how to pack a suitcase
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
April 28, 2024 ·  3 min read

How To Pack A Suitcase

We all know the paradoxical truth: taking vacations can be stressful! And one of the biggest stress factors is trying to pack appropriately. Nobody wants to be stuck in a foreign country with no clean underpants, and certainly nobody wants to be lugging around a suitcase so disorganized that they end up leaving something important behind.

In order to avoid the last-minute scramble, make sure everyone in your family is using these packing tricks that every frequent traveler uses!

How to Pack A Suitcase

1. Make A List

This might seem too obvious to include, but thinking through everything you need before you even pull that lumpy suitcase out from storage will save you a lot of headache down the road. The trick is not to make such a massive list that you end up bringing half of the house with you. Try narrowing down your checklist by asking these questions:

  • How many days will I be gone? (Pack this amount of pairs of underwear and socks, plus an extra)
  • Do I need to dress up? (If you’re planning a special night out, pack just one simple formal outfit and two accessories options)
  • What’s my itinerary like? (Actually thinking through what you’ll be doing on each day can help you decide if you need to bring 2 bathing suits or just one, whether you need running shoes or not, and whether makeup and hair styling tools are really necessary)

2. Pack Small Things First

Items like USB’s, hair pins, and reading glasses should be grouped together in one easily accessible area so they don’t get lost. Using this system will also help you organize space most efficiently, rather than grouping by item type. Pick just one suitcase pocket or even a plastic sealed bag to store the small things in one place.

3. Vacuum Sealed Bags Are Your Best Friend

Bulkier clothes like jackets, sweaters,  and long dresses should be folded neatly and placed in sealable plastic bags. Pack them flat and you’ll be surprised with how much space you’re left with.

4. Roll, Don’t Fold

Folding clothes is great for organizing your dresser at home, but it takes up far too much space in your suitcase. Instead, tightly roll your pants, jeans, t-shirts, and long-sleeves and pack them in a layer above your vacuum sealed bulkier items. At this point, you should only be 2/3rds of the way full.

5. Use Travel-Size Beauty & Hygiene Containers

It’s easy for hair and skin supplies to start taking over. Instead, purchase small glass jars or BPA free plastic travel-size containers to store your shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, and oils. Depending on how long you’re staying, you may also want to consider simply buying these products when you arrive instead of packing them at all.

Place these small containers in a plastic sealable bag and tuck it between some of your rolled up clothes (if you’re smart, you might get away with tucking them into a pair of your shoes!).

6. Fill In The Spaces

If you’re leaving some room for souvenirs on the way back, fill in empty spaces with balled up newspapers. This will prevent your clothes from getting loose and creased, so you don’t have to look like you just stepped off the plane during the whole trip.

7. Use Shower Caps To Protect Your Clothes

You don’t have to pack your dirty running shoes separately, pack them in a disposable shower cap to keep them away from your clean clothes (of course a regular plastic shopping bag will also do the trick). Lay flat a couple of extra plastic bags to use for dirty laundry on the way back.

To see more packing tips in action, watch this: