Throwing a suitcase together may sound like a no-brainer, but Travel + Leisure’s signature packing tips—culled from the combined wisdom of its well-traveled writers and editors—can always offer a few pointers to make the whole process better.
We keep tabs on the latest in packing innovations (like machines that pack your suitcase for you), tips (like how to get your Thanksgiving dinner past airport security), and news (remember the time that man wore all his clothes at once to avoid a checked bag fee…and then passed out from the heat under all those layers?).
Often the best packers are only as good as their luggage, so we also evaluate the newest carry-ons, checked luggage, backpacks, and laptop bags for style, sturdiness, and safety. We love dust bags for storing shoes and separating delicate items of clothing. Travel-sized jewelry holders help make sure necklaces don’t get tangled and rings don’t get lost. And new, high-tech suitcases have charging ports, GPS trackers, and other innovations to make packing less of a chore.
With additional fees for checked bags, most travelers aim to fit everything they need into a single carry-on bag. The best way to accomplish this is simply to pack light. By choosing clothes that all share the same color palette, you can mix and match garments to create new outfits with ease. Of course, there are a few tried-and-true methods of cramming everything you want into that one bag. Roll, don’t fold. And skip the bulky platform heels and extra jacket. (Or, if you must, wear them on the plane.) Stick to fabrics that won’t wrinkle. And limit yourself to just two pairs of shoes: one formal, one comfortable.
T+L editors have also been known to layer dryer sheets in between items to ensure their freshness over longer journeys. For heavy bags, we like to put the weightiest objects on the bottom-end of a wheeled suitcase, which makes it easier to maneuver. Dry shampoo, of course, is a life saver.