4 Great Packing Tips


4 Great Packing Tips

Double your suitcase’s space and make packing quick.


Packing is not a fun activity. Whether it’s for a well-deserved vacation or a last-minute business trip, packing can cause massive anxiety for almost anyone. For me, it’s not the act of folding clothes that I hate so passionately, it’s the “selection” process that gets me – or should I call it, the “process of elimination.” The idea that somehow, in some way, one of my beloved articles of clothing may need to be left behind is more stressful than I’d typically care to admit.

4 Great Packing Tips

See, like most women I know who like to travel, I prefer to do so in style, but let’s be real—not even one pair of Manolos goes famously with every outfit. Flats however, are much more versatile – and comfortable! And while having style dictates that you can’t wear the same outfit all day every day, slight variations are perfectly acceptable.

With so many airline-imposed limitations on luggage these days, long gone are the days of checking five bags without paying handsomely. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather forgo a kidney than wait at baggage claim. Not to mention that $60 baggage fee I saved will buy me a few glasses of champagne when I arrive. While they blame inflated gas prices, I’m convinced the airlines are simply tangled in some conspiracy against fashionable travelers.

So how do you beat the system? Here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the past few years that can help you pack way more in less space no matter where you’re going:

 1. Separate Shoes

If you can bear it, try to only bring a pair or two of flats. Choose colors that go with all your outfits. If it’s winter, wear your boots and pack your flats. If you absolutely must bring heels, they should always stay at the very bottom of your bag, or in a separate bag altogether. If you place boots or heels on their sides lengthwise at the very bottom of the bag, you’re less likely to soil your clothes – particularly if you use a Shag Bag to keep items isolated.

4 Great Packing Tips2. Coordinate Colors

Pick a couple of colors and one metal & jewelry tone, and try to coordinate everything based on that. This way, all your tops will go with all your bottoms, and you can mix and match. It also helps limit the number of shoes, bags and jewelry you’ll need.

 3. Roll & Tuck

Once your shoes are in their rightful place, you can move on to the secondary essentials. These include smaller items such as socks and undergarments, which can be shoved into your shoes. Any nightgowns or club dresses, if you’re that kind of girl, can then be rolled up and tucked separately, and neatly stacked on top of the foundation of shoes.

 4. Zip-lock Toiletries

Nobody cares how cute your fancy toiletries bag is. What matters more, is making your essential toiletries as flat as possible in that suitcase so you can fit your trio of blazers, that extra pair of ballet flats, and another pair of your favorite jeans. Zip-lock bags not only help keep liquids contained, but also give you more flexibility to lay items flatter than you could if they were in a harder-shelled bag.

 By following these four easy steps, you’ll get almost double the space and certainly lessen the stress at the airport’s baggage claim. And remember, sacrificing style is your choice – not the airlines.

What are other ways you’ve had luck with creating more space in your suitcase?

Stefanie is a professional travel writer and self described “Adventure Girl”. Based in LA, and charged by the smell of jet fuel, our travel expert continues to travel the world seeking out unique and interesting adventures to share with viewers for such shows as CNN, UPN, ABC and NBC. Her writings have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as Razor, FW, and The New York Times. Her quote to live by comes from Amelia Earhart, “If someone asks you on an adventure, don’t refuse it!”

Reader Discussion: 12 Comments

  1. Hannah Mayers

    Shag Bag is a great help when I pack 🙂

  2. Carolyn Donovan

    Whenever I pack (and travel), I make sure to leave room for souvenirs! Die-hard shopper… LOL

  3. Melissa Smith

    I always have one problem when packing, maintaining the shape of my bra 🙁 Any advice?!

  4. Coordinating colors require creativity! But yeah, it works 😉

  5. Very useful tips! Thank you very much for sharing! My career requires a lot of travel and packing! I have been the type who jam two weeks’ worth of clothes for a 3-day stay. I also experienced packing too lightly that I forgot to carry important things. But various travel experience made me a savvy traveler who strike the perfect balance and bring exactly what I need 🙂

    • Francis Woods

      OMG!!! Can relate! I either pack too much or too lightly 🙁 How I wish I can be savvy like you too!!!

  6. Courtney Watson

    Great tips! Packing tests one’s patience and creativity 😉 Roll & tuck has been the most effective way for me! I make sure these rolled items are at the bottom. I’d have to note though that based on experience, roll & tuck works best for knits, wool and cotton 🙂

  7. I usually travel for work. Unfortunately, I’m the type who toss in a few things in my suitcase the last minute. As much as I would like to plan what I’m taking weeks in advance, I just can’t be successful.

    Roll and tuck is my favorite way to pack, it saves a lot of space. But sometimes the dresses I have to bring require the layer cake technique wherein I have to stack my clothing items between sheets of tissues to prevent wrinkling.

    Very helpful article!

  8. This is a very helpful article! Thank you very much for your tips! I love shopping (certified shopaholic???!) and I usually experience packing problems while organizing my things back to my home country. LOL

    More often than not, I “overshop”! My bad…

  9. I tried the roll and tuck method (I just happen to be leaving for London tomorrow), and it works like a charm! Ladies, you must try it. I fit at least twice as much stuff into my suitcase, I have no idea how, but it worked LOL

  10. Jen Garcia

    Yeah! Packing is never fun! It consumes a lot of my energy and brain cells (thinking what to bring and what to leave behind). On one of my recent out-of-the country trips, I did some “over-shopping” and I was actually torn between buying a new suitcase or leaving my old things behind (because I really can’t find a way to fit in all my things).

    Though buying a new suitcase was an option in mind, I was still hesitant because I had lots of bigger suitcases back at my home country. So what I did was first search the Internet to look for some packing tips and suggestions, and Google brought me to this page! I followed Tip #3: Roll and Tuck and to my surprise, my things fit! It’s like magic that suddenly my suitcase became spacious (but of course, I did not go on for more shopping because of over baggage concerns). 

    Next time, I know better! This article really helped me!

  11. Jen Spillane

    I find that rolling my clothing as opposed to folding them is often helpful and allows for more free space. I also pack a lot of leggings, tights and other clothing that I can layer.

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