Hopefully you saw our earlier post on how to decide what you should bring when traveling. If not, go check it out; packing truly is a two part process. Even if you’ve followed all the tips on making smart choices about what goes into your suitcase, just tossing stuff in willy-nilly may force you into a bigger bag. You’re going to have to organize to minimize wasted space and keep the number of bags you have to tote down.
Roll your clothes. There are many benefits to rolling over folding. It minimizes wrinkling and allows you to fit items into small, awkward spaces. (If you have a rolling bag, you’re probably familiar with the trough the handle creates in the storage space.) Also, by putting your rolled clothes in first, you create a flat surface for storing other things like shoes, your toiletry bag, and maybe even a book.
Fold items together. The main benefit of this method is minimizing wrinkling. Basically, lay two or three similar garments on top of one another and fold like you normally would. The stacking translates to thicker folds and fewer creases in your clothing. I’ve never tried this method, but it seems like it would be useful for larger items that might be difficult to roll.
Bundle your clothes. This method involves folding (or bundling) your clothes around a core. Stack your clothes in the base of your suitcase, smoothing our wrinkles as you go. You’ll want to put the items most prone to wrinkling (soft fabrics like cotton) on the outside/bottom of the stack. Like folding multiple items together, the outside of the bundle will not have sharp folds and will be less likely to wrinkle. Once your clothes are stacked, place a “core” such as your toiletry bag or a bunch of socks and underwear on the center of the stack. Then fold each item one-by-one around the core. You will end up with a self-contained bundle with fits perfectly in your suitcase.
Buy into a system. If planning and organization just isn’t your thing, there are plenty of companies out there that have already done most of the work for you. My favorite is the Eagle Creek Pack-It System. From shirt folders to toiletry kits to underwear cubes, they’ve designed an organizer for every item you might need. They even have compression bags that don’t require a vacuum. Another benefit of utilizing a packing system like this is that it can actually help you remember what you need to pack. It better to find an empty garment bag at home than to get to your destination and realize you forgot your dressy clothes.
With a little practice, these tips can become second nature and packing will be pain free. Heck, you may even start to enjoy it. Next thing you know, you’ll be jet-setting every weekend. Check out Stay Alfred’s urban vacation rental offerings for a little inspiration.