How to Pack a Suitcase Like a Pro

By Jenny Green

Packing tips from an experienced jetsetter

How to Pack a Suitcase Like a Pro

Packing your suitcase like a pro is a cinch when you know the insider secrets of savvy travelers. You, too, can pack lean and clean, and arrive at your destination with exactly the clothes you need, wrinkle-free.

Before you pack

Preparation is half the battle for an expert packer. Wrapping your garments in plastic avoids the friction that causes wrinkles, so make collecting dry cleaner bags your mission, even if you aren't going on vacation for a while.

Then, a day or two before you leave, check the weather at your destination, and find out what's typical for the time of year. You don't have to pack for every season "just in case." If freak weather occurs, you can buy that sweater or those shorts you need.

Finally, before you start filling your case, figure out roughly what you'll wear every day, rather than packing all the clothes you can fit in and deciding what you'll wear after you arrive.

What to take and what to leave behind

Pro packing is all about cutting down on things you don't really need or taking slimmer alternatives. Leave jewelry and non-essential valuables at home, and pack only two pairs of shoes: a comfortable pair for walking and a more formal pair for dining out. Don't take bulky guidebooks or books for entertainment – instead, download digital versions to read on your phone or reading device.

As you pack

Take extra plastic bags for your dirty laundry, and tie up your laptop and phone charger cables with cable ties before putting them in an easily accessible pouch.

Whatever you do, don't jam your suitcase to the brim. Crushed clothes are creased clothes. If you're short on space, wear your bulkiest clothes on your journey. Before you leave the house, weigh your bag and check your flight ticket to be sure your baggage is within the weight allowance.

Tip

An umbrella is a bulky item. Unless you're traveling to a known soggy spot, buy a cheap umbrella when you arrive.

How do you roll clothes for packing?

Folding your clothes before you pack them is a sure-fire way of creating creases. Do it like the pros and roll your clothes if you want them to stay wrinkle-free.

  1. Find a wide, clean spot in your home. Your bed is ideal.
  2. Place pant legs together and roll from the cuff upward.
  3. Put T-shirts face downward and fold the sleeves across the back to make a long rectangle. Roll from the bottom upward.
  4. Button up buttons on shirts or blouses and place them face downward. Fold in the extra material at the shoulders, and lay the arms flat down the center of the back. Roll up the bottom third, and roll down the top third so that both ends meet in the middle. That way, if creases do occur, they aren't in the most noticeable part of the garment.
  5. Pair up socks and roll them together. Put the rolled socks inside shoes and use them to fill gaps in your case.
  6. Put items like suits and dresses that wrinkle easily on top of your other clothes.

Tip

If you have something that just must be wrinkle-free, spread half of it out in the bottom of your suitcase and place your other garments on top. Then fold the rest of your special clothing item over the garments, avoiding creases in the middle.

About the Author

A graduate of Leeds University, Jenny Green completed Master of Arts in English literature in 1998 and has been writing about travel, gardening, science and pets since 2007. Green's work appears in Diva, Whole Life Times, Listverse, Earthtimes, Lamplight, Stupefying Stories and other websites and magazines.