Use these savvy secrets to pack the perfect bag the first time, every time.
Travel Tip #1: Roll Stuff People Won't See
Though it really makes for a compact bag, rolling does wrinkle clothes. But who cares if you have wrinkled undershirts, socks, underwear, and tank tops?
Travel Tip #2: Stuff Your Shoes
Footwear takes up the most room in a bag. So don't let that space go to waste: Stuff them with those socks and underwear 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
On multilayer duds (a blazer, for example), suitcase wrinkles will be hidden once you put on the garments.
Travel Tip #5: 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; leave it ready for your next trip.
Travel Tip #6: Take Trash Bags
Reader Pamela Moore 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."
Travel Tip #7: If All Else Fails, Ship It
If you've rolled, stuffed, and squished and still have too much stuff, consider sending your dirty clothes and bulky sneakers home. UPS will ship a 20-pound box from Atlanta to Dallas for as little as $12.95, leaving more room for souvenirs.
When Travel Photographer Meg McKinney told me about a packing system that helps organize your clothes, I was curious. Meg stays on the road more than 200 days a year and packs a lot of camera gear, clothes, and on one trip, even a sewing machine. The woman knows how to pack. Yet, when she told me that she never travels without this organization system and that it helps keep her belongings compact and wrinkle-free, I had to give her method a try. You can see the results in these pictures.
The products Meg found and I love are from a company called Eagle Creek Travel Gear. We tested their Pack-It Cubes, Pack-It Folders, and toiletry kits both on short trips and extended vacations. An inexpensive series (starting at $12) of sturdy cubes, folders, and folding boards helps you fold every garment the same size and won't require you to buy new luggage. Different colors help you keep socks, underwear, and shirts in easy-to-find piles. For more information and to find Eagle Creek products near you, call 1-800-874-1048, or visit www.eaglecreek.com. Good luck out there.
"Editor's Travel Tips: Fill a Suitcase to the Max" is from the December 2005 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.