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Suitcase Envy – Packing for Travel

Need to pack for a trip away and not sure where to start?
Think you’ve got it worked out and then can’t close your suitcase?
Packing a suitcase can be an art, but not complicated.

Before you get started consider:

  • duration away
  • activities you will be doing while away
  • climate at destination
  • accommodation and whether you have access to things like closets, irons or hair dryers
  • appliances; if you are going to another country, you may need to think about adapter plugs for those you may want to take with you
  • choosing whether a suitcase or a backpack is most suitable for your trip
  • length of time spent on transport and what you’ll need, e.g. in an airline cabin on a long flight, to keep you comfortable and refreshed on arrival

There are many in-depth articles and videos around on this subject so I’m not even going to attempt to reinvent the wheel here, especially with the little amount of online space I have to dedicate to this topic. Instead I thought I’d focus on basic hints and consolidate some already ‘established’ methods for you together with video links which ‘demonstrate’ how while saving you from ‘viewing’ pain – boy did I watch some horrendous versions before settling on these ones for you!

Basic Packing Tips For Suitcases: Rhonda Baron of Baron International LLC. It’s rare to find someone with an easy to listen to personality who can demonstrate well. Rhonda is one of those. Here are three of her You Tube videos. She has many others if you want to access them. Click on the following headings to access the links to Rhonda’s wonderful tips.

Order of Clothing Items to Prevent Wrinkles: Starting from the bottom (or inner base of suitcase) and working up to the lid.

  • Put shoes on the base of the suitcase, socks can be stuffed into shoes that need them. Always put shoes in at least a plastic bag. Germs are on the bottom of shoes and you don’t want them transferring to other items. Especially items that will be handled by you such as toiletry bags, books, etc.
  • I also suggest packing a plastic bag for any items of dirty laundry while traveling and en-route home. (nothing worse than having grubby stuff packed in with clean). This is the same rule for towels.
  • Less wrinkle prone shirts and knitwear on the bottom.
  • Easily wrinkled shirts (folded & or rolled).
  • Dresses (for the gals).
  • Top off the pile with any long pants then jackets or men’s suits.
  • Underwear and accessories can be rolled and placed around the edges or fill gaps.

Other Stuff:

  • Keep toiletries well contained to prevent spillage
  • Don’t forget to padlocks your bag and use some kind of identification marker such as a bright ribbon tied to a handle to help you find your bag quickly on the baggage carousel.

Wrinkle Free Folding Tricks: The best way to demonstrate these is by video so after a process of video elimination (to save you trolling through YouTube) I think I’ve condensed this down to best to cover six tricky items.

  • Shirts: Linda Koopersmith, the Beverly Hills Organizer. What I particularly liked here was the easy folding method which is the one I have always used – as for the use of plastic in-between? Depending on the length of time shirts are ‘in’ transit. I have gotten away without the plastic for short trips of say max 5 hours (base to base, including travel).
  • T-Shirts: Apply the same folding technique to t-shirts and long-sleeved t-shirts, then roll them from bottom to neckline. It does work and it saves space (no plastic required).
  • Dresses & Skirts:  Here is a demonstration in favour of a hang and fold vs rolling. Otherwise use the same technique for a dress shirt.
  • Mens Suits, All Jackets & Pants:  Gabriela Garzon is the principal of G.G. Image & Etiquette Consulting in Miami, Florida.
  • Jeans: Rolling Jeans is one method Folding in half and lying them flat is another. They don’t require much TLC. Again, thanks to Fold & Fly for this great clip on how to pack like a rock star!
  • Basic Knitwear: Usually the most bulky item for a bag. Thanks to Melody Mann at Expert Village for this one.

Other Useful Links:

General Travel TipsHow to prepare for a long plane ride from Howcast Travel.

How To Pack A Backpack
: Great ideas from Wilderness Supply Company on how to use compression sacks, (if only they’d had compression sacks years ago when I was backpacking).

How to Pack Your Backpack for Europe for Girls: Part 1 & Part 2 from Krystin Dean of ‘Red Wine Helps You Sleep On Trains’.

Interactive Travel & Packing Checklists: Packing List Online (It’s a Dutch Website so you will have to live with the spelling mistakes however) or you could try The Universal Packing List.

How to Pack a ‘Carry-On’ Like a Boss: is a great little video from Travel Noire showing a great new way to fold items and fit them all into a small carry on suitcase. This one is sheer brilliance.

How to Pack a Suitcase Efficiently: from Davehax has some great speed packing ideas and useful tips for when you’re on the go. I especially like the idea for recharging your phone via a TV USB in your hotel room!

Packing List Apps: Of course as Steve Jobs would say ‘there is also an App for that” so be sure to check out the App Store Utilities section for some. I came across  four in my quick search. Depending on your needs you will need to check to see if they’re suitable for  either iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. And make sure your phone operating system is compatible. Likewise if you’re an Android user check for Apps on GooglePlay.

PackLists is a freebie, but if you want to pay a little extra maybe try Packing Lists or Packing ~ for holiday and business both going for 0.99 cents; or Packing List – To Do + Pack for $2.99.

My personal favourite? Pack The Bag, it does exactly what I need it to do, I can set a few different lists for different travel needs and it comes with both suitcase and pre-trip checklists, even makes lists that take into consideration your travel, accommodation and even your pet’s needs. Easy to use, looks good and best of all it’s ‘free’.

All have their own uniqueness, and I guess you’ll need to suss them out yourself to see if they’ll suit your needs, luckily they’re cheap enough for a trial run. Let me know if you try any of them and leave your review in the comments box below. Oh and send me a postcard!

Bon voyage!

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