It’s safe to say I’ve spent a fair portion of my life living from a suitcase, whether that’s going back and forth to and from university, visiting Gaz every month (#LDRproblems), studying abroad, or on weekend trips away. Over this time, I’ve had enough experience to master the art of packing a suitcase. This hopefully makes me the tiniest bit qualified to offer some quality advice on packing a suitcase!
Like marmite, some people love packing and some hate it (unsurprisingly, most fall into the latter category) but with my help, you’ll be packing a suitcase like a pro in no time.
1. Pack light by only bringing the essentials
A bit of an obvious point to kick off this post but one that still isn’t always ingrained in me (and probably 95% of the population too!). Spoiler alert: You never need as much as you bring. And believe me, a lighter bag will do you wonders. You and your back, shoulders, and wellbeing, that is.
Depending on how long you are going away for and where to (you’re obviously going to need to bring more clothes for colder climates), I’d recommend even just sticking to hand luggage if you can. Taking hand luggage will save you money plus it will save you time at your destination.
So how do you pack light? Well, you’ve just got to be ruthless. Easier said than done, I know. Lay all of the clothes you are thinking about packing on your bed and seriously decide what you are actually going to wear. To avoid over-packing, ensure all of the clothes you pack match or are at least reasonably neutral, e.g. pack mainly blacks, greys and whites.
As much as you may want to wear loads of flamboyant clothes on your travels, you are more likely to remember how much a pain in the backside your huge, heavy, expensive suitcase was than what you wore. By doing this, you should be able to put together a week’s worth of different outfits from a few basic pieces.
2. Always use packing cubes
Packing cubes are the best thing EVER. If you haven’t already boarded the packing cube hype train, it’s time to buy a ticket and hop on board mate. Packing cubes will revolutionise the way you pack for your next trip. They help you save space in your suitcase, fit more in and keep you organised. No more scrambling around for ages in your suitcase trying to find that one t-shirt.
LeanPac makes these awesome slim and medium packing cubes which are made using a fine mesh throughout to provide a good view of everything in the bag, making it easy to grab any item quickly.
3. Always leave extra space
It doesn’t matter whether you are going on a backpacking adventure around South East Asia or an all-inclusive holiday in Tenerife. But somehow most travellers seem to accumulate so
much crap many souvenirs and other pieces on their travels. I’d always recommend leaving some room spare so that your suitcase isn’t bursting at the seams. So even if you don’t decide to buy things to bring home, at least you’ll have an easier time packing your suitcase.
4. Have a separate section for toiletries within your bag
A separate toiletry bag dedicated solely to liquids will do you wonders when packing a suitcase. Not only will it stop your products from potentially leaking over all of your clothes, but it also means you can easily grab something when you want it. In short: organisation and segmentation are key when it comes to packing a suitcase.
LeanPac’s HangPac is especially cool because, shock horror, it HANGS! The hanger and suction cups mean the HangPac can be a hanging toiletry bag, allowing for hanging on walls, mirrors and any smooth surfaces. Plus the good news is that you can use this packing organiser for anything; it doesn’t have to be just for toiletries!
5. Roll, don’t fold
They see me rollin’, they hatin’. Rolling your clothes is one of the most well-known tips for packing a suitcase. And for good reason. Rolling clothes conserves space, reduces wrinkling (because who has time for ironing?!) and makes it easier to find clothes in your suitcase. However, despite it being a common tip, so many people still don’t do it. Get on it, guys and gals.
6. Ensure all your essentials are in your carry-on luggage
As much as we hate to admit it to yourselves – sometimes bags do go missing. Touchwood this has never happened to me before but it’s always best to be prepared for the worst. Always make sure all your valuables, like your phone, laptop and some cash, are with you on board in your hand luggage. Always pack a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage too.
If your checked-in bag gets lost or is delayed, at least you won’t have to rush to the shops and spend loads of money on replacement clothes right away.
7. Always bring a multi-purpose dry/wet bag with you
And even better yet if it’s a compression bag. These handy compression bags help remove air from bulky clothing. Packing a suitcase becomes far easier with a lightweight compression bag as you can pack much more and use the bags to hold dirty clothes on the way back. These bad boys are especially handy if you are planning to do water sports or go to the beach.
If you don’t fancy investing in a compression bag, always bring a few spare plastic bags in your suitcase as you’ll never know what you might need to put in there or use them for! Plus, buying new plastic bags is the worst and we’re all about saving the planet here, aren’t we?
8. Utilise every inch of space
You’d be surprised by how much space some people leave while packing a suitcase without even realising! Maximise all available space when packing a suitcase by filling shoes and similar items with things such as socks and underwear.
9. Wear your heavy items
How many clothes can you wear at once? I think it’s time to find out babe. I’d pop Guinness World Records a quick email if I were you. On a serious note, make sure you wear your heaviest boots and pack your lightest flip flops.
Oh and wear that big old winter coat of yours if you need it. Suffice to say, the winter coat I took to New Zealand would never have fit in my suitcase in a million years. Not only will wearing your heavy items save you space when packing a suitcase but you’ll also save on baggage allowance too.
10. Look beyond your average luggage
Yeah, this post is all about packing a suitcase. But have you ever thought that perhaps your suitcase or backpack isn’t quite up to scratch? Whatever bag you are taking can totally make or break your packing experience. It’s time to get rid of your really old suitcase (my parents recently got rid of their 25-year-old suitcases and I’ve never been prouder) with the broken zip, awkward handle and frayed edges. Upgrade to a modern suitcase which often features divided sections, 360-degree wheels and even digital tracking tags.
If you are looking for a piece of luggage that is really innovative, why not try LeanPac’s JamPac? It is not the most intuitive bag and definitely takes some getting used to before it can reach its full potential but it still gets you thinking about the way you pack a suitcase. The JamPac features multiple openings, four handles and three dividers designed to provide easy access and minimal fuss. Now that’s what I call a travel hack!
I was gifted some products by LeanPac for the purposes of this Packing a Suitcase post but as always all opinions are my own.
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