How to Pack a Suitcase
To make the process more manageable for everyone, we turned to our in-house packing master, Travel + Leisure’s fashion director, Mimi Lombardo, for her hard-won tips.
Two favorite ways to pack: the roll-up squeeze—coiling your clothes for maximum space—and the layer cake technique of stacking your clothing items between sheets of tissue to prevent wrinkling.
“If I’m traveling with family I definitely do the roll, because it’s casual,” says Lombardo. “But when I’m traveling for business or fashion shows, it’s all about the layer cake!”
She shares step-by-step instructions, as well as products that will give you more wiggle room, in our packing slideshow.
The Roll-Up Squeeze
Fold each item in half, then carefully coil it up before placing it in your carry-on and filling all the corners. The payoff: you’ll maximize space in your suitcase. Another perk: your clothes are likely to arrive wrinkle-free.
The Roll-Up Squeeze: Steps
1. Fold article of clothing lengthwise.
2. Roll tightly, as you would a sleeping bag.
3. Arrange in your bag, with heavier items closer to wheels for balance.
The Layer Cake
Going on a business trip? This routine is a game-changer. Fold your clothes as you would at home, then place them between sheets of dry-cleaner plastic (or tissue), which helps keep wrinkles away. Also consider leaving items on their hangers so you can just pop them into the hotel closet upon arrival.
The Layer Cake: Steps
1. Layer dry-cleaner plastic or tissue between items.
2. Leave blouses and dresses on hangers for easy unpacking.
3. Fill suitcase, tucking belts and accessories into corners.
Packing something bulky? Consider investing in a few Ziploc Space Bags, which look like supersized sandwich baggies...until a vacuum sucks the air out. Fantastic for compressing, say, ski sweaters (from $20 for nine). The only drawback: you’ll have to borrow a vacuum from housekeeping before your return flight.
A few separate inner pouches make finding your accessories, undergarments, and sleepwear a cinch—plus, they can be moved seamlessly from suitcase to hotel drawer. Our pick: the Pack-It Specter Cube Set from Eagle Creek ($38 for a set of three; shown).
3 Simple Steps for Packing Shoes
There is a definite method to packing shoes for a trip. Here are three.
1. If you are not using a shoe bag then keep the soles towards heaven or facing away from your clothes, for obvious reasons; soles are dirty!
2. Shoes are one of the heavier items you will have in your bag so give lots of thought to taking too many. Chose a pair that can be worn in a variety of situations. Along with the one you are wearing, you’ll have enough.
3. Use the edges and corners of your suitcase to ensure every crack and crevice are used.