Traveling, whether it’s for leisure or business, is one of life’s bittersweet activities. On one hand, it exposes you to new opportunities and experiences, but then there’s planning the itinerary, booking the hotels and car rentals, and of course the dreaded packing. Though it seems like a simple two-step process of grabbing an item and stuffing it into your suitcase in an orderly fashion, getting everything you need to fit into the suitcase is an entirely different story. Here are five tips on how to fit everything in your suitcase:
List Down Items That You Need
There are really only a handful of personal items that you need to bring with you when traveling; the rest you can just buy at the local store of the city or country you’re visiting. Clothing usually gets the lion’s share of your available suitcase space. The next item category following clothing would be personal hygiene products and equipment, such as your toothbrush or grooming kit. And then you have important paperwork, electronics including a laptop or camera, and medication for any existing health conditions you have. You should think twice about bringing anything beyond those aforementioned items.
Roll Your Clothes and Stack Shoes Side By Side
Better yet, roll your clothes. Most military families, flight attendants, and anyone who travels a lot knows this simple yet effective technique. Rolling articles of clothing minimizes the space they take up inside the suitcase. In addition, rolled clothing stays less wrinkly than their folded counterpart. When choosing which clothes to bring, determine the weather of the city you’re traveling to, and pack accordingly. If traveling to humid weather, for instance, it’s best to avoid bringing bulky coats and double-layered jackets.
If you intend to bring pairs of shoes when traveling, don’t forget to use the space inside the shoe. Items you can stuff inside a shoe include underwear, pairs of socks, jewelry, etcetera. If you don’t have anything to fill the inside of your shoes, pack them side by side so it takes less space. Avoid bringing steel-toed or thick-heeled shoes that take up unnecessary amounts of space.
Get the Right Suitcase
It sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of travelers fail to pair the right suitcase for the trip. Some have small-sized luggage for trips that would last for weeks. As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to get a bigger suitcase and have extra, unused space rather than have a small suitcase that can’t fit all your items. Aside from function, try to get one that represents your style. A vintage-style suitcase, for instance, shows that you’re stylish and professional. Suitcases can also come in either two-wheel or four-wheel and soft-shell or hard-shell.
Use Travel Space Bags and Small Containers
Travel space bags, especially ones that come with a compact-sized vacuum, seem like something you’d find on an infomercial. Nonetheless, these space-saving bags are great, both for maximizing space and for dividing different items into separate, easy-to-organize bags. Travel space bags also come in different sizes, so you can choose which one suits your budget and the amount of stuff you need to pack.
If you’re traveling with liquids in your suitcase, whether it’s water or toiletry products, replace the bulky containers that they come in for something more compact and travel-friendly. Purchase your own tiny containers and transfer the liquids to said containers. When packing liquids and toiletries, always place them on top of everything else. This way, it’s easier to reach for them in case TSA asks you to take them out or if you need them at any point.
Wear Whatever You Can
If you can wear it instead of packing it inside the suitcase, wear it. This includes earphones/headphones, a lightweight jacket, a hat, eyeglasses, and a neck pillow. That being said, anything of high value should be inside your suitcase or backpack and away from everyone’s attention. You not only risk dropping and losing it while in transit but also attract the attention of con artists and thieves.
Traveling abroad can be fun with your travel accessories, but not so much when you have to drag around a heavy suitcase that’s on the verge of exploding open. Use the five tips above to utilize the available space effectively.