Have you ever experienced the empty suitcase syndrome? It’s a little bit like the blank page syndrome for a writer. There it is, open on your bed and you have no idea what to put in it. No matter how you go about it, it’s always too much, but somehow there’s always something missing. We know how it feels, that’s why we have put together some of the most helpful packing techniques for an efficient suitcase.
1 – Make a packing list
You may have laughed at your super-organized friend for making checklists for everything, but this one is really useful. You can find plenty of ready made packing lists on the web. Although you should adapt them to your trip, they will help you think about everything. Another advantage of the packing list is that if you make it a few days in advance, you still have time to wash or purchase any last-minute item.
One of the main items to take with you is your phone. Make sure you have checked with your access provider for roaming charges. And if you need full access during your trip, think about renting a NomadeWifi pocket hotspot.
2 – Choose the right suitcase
If you’re flying with carry-on luggage, make sure you check your airline size limits, as not all airlines have the same requirements! If you’re checking in your suitcase, there will be a weight limit that will also vary according to your destination.
Choose a larger suitcase instead of overstuffing it. This puts strain on the zippers, and they might break during the trip. Airport suitcase handling can be rough. This is also why you should carefully pack breakable items. Use bubble wrap or tuck them between the clothes for protection.
Another reason not to overstuff the suitcase is that you want to keep some space in case you do some shopping during your trip!
3 – Select the items you’ll need and only those
Take everything you think you’ll need out of your closet and then trim. For a weeklong trip you should end up with one top per day, 2 pairs of pants, 1 skirt or shorts plus anything else you might need: swimsuit, sweater, sports gear, etc. Try to choose matching colors, so you’ll be able to play with combinations to always look different. It will also be easier to select a couple of pairs of shoes to match all your outfits.
If you need to take a coat or bulky shoes, try to wear them while travelling so you don’t have to stuff them in the suitcase. Same thing for the chargers and adapters for your electronic devices, it’s always best to have them handy.
4 – Try wrinkle-free packing
There are several techniques for avoiding wrinkles on your clothes: some people fold neatly and some roll, but the best solution is probably to do both. Items like t-shirts, undergarments, sportswear can easily be rolled, as suits and dress shirts should be folded neatly and put on top of the suitcase.
If you’re going on a business trip or to a formal gathering, you need to be neatly dressed. Consider using a hard shell suitcase as there will be less pressure on the folded clothes. You can also use a dry-cleaning bag between the layers. Because of its slippery surface the clothes will move a little, so the creases won’t have time to set.
You’ll find many packing tutorials on Youtube for the best balance between saving space and avoiding wrinkles.
5 – Pack smart
If you’ll be changing places during your trip, try organizing your suitcase so that you don’t have to undo it every time. Put what you’ll need first on top and work down the pile. You can also choose a suitcase with compartments.
If you’re a seasoned traveler, you know that even though your suitcase is within allowed size limit, you might be asked to check it in if the flight is full or on small airplanes. Be smart and plan ahead:
- Arrive early at the gate, they usually take the bags of the last passengers to board
- Put a name and address tag on your carry-on luggage
- Take a change of underwear and a toothbrush in your handbag, you never know!
In any case, if you have a black suitcase that looks like everybody else’s, personalize it! Wrap a colored ribbon or duct tape on the handle, it will be easier to recognize it and you’ll save precious time at baggage claim.
Have a great trip!