Going on a trip can be awesome, especially if it’s vacation. Even if it’s business, it can still be fun.
What most people don’t think is fun: packing.
And trying to avoid extra fees from airline weight restrictions, it can be tough to fit it all in.
Check out these suitcase hacks and get everything in on the first try.
Suitcase hacks, unpacked
There are basically two areas to consider when packing:
- What you’re taking
- How you’re packing it
We’ll look at both, to make sure you’re getting the most out of your suitcase hacks.
What’s in the bag
Unless you’re in the market for a new bag, you’re working with what you’ve got.
Make sure you know what it weighs empty, so you know how much you can actually pack.
First, let’s look at what you’re taking along.
Make a plan
Figure out what you need to wear first.
Business trip: will one suit with several shirts work?
Vacation, in the winter: jeans are heavy, will one pair be enough?
(But if it’s a summer vacation, bikinis are light, better pack two.)
What about shoes? Try wearing the heaviest pair to save space in your bag.
The key to not having an overweight bag is also to not over-pack.
Create interchangeable outfits and if it’s a long trip, consider your laundry options.
If travel stresses you (especially the packing part), try these calming hacks.
Roll it don’t fold it
Now that you’ve figured out what you’re taking, how you pack it matters.
You can save space and (some) wrinkles by rolling your clothes instead of folding flat.
Casual clothes like t-shirts and jeans are easy to roll up.
But what if you need to pack a suit jacket?
Watch this quick video from Travel+Leisure to learn how.
If you have to roll something that’s wrinkle-prone, try plastic.
Keep that delicate stuff in the dry cleaner’s bag (or other small bag) and roll it up.
The plastic will help cushion and prevent wrinkles.
A dryer sheet or two, tucked between your clothes, can help keep things fresh.
Plus, it’s a quick way to knock out static cling if it happens.
A two-in-one solution!
Bag it and tag it
Everything in its place and a place for everything, as the saying goes.
OK, maybe we just made that up.
But if you use bags for groups of things, it makes packing a snap.
And, it makes unpacking at your destination even easier.
Grab a Ziploc or other waterproof bag for your toiletries.
It keeps everything together. Plus if anything leaks, your clothes are still dry.
If you’re staying in a hotel, check the closet.
There are often laundry bags, either plastic or other material, for your use.
Grab one to put your dirty laundry in for the trip home.
And don’t toss it when you get home.
Tuck it into your empty suitcase so it’s ready for your next trip.
Use every bit of space
The name of the game is using all the space you have.
Tight packing will also keep items from shifting in flight while in your bag, too.
Rolling things make them fit into small corners, too.
Small things like underwear or socks are perfect for putting in those small spaces.
What can go inside something else?
Don’t waste the space inside your shoes, especially if you have to pack more than one pair.
Socks inside shoes are the obvious choice and more than one pair may fit.
Other little things like cell phone chargers can go in, too.
It also helps to keep everything in one spot.
Smaller portions of potions
Do you really need 32 or even 12 ounces of shampoo? Conditioner, too?
A whole tube of toothpaste?
Save space on your HBA items and grab some travel-sized options.
For things like shampoo, a reusable bottle is a quick, cheap way to take just enough of your favorites.
If you can’t live without the big bottle of your favorite perfume, put a sock in it.
Actually, put a sock on it.
That will catch any that may leak, plus cushion the glass bottle.
Shrink it down
Another space saver can be vacuum bags.
They work best for things that won’t wrinkle (or it doesn’t matter if they do).
Lay things flat before you vacuum the air out.
Voila, flat layers of things that used to be bulky but that are now dead-easy to stack and pack.
It’s all in the bag
You’ve figured out what you’re taking, and it’s all ready to go in the bag.
These suitcase hacks will help make sure everything fits.
Packing the big stuff
Things like shoes can take up a lot of space.
Check your hotel’s website, too, you might be able to save space by ditching your hair dryer.
Once you have your pile of must-haves, it’s a little like a puzzle.
See what fits together, or even fits inside each other.
Evenly distribute the big stuff, too, because…
Where you pack it matters
Make your life easier as you’re running through the airport.
Pack the heavier stuff near the wheels so your bag stays balanced.
If it’s not a hard sided suitcase, make sure to put fragile things away from the sides, too.
And the stuff that’s lightest and most likely to wrinkle?
Put it in last, on top.
It’s no guarantee it won’t get turned upside on the baggage carousel, but it’s a good start.
Happy as a clam
What if you’re going to two different places, but only taking one bag?
If you have a hard-sided clamshell-style case, it couldn’t be easier.
Pack each side for each destination and you’re done.
You won’t have to dig around looking for things and will have more time for fun.
Ready, set, go!
These suitcase hacks should have you on the road in no time.
Get to the gate on time with these airport hacks.
Or if you’re the drive-not-fly type, check out these rental car hacks.
Have you tried any of the hacks? Have a favorite or one we missed? Let us know in the comments!