Tip #3: Roll clothes in a tight bundle rather than folding them.  This is key.  It seems counter intuitive, but the clothes will take up less space, and they’ll be less wrinkled, too!

Tip #4: Place a belt inside a dress shirt or blouse collar to keep it crisp and in shape.

Tip#5: Put a dryer fabric conditioner sheet in your case to absorb any potential dampness in the air, and keep your clothes smelling fresh when you arrive!

Tip #6: Remember to check what’s allowed through security, in both the country you’re leaving from, and the one you’re traveling to.  For example, many aerosols and liquids over 3oz are not permitted.  Some airlines also don’t allow electronics larger than a cellphone in the cabin.

Tip #7: Understand the size and weight requirements for your airline.  Note that in Europe and Australia, airlines are particularly frugal with what cases they allow, and they also tend to be strict in enforcing their policies. so don’t assume your bag will be fine just because it was allowed as a carry-on in the U.S.

Tip #8: Always keep liquids, creams and gels in a sealed plastic bag.  Oh, and keep a few extra ziploc style bags with you, they’re incredibly useful for travel.

Tip #9: Consider packing some old underwear and t-shirts and throwing them away after you’ve used them.  It’s very liberating to make room in your case!


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