You might all have a little giggle as we declare war on the unruly suitcase. Haven’t we all sat on our suitcases in desperation to just shut the bloomin’ thing? Or ‘panic packed’ two minutes before we leave for the airport – shoving in that additional pair of espadrilles (don’t make me choose between the red, white and pink)?
Packing is a delicate blend of art and science. Rolling shirts so that they unfold with only the most subtle suggestion of a wrinkle is truly an art form. And on top of that, you need to pack everything you need for a trip in a way that meets the demands of airline baggage weight and size requirements – now that’s a science, and we’ve got the formula. Follow these 6 packing tips and learn how to save space in your suitcase.
1Note exactly what you should pack
So many travellers opt to overpack in lieu of forgetting something essential. My advice? Every time you take a trip, make a list! Create an inventory of everything you’ll need for your upcoming vacation, and tick off the items as you place them in your bag; it’s a fool-proof way to pack. Try Independent Traveler’s interactive packing list.
2Do your laundry on the road
Travel-size bottles of laundry detergent are available at most Laundromats and drug stores. Alternatively buy an empty travel bottle and fill with stuff you have at home. Wash your clothes in the sink in your hotel room. Travel suppliers like Magellan’s sell laundry lines with suction cups so you can hang your dripping clothes out to dry. This simple trick allows you to double or triple the usage you’ll get from just a few sets of clothes.
3Roll and vacuum pack
Folding creates creases, and it’s not the best way to maximize suitcase space. Starting from the bottom up, roll your shirts, trousers and dresses into tightly packed tubes, which you can neatly stack in your suitcase.
4Carry ziplock bags along with you
How do you usually organise all of your electronics, cables, those fiddly bits that take you ages to dig out at security? Stuff them in like the rest of us? Well, if you want to organise your packing then get yourself a stash of ziplock bags. Phone charger, camera charger, adaptors, headphones – take extra plastic bags (the same ones you’d use for hand luggage liquids) and use them to store electrical items, things for the journey home (house keys, parking ticket and car keys), medication and other loose accessories. And if you do love a gadget, then you should check out our top travel gadgets for 2016.
5OPT FOR A SOFT-SIDED SUITCASE
A hard case might be better for really fragile items, but for the average holiday, a soft case offers more pockets, expansion opportunities to squeeze in a few more items and still a very high level of durability.
6LOSE THE SHOES
Shoes are oddly shaped, heavy and mostly inflexible, so they’re not exactly ideal for packing. (I’m still waiting for someone to invent a line of inflatable travel shoes.) The rule of thumb is that travellers should pack no more than two pairs of shoes: one casual pair for walking and everyday use, and one pair for formal occasions. Don’t forget if you are heading to a beach destination, you can probably pick up a pair of flip flops on arrival.