The Right Way To Pack A Suitcase

I’ve got summer vacay brain…like really bad. All I want to do is pack up and run away to an island, lay in a hammock and read a good book. Who’s with me??

A fun fact about me is that I love packing. Like if I could be a professional suitcase packer I’d be in heaven. Weird, I know. Picturing me folding and stuffing suitcases with people’s things is kind of funny! Despite loving to pack….I loath unpacking. That feeling you get after a trip…having to wash clothes and get back to the daily grind is just no fun. But let’s not talk about that part, let’s focus on the FUN part! Packing that suitcase!

I’m sharing with you a few quick tips I’ve learned over the years about how to successfully pack a suitcase. I’ve gone from one extreme to the other when it comes to over and under packing. I’ve crammed a suitcase so full it’d break your arm to lift it…but it zipped! (haha 🙂 ) I’ve also vowed to myself that I would only pack the essentials and then get to my destination and wish I had that 1 thing I didn’t pack. That’s just plain frustrating, am I right?!

So, let me help you find your happy medium and pack everything you may need to fit in 1 suitcase. Yes, just one because who actually enjoys checking a bag? Not this girl.

The suitcase // First of all, you’ve got to have the right suitcase. I’ve learned that those hardshell ones are the best ever. They don’t rip or tear and they flex in all the right ways. Not to mention that they keep your stuff protected. These come in all sizes, big and small. Go get yourself one of these! I also recommend choosing a darker color so that it doesn’t show dirt, but grab a fun something to put on it so that you can identify it in a crowd of black suitcases.

Choose travel size // This should be a given, but I felt it was necessary to point out. Unless you are going on a very long getaway, like 2 weeks or more…opt for travel size everything. These sizes should give you plenty of whatever you need. If not, hotels and resorts have you covered with backups, but don’t waste good space with full size products. Plus, you’d be lucky to get through security with them! 🙂

Rolling vs. Folding // Let’s talk about how to pack your clothes. I’ve always got a handful of items that just wrinkle so bad…I can fold it into the nicest square and it comes out looking like I ran it through a hair crimper. Ugh. If you have clothes like this, roll them up like sushi and then pack. Not sure why or how this prevents wrinkles, but whatever works!

The bulky stuff // If you are packing sweaters, scarfs or maybe a jacket, fold those neatly and put them on the very bottom. This will allow for your delicate items to be on top to avoid wrinkling or squishing.

Shoe placement // I’m so bad about packing shoes. It’s like every outfit I choose needs a different pair of shoes. (Maybe that’s why my suitcase is always so heavy?) Make it a goal to choose outfits that can share the same shoes and limit yourself to 1-2 pairs (tough, I know! Just remember you get to wear your 3rd pair while you travel!) Once you’ve got your shoes picked out, put them in the other side of the suitcase. The side that has the zipper to separate them from your clothes. Since our shoes carry dirt, you don’t want them to get on our freshly rolled clothes.

Got empty space? // If you are me, there’s not a chance for any empty space in my suitcase, but if you are one that packs on the lighter side, maybe you do! If so, pack an extra bag in that spot. A bag can be SO helpful in many different scenarios. It could serve as your beach bag or an extra for when you go shopping and need to bring home some extra things that won’t fit in your suitcase. Ah!

Misc. bathroom stuff // Always always try to pack up your bathroom items into a separate plastic zip bag to protect everything else in your suitcase in the event something bursts. Yea, that happens more often than not. Put this bag on the shoe side of the suitcase.

I hope these tips help you pack more efficiently for your next getaway! If you have other packing hacks, I’d love to hear them. Comment below!

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31 thoughts on “The Right Way To Pack A Suitcase”

  1. I have the same problem with shoes! I always end up taking like five pairs and then only wearing one. Thanks for the tips – I’m traveling this week and will be sure to bookmark this!

  2. I am the worst packer and am seriously impressed by the fact that you love it so much and could do it for a living! I will have to try rolling next trip for sure!

  3. I love organizing our family suitcase, we swear by packing cubes. Every member of the family is allowed one big one and one small one, if it does not fit in the cube it ain’t coming on vacation with us. #mondayescapes

  4. I usually roll everything when I’m packing and it keeps most of the wrinkles at bay, but I find that the clothes also take up less space, which means I can cram more in. #mondayescapes

    1. Yes! I can’t imagine trying to pack for little ones! My husband always thinks he can share a suitcase with me….hhahaha! Not even a chance. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  5. Love your tip about packing an extra bag – it’s something I always forget then end up having to buy a new one to hold all my shopping lol. Shoes are my travel nemesis. #fearlessfamtrav

  6. Great tips. I learned the hard way when travelling with our son to the Canaries – I didn’t put one of his pouch meals in a plastic bag and it leaked EVERYWHERE. Now things like toiletries and meals and anything liquid is inside a plastic bag. It’s helped me since!

    1. Haha! The husbands need it most I think! My husband always thinks there is room in one suitcase for both of our things….hahah! I’d rather check a bag than have to share and cram. They will learn. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  7. I need to share this with my boyfriend! He always just throws his stuff in the suitcase, giving me a heart attack and him a one hour lecture from me how packing is all about THE SYSTEM 😀 I like to roll smaller/delicate items of clothing as well and find that it can save space too!

  8. Good tips. I hate the unpacking part too, soooo much! Your tip about packing an extra bag is spot on. I went away for years forgetting to do this, now I make sure it’s one of the first things I pack. It’s so hard going to the beach with a suitcase! Thanks for sharing this on #MondayEscapes

    1. It is hard going to the beach with a suitcase!! So glad I’m not the only one that hates unpacking. If our suitcases could just magically unpack themselves that would be awesome!! #dreaming

  9. I loved this post, Candace. We travel a lot (about 5 international flights each year plus shorter European hops) and the only thing I don’t love about it is packing! It made me smile when you said you enjoyed it, and I really found your tips helpful. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Hearth and Soul. Your post is featured at the party this week! Hope to ‘see’ you there!

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