How To Pack a Suitcase

When packing for vacation, it is important to use your space wisely.

How to Pack a Suitcase
Photo: Gary John Normam

Traveling these days can be difficult. Here are 10 tips for packing your suitcase to make the start of your vacation a little easier.

Travel Tip #1: Roll Stuff People Won't See
Rolled—rather than folded—clothes take up the least amount of space. The downside? Rolling will cause wrinkles, so use this method for items that won't need to be ironed like socks and swimsuits.

Travel Tip #2: Stuff Your Shoes
Footwear takes up the most room in a bag. Don’t let that space go to waste. Stuff them with those socks and swimwear you just rolled. Not only will you save space, but you'll also help your shoes retain their shape.

Travel Tip #3: Fold Blouses, Ties, Scarves, Jackets, and Pants
You'll want to fold these clothes, especially if they're made of silk. Never roll.

Travel Tip #4: Fold Inside Out
The wrinkles on a multilayered garment, like a blazer, will be hidden once you put them on.

Travel Tip #5: Use shoe bags
It’s a dirty world out there. Don’t let the soles of your shoes mar your clothing. Don’t have shoes bags? A shower cap works in a pinch.

Travel Tip #6: Put shoes on the bottom, blouses on top
Not only do you want to distribute the weight evenly, you don’t want to crush delicate, wrinkle-prone things. Any items that you dry clean should be arranged like a loaf of bread in a grocery bag: right on top.

Travel Tip #7: Don't Unpack Your Cosmetic Kit
One of the most time-consuming packing chores is loading up toothpaste, deodorant, etc. Solve the problem by never unpacking your kit; keep it ready for your next trip. Just make sure all liquids are under 3 ounces.

Travel Tip #8: Take Trash Bags
A reader from Tampa wrote to tell us that she always travels with a tall white kitchen bag in which to place dirty clothes throughout the trip. "This also makes it easier when unpacking," she says. "Just toss the contents into the washing machine in one quick step." An empty tote is also handy for souvenirs or dirty clothes.

Travel Tip #9: Corral your cords
A hard-sided glasses case will keep your ear buds and phone charger tangle-free.

Travel Tip #10: Tote a single dryer sheet
It’ll keep your clothes smelling fresh.