Get the most out of your suitcase with these smart hacks.

By Rebecca Carhart
October 07, 2019
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Like most frequent flyers, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to pack smarter and lighter. More space in my suitcase not only means my bag weighs less (and I don’t have to worry about oversize baggage fees), but it also means there is extra room for me to bring back holiday souvenirs. 

Sirinarth Mekvorawuth / EyeEm/Getty Images

While everyone from fashion designers to celebs like Rebel Wilson and Taylor Swift have shared their go-to hacks, I’ve found that no one knows how to pack like a pro quite like a flight attendant. Because who knows how to pack better than someone who does it for a living? 

RELATED: These $12 Shoe Bags Are the Travel Hack You Didn’t Know You Needed

Curious as to what techniques these travel pros use to maximize space, I caught up with Emirates Cabin Crew Member Natasha Faux to find out her top packing tips. Not only has she perfected packing techniques that save space and keep things organized in her suitcase, but she has also found ways to take the guesswork out of getting dressed while on the road.

From keeping a toiletry bag stocked and ready to go to only packing versatile multipurpose pieces and organizing her travel essentials with packing cubes, keep reading to learn all five of Natasha’s top packing tips. Then shop the items you need to implement them for yourself. 

Keep a ‘Goodie Bag’ At The Ready

Courtesy of Nordstrom

“No matter where you’re headed, there are essentials that are helpful to have in your carry-on and have readily available in-flight,” said Natasha. “Keep a Ziploc bag at the ready and simply replenish the travel-size items as needed.” You can make your own travel toiletry kit with all your favorite products or purchase one that’s already made like this Aesop set. 

To buy: nordstrom.com, $53 

Assemble a Travel Capsule Collection 

Courtesy of M.M.LAFLEUR

Natasha says one of the easiest ways to save space in your suitcase is pre-planning your outfits ahead of time using pieces that can easily be mixed and matched into different looks. “Think basics like black pants, white jeans, neutral t-shirts, and a jean jacket,” she said. We love these travel-ready options from M.M LaFleur because they are versatile, wrinkle-resistant, and machine-washable.

To buy: (The Colby Pant) mmlafleur.com, $195; (The Morandi Sweater) mmlafleur.com, $265; (The Charli Top) mmlafleur.com, $145

Pack Stylish Activewear That Can Be Worn Anywhere

Courtesy of Nordstrom

What better way to save space in your suitcase than to pack items that can be used in more ways than one? “When I venture out during my layovers, I like to walk around the city and feel comfortable and I also like to go to the hotel gym or find a nearby yoga studio. So by wearing leggings and sneakers, I can use them for both activities,” said Natasha. If you need a new pair of comfy leggings, this pair from Zella is a best-seller at Nordstrom and has thousands of five-star reviews. 

To buy: nordstrom.com, $59 

Always Bring a Pair of Statement Earrings For a Pop of Color

Courtesy of BaubleBar

If you’re worried that you’ll get bored of your pre-planned travel outfits, Natasha suggests you bring “a pair of statement earrings to add that pop of color.” Just be sure to pack an affordable pair like these cute BaubleBar earrings so you don’t have to worry about misplacing or breaking precious or sentimental pieces while traveling.

To buy: baublebar.com, $44

Stay Organized With Packing Cubes

Courtesy of Amazon

When it comes to maximizing space, Natasha suggests, “filling suitcase gaps with socks, belts, intimates and hair tools to create a flat surface before laying down clothing. I also always bring packing cubes so my bag is organized and my clothes don't move around in my bag while traveling.” Be sure to opt for a set that has different sized cubes like this TravelWise option, so you can easily stack them. 

To buy: amazon.com, $20

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