I've just returned from a 2 week-long journey in Europe (were you following along?!?), and as someone who travels fairly often, I thought I'd chat about how to properly pack a suitcase.
Full disclaimer: I am by NO MEANS an expert packer. In fact, the mere thought of having to
Packing is literally the worst part about traveling, amiright?
Surely I am not alone when it comes to this struggle?
The thing is, because I have slight type A tendencies, if I don't have some form of plan, I panic even more. This is how it usually goes down: the prospect of packing sounds all kinds of alarm bells, episodes of dread-fueled procrastination ensue and lead to flustered pacing, after which I finally spring into bag-loading action. And I don't mean piling in random clothing in there - each outfit is planned and all the pieces are chosen carefully to make sure I don't overpack and to minimize all sartorial decisions once I've reached my final destination. This is the only real way to reduce nerve trepidations in both the present and the future, trust.
Even though I'm on the road rather frequently, I've never quite gotten used to this unavoidable task. That said, I've also picked up some quality tips and tricks that I'm here to pass along to you, dear readers, to appease your days of luggage-packing hell, if only a little bit.
1. Get the Right Bag
Your journey doesn't start when you get on the plane. It begins right in your bedroom the moment you decide what bag you're taking. A good suitcase makes all the difference and I had to learn that the hard way. Not only are they better configured, but they are also solid as hell and won't bust on you at an inopportune moment. Again, learned that the hard way.
When you're traveling, you want reliability in your luggage, not precariousness. Whether you're doing a weekender, a carry-on size or a large mother load, investing in a good bag is the first step towards achieving packing success. Plus, you want to look chic, amiright?!
My bag of choice? The Tumi Alpha 2. I like that it's sleek, flexible, robust and has the most efficient interior configuration.
2. Check the Weather at Your Destination!
This is soooo crucial. While a lot of times, the weatherman gets it wrong, it still gives you a good idea of the climate you're in for once you get off that plane. You can't start packing until you know what kind of temperatures you're in for. Don't do this blindly, it's called weather.com, use it.
3. Lay It All Out
Think of ensembles beforehand, then lay all of those clothes out and proceed to do an edit - pack only what can be mixed and matched. Same goes with shoes. Don't bring pairs of shoes that are too similar to one another or that serve the same function - you want to maximize everything.
4. Lay Clothes In FLAT
No folding, no rolling. Just everything laid down flat in layers. This is literally the most space-efficient technique I've come across that actually prevents wrinkling, unlike the urban legend that is the rolling method, pff. Trust me on this one guys, it's going to revolutionize your voyages.
Special tip: for crease-prone garments, like silk or linen pieces, save those plastic wraps that you get with your dry cleaning and layer them over and under those items inside your suitcase. There will be nary a wrinkle in them even after spending all that time in a confined space.
5. Use Every Inch
Start by putting your socks and underwear at the bottom of your suitcase between the ridges. It's dead space for garments and the small stuff will fit perfectly in there without wasting precious real estate. You can also stuff your socks inside your shoes for a double whammy: this will save space and keep the shape of your footwear intact during travel. Around the sides, add extra toiletries or small items where you find crevasses.
6. Optimize the Top
I hate to brag, but my big suitcase is super space-efficient: it has a flap for the top of the bag to house extra stuff without having it impede on the bulk of the main area. It's ideal for shoes and toiletries. If your bag doesn't have this magical space (#sorrynotsorry), still save the top for those items, as you can tetris your shoes and wedge your toiletries securely in-between them. Just make sure that every product with leaking potential is wrapped in an additional plastic bag, or cushioned securely between other things.
As a final tip, it's always good to make a checklist with all the gritty details that can slip your mind before a big journey. Jot down the super important things like passport, chargers, sunglasses, etc, as well as the smaller menial yet necessary things, like take out the garbage, check lights, close windows, etc.
Can't beat that feeling of assembled luggage perfection. Which I can always count on with my medium expandable Tumi Alpha 2 suitcase.
Feeling real good about my manic packing planning!
Would love to hear your packing tips if you have any... you can never have too many packing tips. And do let me know if you found this helpful!