How To Pack a Suitcase: 10 Packing Hacks

by Ryan Skidmore
how to pack

The way you pack your suitcase will have a tremendous impact on the way you travel. Pack without tact and you’ll be spending a good chunk of your travel time digging through your cargo, trying to make it all fit in a semi-orderly fashion. Learn how to pack your things just right and you’ll save time and travel costs.

Use these 10 packing hacks to achieve the perfectly-packed suitcase.

1. Roll Your Clothes

Just in case you’re not already well aware of the roll-don’t-fold method, we thought we’d mention it. Instead of folding and stacking, roll your clothing into tight bundles to save space and increase visibility. You’ll be able to pack your bag more evenly and find what you’re looking for without unloading or shuffling through stacks of clothes.

how to pack

2. Pack Duo-Purpose Items

One of the most overlooked suitcase packing tips is saving space with duo-purpose items. Pants that turn into shorts. Long-sleeved garments with zip-off sleeves. Think of how much space you can save in your suitcase by replacing two items with one that still serves the purpose of two!

If you’re worried about not having enough clothing, take advantage of the hotel’s laundry facilities. You can live in just a couple outfits for weeks (maybe longer) if you keep them clean.

3. Pack Versatile Clothing

You might be envisioning yourself in all sorts of different vacationing outfits. But that’s going to take up a lot of room in your luggage. As you prepare your travel wardrobe, pack neutral, versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits and styles.

A tank top, a tee-shirt, a flannel, one pair of jeans, and one pair of shorts can be used to create several different outfit combinations appropriate for all kinds of weather conditions and activities.

how to pack

4. Pack in Layers

If you’re traveling to a place with fairly mild weather conditions, don’t waste space with a big, bulky coat, a heavy jacket, a light jacket, and a raincoat! All you really need to do is pack in layers and add another layer until you’re warm. A tank top, a tee-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, and a nice warm sweater should be enough to keep you warm in many climates.

Add a light jacket if you really need to or invest in a high-quality insulated jacket that won’t take up too much space. If you’re going somewhere with a lot of rain, pack one raincoat and forgo the jacket. Several thin layers will take up a lot less room in your suitcase than one bulky coat or a couple different jackets.

how to pack

5. Pack in Cubes

Have you heard of packing cubes? These nifty lightweight separators can do wonders for effectively filling every inch of space in your luggage. The best part about this packing hack is that you can effortlessly keep your things organized throughout the duration of your trip. You can purchase packing cubes in a variety of colors and sizes on websites like Amazon, or better yet, you can upgrade your luggage to functional bags and suitcases that come with built-in separators and packing dividers.

6. Utilize Shoe Space

Packing shoes is almost painful for the traveler who can’t stand to carry more than he or she absolutely needs to. Just two pairs of essential footwear take up valuable room. The can leave awkward patches of empty space. Why not make the most of it? Pack what you can fit inside your shoes and wedge smaller articles of clothing in the empty space between pairs and the walls of your suitcase.

how to pack

7. How To Pack in Bags

Packing your things in smaller bags is a fantastic way to keep things orderly and in an agreeable shape. Instead of tossing all of your toiletries, electronics, and other oddball items into your suitcase, place them in Ziploc bags or small totes. Then, wedge them into the empty spaces of your suitcase.

8. Utilize Your Carry-On

A half-packed carry-on item may be one of the worst ways to waste space when packing your luggage. Cram as much as you can in that carry-on bag (within the weight limits, of course.) Keep your flight essentials in your personal bag that you can keep under your seat.

how to pack


9. Don’t Pack What You Can Buy (Or Get for Free)

Shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, body wash, a razor, face wash, Q-tips, feminine products, the list goes on and on. Most hotels will supply these essentials for free upon request; all you have to do is ask.

For the items that don’t come free at the hotel desk, consider buying them in small quantities at a nearby drugstore once you arrive.

how to pack

10. Vacuum Packs

Last, but not least, one of the most effective packing hacks anyone has ever come up with: vacuum seal bags, or vacuum packs. . These are such a game-changer and if you think you need a vacuum to operate them, think again! Many modern-day vacuum-seal bags require as little as zipping them shut and applying pressure to force the air out. These are an instant space saver and definitely worth every penny.

how to pack

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure, use these 10 packing hacks to learn how to to pack light, travel smart, and enjoy your trip!

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Barb June 11, 2018 - 8:27 am

Ryan, I pack exactly as you do. Don’t know how I managed before packing cubes were invented.
Great article.

Ryan June 12, 2018 - 9:38 am

Thanks so much Barb! Yes packing cubes have been such a game changer for me. Glad you liked the article and safe travels!


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