We all face the same conundrum when packing before travelling: how to fit everything in and not end up with a bag stuffed so full you have to sit on it to get the zip shut.
With the following tips, you can pack the clothes and gear you want without needing an entourage to carry it all.
Read more to find out about …
- how to write a good packing list
- what to leave at home
- how to minimise space used in your suitcase
- items that help packing effectively
- how to pack over 100 items into a small bag
First, draw up a packing list over the course of a few days. This saves a lot of stress.
Think about what you have to take with you and what can stay at home
Towels, hairdryers and dressing gowns are usually available at hotels, and you can buy things like toiletries when you get to your destination. Do pack sunscreen though, as it’s often expensive elsewhere.
Try to pack things that have multiple uses
For example, a bandana can be used as a cap or a scarf, while your smartphone can double as an alarm clock and a torch.
Choose lightweight clothing and minimise space
Pack light, even for cold destinations. Thanks to today’s functional materials, several thinner layers can be much more effective than one thick sweater. Transfer small amounts of shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste into 100 ml bottles, if you haven’t already bought them in travel-sized packs.
Items that help saving a lot of space
Consider using rubber bands, vacuum or freezer/ziplock bags and packing cubes to help minimise space used in your suitcase.
Use vacuum bags
Try to roll up larger, thicker clothes, then place them in a vacuum or freezer/ziplock bag. Press as much of the air out and close. This will save a lot of space, with the added bonus that your clothes are guaranteed to stay dry. Store smaller items in individual, sealable plastic bags as well, so they don’t get loose in your suitcase or hand luggage.
Sort according to respective function: put electrical accessories such as charging cables and headphones in one bag, any medication in another and important documents and keys in a third. Put bottles and containers that contain liquids of 100 ml or less, such as shampoo, in your hand luggage. Make sure you pre-pack them together in a transparent, re-sealable bag, otherwise you will be forced to do so at airport security.
How to make use of every little bit of suitcase space
With packing cubes, you can organise different categories of clothing (jumpers, t-shirts etc.) better. You’ll find them faster and save space too.
Use smaller items such as socks or underwear to fill small gaps. For example, put socks in your shoes, where they can double as shoe tensioners to stop them getting squashed. Speaking of shoes: bind them together with rubber bands to keep them more compact. If you need to fold clothes, try to store similar shapes together.
Put heavy items like shoes or toiletries at the bottom of your bag, so you have nothing pressing down and potentially creasing or squashing lighter items. And if anything does leak, only the base of the suitcase will be affected, not the entire contents.
If you still need some inspiration, watch in amazement as over 100 items of clothing are packed into a small carry-on bag: