Ways to pack A suitcase💼🧳🧳

1. The bigger your suitcase, the more you will put into it: The simplest way to avoid bringing too many things is to buy a hard-sided suitcase, no more than 22 inches tall (so it can work as a carry-on) with a structured shell so you can’t squeeze in any extras.

2. Do the clothing countdown: If you need a mantra to help streamline your wardrobe, use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip: Limit yourself to no more than five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat. The list should be adjusted to suit your needs. Throw in a swimsuit and exercise gear or a suit jacket and dress if you’ll need them.

3. Lay out what you think you’ll need, then edit ruthlessly: “Think twice about everything you want to put in your bag,” , who writes about flying first-class at No Mas Coach!, part of the BoardingArea blogger network. The jet-setting couple once flew to Morocco for nine days with only carry-on bags and backpacks. “Fully get rid of the ‘just in case I need it’ category,” he said. “If and when you need it, you can buy it.”

4. Think Tetris: The best way to fit everything into one bag: Fill every inch of space. For example, footwear should be stuffed with socks. Then lay your shoes together heel to toe at the bottom of your suitcase in a plastic shopping bag to protect clothes from dirt.How exactly you arrange everything in your suitcase is a matter of personal preference.Here are some popular strategies:

  • Roll your clothes. This helps to maximize space and minimize wrinkles.
  • Use packing cubes. These smaller bags help you keep your clothes compact and your outfits ordered.
  • Try the bundle technique. Carefully wrap each article of clothing around a central core, with underwear and T-shirts at the center, and large tailored items like blazers and dresses as the outer layer.

5. Keep liquids in easy reach: “Toiletries should always be placed on top of your suitcase in a clear bag since you never know when T.S.A. might be interested in looking,” said Matthew Klint, a frequent flier and the award expert at Live and Let’s Fly.

6. Never unpack your toiletries: “I recommend keeping a separate toiletry kit for traveling,” said Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Keeping a set of bathroom products already packed also ensures that you don’t forget a toothbrush or contact lens case that you might use the morning of takeoff, she said. “Keep these items in a small pouch or box in the corner of a cabinet or drawer for easy access when packing for a trip.” To streamline what you need, consider all-in-one options like BB creams, which combine foundation, moisturizer and sunblock. To prevent leakage, double up that plastic bag.

For more on packing strategies, read ”The Right Way to Pack for Travel.

How to Pack a Suitcase

 

Packing may seem simple, but it is a science with rules that travelers often learn the hard way over thousands of miles on the road. Doing it strategically can be the difference between a harried vacation with countless detours to local drugstores and a streamlined one with everything you need at your fingertips. Here’s our shortcut to packing the right way: how to find the best suitcase, minimize your load, pack what you need on a beach trip or a business trip and cut down on wrinkles.

6 Packing Tips

Follow these basic tips to pack efficiently and effectively for any trip.

1. The bigger your suitcase, the more you will put into it: The simplest way to avoid bringing too many things is to buy a hard-sided suitcase, no more than 22 inches tall (so it can work as a carry-on) with a structured shell so you can’t squeeze in any extras.

2. Do the clothing countdown: If you need a mantra to help streamline your wardrobe, use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip: Limit yourself to no more than five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat. The list should be adjusted to suit your needs. Throw in a swimsuit and exercise gear or a suit jacket and dress if you’ll need them.

3. Lay out what you think you’ll need, then edit ruthlessly: “Think twice about everything you want to put in your bag,” said Ben Nickel-D’Andrea, who writes about flying first-class with his husband, Jon Nickel-D’Andrea, at No Mas Coach!, part of the BoardingArea blogger network. The jet-setting couple once flew to Morocco for nine days with only carry-on bags and backpacks. “Fully get rid of the ‘just in case I need it’ category,” he said. “If and when you need it, you can buy it.”

4. Think Tetris: The best way to fit everything into one bag: Fill every inch of space. For example, footwear should be stuffed with socks. Then lay your shoes together heel to toe at the bottom of your suitcase in a plastic shopping bag to protect clothes from dirt.How exactly you arrange everything in your suitcase is a matter of personal preference.Here are some popular strategies:

  • Roll your clothes. This helps to maximize space and minimize wrinkles.
  • Use packing cubes. These smaller bags help you keep your clothes compact and your outfits ordered.
  • Try the bundle technique. Carefully wrap each article of clothing around a central core, with underwear and T-shirts at the center, and large tailored items like blazers and dresses as the outer layer.

5. Keep liquids in easy reach: “Toiletries should always be placed on top of your suitcase in a clear bag since you never know when T.S.A. might be interested in looking,” said Matthew Klint, a frequent flier and the award expert at Live and Let’s Fly.

6. Never unpack your toiletries: “I recommend keeping a separate toiletry kit for traveling,” said Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Keeping a set of bathroom products already packed also ensures that you don’t forget a toothbrush or contact lens case that you might use the morning of takeoff, she said. “Keep these items in a small pouch or box in the corner of a cabinet or drawer for easy access when packing for a trip.” To streamline what you need, consider all-in-one options like BB creams, which combine foundation, moisturizer and sunblock. To prevent leakage, double up that plastic bag.

For more on packing strategies, read ”The Right Way to Pack for Travel.

The Best Toiletry Bag

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How to Pick a Suitcase

Buying a new suitcase? This will make your choice simple.

You don’t need a pile of suitcases to be ready for all types of trips. Luggage essentials can be three key pieces: a carry-on bag, a check-in suitcase and a duffel bag.

This trio, said Anne McAlpin — a travel expert, frequent globetrotter and author of the packing advice book “Pack It Up” — covers the bases for trips ranging from jaunt through multiple cities to a cruise to a nature-themed journey like a safari. “It’s unnecessary and expensive to have a big collection of luggage because most travelers tend to use the same pieces again and again,” she said.

Here’s how to choose within those categories:

How to Pick Your Carry-On and Check-In Luggage

Though most carry-ons and suitcases have boxy proportions and hard or soft shells, they can vary widely. That makes picking the best one more complicated than choosing a duffel bag. There are three basic variables to help guide your decision:

1. Two vs. four wheels: Which is the best way to wheel? Two-wheeled bags require you to drag them behind you in a straight line, and pulling heavy ones can be real chore. Four-wheeled bags, also known as spinners, rotate 360 degrees and are easier to maneuver; they can even be wheeled when they’re upright. But their design means that the wheels are more susceptible to damage.

2. Frequent travelers vs. occasional travelers: Travelers who are on the road several times a month need sturdy luggage that won’t fail even several years down the line. The more durable a bag, the pricier it will be — think $500 and up for a carry-on and $700 and higher for a check-in. But Lyle Saltzman, the director of merchandising for Luggage Factory, a Lambertville, New Jersey company selling more than 60 brands of luggage, said high-end bags come with generous warranties. “Many premium brands have a lifetime warranty policy that protects your investment, so if the bag gets damaged, they will repair or replace it for no charge,” he said.

Since occasional travelers don’t rely on their luggage nearly as often as road warriors, they can get by with a midrange bag, which will last them several years, and may have a limited warranty.

3. Soft- vs. hard-shell suitcase: There are benefits to both hard- and soft-side suitcases; ultimately the decision should be based on personal preference. Hard bags are aesthetically sleeker, said Dan Bettinger, an owner of Altman Luggage, a New York company that sells more than 100 brands of luggage. Hard bags also offer stronger protection than soft to the items inside and are less susceptible to wear and tear. As we mentioned earlier, a hard-shelled suitcase will also strictly limit how much you can stuff into your bag — a benefit if you tend to pack too much. And since the new models are made with lightweight polycarbonate, they don’t scratch easily and aren’t heavy. In fact, some models weigh less than soft suitcases, but be wary of a bag that’s too light: its frame may be flimsy.

The upside to soft bags: They tend to be light and have external pockets, which some travelers use to keep items like books or jackets handy. Many soft bags also have some give, a bonus if you like to cram as much as possible into a bag.

Our Luggage Picks

Just want a great bag? Consider these options from The Wirecutter.

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