Let’s be honest. Even the most experienced traveller has moments of inertia mixed with confusion when it comes to packing for a trip. The thought of packing can be daunting, especially when the trip is to destinations which call for different sets of clothes, all of which need to fit in one suitcase.
A helpful solution is to imagine each destination and the scenarios for which you’ll need clothes. Make time to spread out all the clothes you think you’ll need (including shoes and accessories) on your bed, and be ruthless when making decisions.
It helps to have the suitcase nearby so you know what you’re dealing with in terms of packing space. Depending on the destination you’re traveling to, chances are that there is a retailer where you can buy what you forgot to pack, but remember that it then has to come home with you!
Travelers swear by different methods of packing, from how to fold clothes to using vacuum bags (they come with their own pump to suck out all the air) to achieve maximum space inside a suitcase. It’s difficult not to mention the Japanese de-clutter expert, Marie Kondo, when it comes to folding your clothes for the suitcase.
Sometimes it’s best to place shoes (use shoe bags to protect shoes and keep them from touching your clothes) on the bottom of the suitcase and stack the remaining clothes on top. You can also stuff shoes with socks and underwear to help keep the shoes from getting crushed and to make use of the available space in them.
A note about jackets: are they better folded inside out or not? I’ve folded jackets both ways and prefer to place the jacket on a service and fold in the arms and then take the bottom half and fold it over the top half so you have a large rectangular shape.
Blue jeans are wonderfully un-wrinkle-able, but heavy and can flatten softer clothes, so consider putting your denim on the bottom, covering the layer of shoes. Shoes can also be used as fillers for corners. Other helpful corner stuffing ideas include using your make-up bag and hairbrushes.
If you’re using a hard-sided suitcase, then all those electronic gadgets and chargers are best placed in one bag and stashed in the suitcase. They’re also good for corners, if you’re not taking them on board with you. Some travelers swear by travel irons, but they take up space, and usually you can borrow one from housekeeping or will find one in the guest room.
Isabelle Kellogg's press relations career, with a speciality in travel and hospitality, enabled her to make an easy transition to journalism and write about the topics she loves.