How to Pack a Suitcase

Whether it’s for a quick weekend adventure or an International multi-city trip, the first step is to decide if a carry-on will do the trick or if a checked bag is in order.


Pack your things in order

I understand that packing for your grand vacation can be slightly daunting, It’s been proven time and again that a lot of us pack more clothing than we would ever use during our trips. If you happen to “accidentally” pulled your entire walk-in closet to pack (lordie), here are some pointers;  

Put heavy items, like shoes & jeans, in your suitcase first & spread them evenly across the bottom. Plus, maximize space by tucking socks, jewelry or other small items inside shoes. (keeping them safe from prying eyes as well) Having your stuff in order makes your life so much easier. Typically once I have laid down the heavy garments like my jeans and my shoes (sandals) at the bottom of the luggage, It’s where I can neatly organized my rolled shirts, shorts, under wear and tanks.


Roll ’em up – Roll instead of fold

Rolled clothes take up less space & keep your stuff organized especially if you’re off to your grand vacation for many days! Make sure to smooth out wrinkles as you roll & opt to fold special-occasion pieces & easily wrinkled items. For short trips, If you’re traveling carry-on and want to fit more items into your bag, then rolling is definitely the way to go. Clothes that are rolled are more compact and space-saving than clothes packed in the traditional folded way. This is what I typically do on short weekend getaways, when I all I want to bring is my good ole backpack; socks rolled into a ball and so are my under wears, t-shirts neatly folded then rolled, I do it even for my button downs and it works just as well, I know it is debatable that this is the best way to pack on short trips but all I can say is – this works for me and I know it works for many of my wandering friends as well. 

Your Carry-on Bag

It is important to take several factors into consideration when choosing the best type of luggage for carry-on travel. Not all carry-on bags are created the same, some are more practical while others are more versatile, the practicality of these bags are so important and essential when traveling whether for adventure getaways or long weekend stays.

When selecting a carry-on bag or carry-on luggage, always take in consideration the airline size limitation, remember, carry-on limits vary depending on the airline, domestic and international travel has different limitations as well, so keep this in mind when buying your carry-on bag.

Also, take in consideration what type of carry-on you’ll take for your trip? Will it be a satchel, a backpack or a roller-luggage? Personally, I like backpack or satchel type carry-ons, it’s easier to haul and carry especially (if your flight got delayed and you’re chasing time before the next boarding gate close), for satchels, make sure to get the zippered ones rather than the Velcro types, zippered satchel’s securely stash your valuables in your bag especially if you’re running to your next gate. 

Toiletry kits, Puff Diddy bags & Packing cubes

If you don’t know yet, then you should definitely know that packing your Costco size shampoo and lotion bottles aren’t the best idea to do on trips, the chances of these plump bottles leaking on your garments are very likely especially in the manner our luggage’s are handled at the airport (shameful really), you also have to consider that most hotels will provide you with shampoo, conditioner and lotion and other basic toiletry needs but make sure to confirm with the hotel management first before you leave your precious Vidal Sassoon at home. 

Toiletry kits  these days come with small refillable bottles you can stuff into leak proof diddy bags, packing your liquids & gels in these plastic leak proof toiletry bags makes it convenient to easily pull them out at security checkpoints, just in case security become suspicious of your liquid cargo (I smell vodka in your diddy bag Ma’am – hand it over!). I suggest to pack your toiletry bag in the center of your checked suitcase for safe-keeping and for less side impact.

Another alternative to packing your luggage if you are very meticulous with your clothing are the Marie Kondo of luggage -Packing Cubes, they are durable, fabric containers that stack neatly in your suitcase or backpack. In my personal opinion they do not save as much space compared to the fold and roll method but you can be assured that your luggage content will be as organized as the day you packed it and your clothes almost wrinkle free. (unless the baggage handlers shook it like a salt & pepper shaker)


Lastly, if you’re just going on a 4 day weekend trip or a trip less than week, a good rule of thumb is layer with nicely wicking clothes and just packing the essentials. Dri-fit materials are very light weight, easy to pack which definitely won’t subject you to luggage or carry-on clutter. If you really must, bring your versatile trusted jacket you could pair with jeans or khakis – leave the cable knits at home or that over-sized parka. Layering is the weekend travelers little secret as this is especially useful if you’re traveling to different climates. You can wear your lighter layers like tank tops or T-shirts when it’s warm, and layer up with sweaters and mid-layers when it’s cold.

Overall, these are just suggestions to make your travel life much easier, lugging unnecessary items is time-consuming and cumbersome, most people bring along too much stuff and don’t end up using half of it, the ultimate goal is to get you to your destination safe and sound hauling with you only the necessities you absolutely need. Try to avoid overpacking, determine the number of days you’ll be away then you can pretty much gauge how much and what you really need to pack – BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF, do you really need to bring it with you? seriously? truly? really-really? You should avoid overpacking, because it will help leave some space for important items too, such as medicines, technology, and some space to bring home some souvenirs.

Happy Travels!

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