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7 Packing Tips to Maximize Your Luggage Space

Summer holiday luggage stuff scattered on bed

Packing everything you might need into one suitcase for a week-long vacation (even two weeks) isn’t impossible.  It’s just a matter of what you pack and how you organize the items.  The tips below, especially #2, have helped me save a great deal of space in my suitcases.  The extra space allows me to buy souvenirs and shop without worrying about where to put my new things for my return home.

Follow these simple steps to help ensure your suitcase is efficiently packed for your next getaway.

1. Leave grooming products behind

While everyone aspires to pack light, some can’t help but bring “extras” because they fear the items won’t be available at their destination.  If you don’t have a strong brand preference for shampoos, toothpaste, or lotions, ditch the bulky bottles and use the ones that your hotel will provide.  Even tools such as razors, combs, and toothbrushes are available at most hotels.  Call ahead to make sure they have what you need.

If you do end up packing a few liquids into your carry-on, remember to check your airline’s restrictions to ensure they’ll be allowed on the plane.

2. Roll your clothes

packing for new journey

Rolling (versus folding) your clothes can help you save a lot of space.  Rolling compresses the clothing while also making it easier to stack into a smaller section of your suitcase.  This way, you’ll be able to fill the gaps in between and take full advantage of all the space.

For tops, fold the body in half vertically, fold in the sleeves, and roll tight.  For pants, fold them in half first and then roll them tightly.

3. Pack items within items

Smaller items such as chargers, socks, and eyewear cases can be stuffed into bigger things such as your shoes.

4. Divide and conquer

To reduce the amount of items you bring, try and coordinate with your travel companion(s) to see if you can share items. Perhaps not everyone needs to bring his or her own chargers or aspirin.  For those sharing a room, one can of hairspray would be enough.

5. Heavy things at the bottom

Traveling woman waiting for transport

Though this tip might seem like common sense, many people don’t consider it when they’re packing since suitcases usually need to be placed on their backs in order to open properly.  When the suitcase is in this position, most tend to place their heavy items across the back.  However, when you zip the suitcase and stand it up, all of heavier items will slide down towards the wheels.  To minimize the chances of your things getting crushed, pack your heaviest items (in most cases, shoes) closest to the wheels and work your way up.

6. Wear Your Bulkiest Items

Instead of trying to stuff your thickest sweater or jacket into the suitcase, wear it onto the airplane.  Once you’re settled, you can take it off and put it in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.

7. Let Your Bag Settle Overnight

Having trouble zipping your bag?  Let it sit overnight so that gravity can “pull” your clothing down and force excess air out.  By morning, you should have enough space to be able to close your bag with no issues.

I hope these tips help you pack smart for your next adventure!  If you have additional tips to add, please share them in the comments below.