Seconds to Sanity series
By Holly Nagel
Travel Tips: Get Packing
Woo hoo! A trip! Cram it into the carryon. That’s my motto. You’ll be glad you did. I’ll show you how! I’ve gotten fairly good at it and love not having to wait at the baggage carousel! I have no extra fees and no chance of a big ole suitcase getting lost. Here I have at least 2 weeks worth of outfits!
If packing just one carryon is not an option, here are some tried and true tips I really live by. (These apply to bringing only a carryon, too.)
1) Roll the Clothes, But If You’re Lazy, Pile ’em Up! If you’re able, roll your clothes, it’s more compact.
Here I digress…Back when I was a youngster I learned this trick. As kids my Dad taught my three sisters and I to roll our clothes, aka Army or Ranger roll style, when packing for one of our infamous camping road trips through America. We were glad to know the ‘roll’ because then he’d hand us each one paper bag and say “You can take what’ll fit inside.” Wish I had a nickel for the bags that he’d pick up and they’d rip right out of his hand. By gosh, six pair of rolled up jeans are heavy!
If you’re worried about wrinkling, then button all buttons and fold the shirts with layers of tissue, paper or plastic bags in between. It does minimize wrinkles to a certain degree.
BUT (and there’s always a big BUT!) If you don’t want to use all the paper in between or you’re in a hurry or maybe you’re lazy…
Just PILE it up! For example, when I use my carryon, I pile all my tops on top of each other (see pic) and match up the shoulders, then fold all the sleeves over, then fold the pile in half by bringing bottom half up to top half. This fits nicely on top of the pants, shoes and socks.
2) Bags, Bags, Bags! I love the ziplock style bags in all sizes and would never leave home without them. It takes being a bag lady to a whole other level. (My mom is queen bag lady!). Some travellers love their roll-up bags for various items like jewelry, toiletries. These work great, BUT take up that valuable space much more than the plastic ziplocks.
Remember: always squeeze the air out of the baggies as much as possible before you zip it.
Bag the toiletries. Leaks and bottle bursts happen! Be sure to bag some of the larger items on their own. Don’t forget if something leaks, that you put it in a bag (or not) with something you don’t mind being leaked on. For example, my liquid face creams I bag with mascara tubes, tweezers and nail clippers. Learned that after the cream burst all over my toothbrush on one trip.
Bag the shoes. Shoes get cruddy, even if only worn indoors. I also place underwear in separate bags. Not for each item, but as a group. Also makes it easier to put back into the suitcase after TSA tosses everything around on one of the random spot checks.
Bag the dirty clothes. Worn clothes get smelly and will infect your clean ones.
Bag the jewels. Jewelry gets tangly, or worse, lost. It goes without saying, oh! but I will anyway, to leave leave leave your extra special 8-carat sapphire from Great Aunt Ethel at home. Luggage can get lost or broken into, travellers do get robbed. If you do insist on bringing the real jewels, then pack them in your carryon, so you always know where they are. If you’re staying in a hotel, most are now equipped with an in-room safe. Use the safe or, better yet, leave it in the hotel safe.
3) Layer the Contents Inside Your Luggage, Especially if You Don’t Have a Hard Shell. I always layer those bags of toiletries and other miscellania in between layers of clothes, jammies and socks. Provides a bit of cushion so items aren’t thumping against each other too bad when the baggage handlers are having throwing contests or are piling tons of other luggage on top of yours.
4) Pack Color Coordinates. Typically, I’ll pack with two or three colors in mind, like black, blue and white, then throw in an accent color, like the coral here. My most awesome Grandma Shirley showed me this trick. Great if you’re on a budget and trying to build your wardrobe, too!
Here I’ve packed at the very least 7 outfits. At the most there are… well, if each top can mix and match with different pants, and there are 3 pair, plus 1 jacket and 1 cardigan, er…math has never been my strong suit… but I figure two weeks for sure!
Notice how the below pic shows how I can easily strap the shoes and clothes into the right side of the case. Still plenty of room on the left side of the case for the toiletries, underwear and accessories.
5) Wear the Bulkiest Stuff. If at all possible, wear the biggest stuff, like your pants and lumpy jacket. Once at your destination you can pack them, but often they’ll take up valuable room.
HAPPY PACKING! (I’m jealous!)
Soon to come: Part 3: At the Airport & Boarding