How Do YOU Pack a Suitcase?

I get ideas about what’s essential when packing my suitcase.
–Diane Von Furstenberg

It seems to me that there are three schools on how to pack.

  1. Those who are confident they know how,
  2. Those who are looking for guidance, and
  3. Those who don’t care about the Best Way and just throw stuff in.

Within Group 1, the Confident Packers, there are the Flat packers and the Rollers.

Tidy packing makes for happy travel. Photo by EJWhite

Tidy packing makes for happy travel.
Photo by EJWhite

I prefer Flat packing myself, with attentive use of additional unused spaces. My clothes do not wrinkle any more than they would in the chest at home. The folded shirts (fresh from the laundry) suffer no additional wrinkling. This method is especially helpful for a cruise where I will unpack once and will not have to be concerned with retrieving something from the suitcase each morning.

People who favor Rolling each item and then stacking the tubes close to each other claim that it is easier to find a given item by scanning the exposed samples of fabric visible from such a system. I cannot argue with that. With flat packing you might need to lift several corners in succession to find the desired shorts. I just cannot believe that rolling clothes prevents wrinkles as they claim. Nor should this plan save space over the flat plan, assuming I am taking advantage of leftover niches around the “flats.”

People in Group 2 who are Looking for Guidance can find multiple articles and videos on the internet. I have indicated my preferences above and leave you to make your own decisions, guided by internet teachers who can show you just how to follow the steps. Even if you are a very confident Group 1 packer, you might want to check some of the advice. It looks as though the best solution is a combination of methods, depending on what sort of clothing you are packing.

But, being myself, I have a few additional comments. First, be sure to engage your Inner Engineer, to make full use of cavities (like shoes) worthy of stuffing with socks or underwear. My misspent hours playing Tetris have helped me understand this well.

Next, think about when you will need different things and pack accordingly. . If you are using only a carry-on bag, have your Ziploc bag of liquids in an easy to retrieve location to save aggravation for yourself and the people behind you in the TSA line. If you will have an overnight on your way to the ultimate destination, put the things you need the first night on top. Nightshirt, toiletries, fresh socks for the morning should be your top layer. If you think you won’t need your heavy sweater until the second week away, put it at the bottom. If you leave cold Boston for sunny beaches, pack your coat in an outer pocket just before you check the bag. It can stay there until you return

And one more thing: Wrap or bag liquids to prevent unhappy surprises. My husband once carried a bottle of maple syrup in a suitcase without protection. His luggage smelled sweet and sticky for years afterwards!

People in Group 3 who just do not care about The Best Way to pack make us in Group 1 shake our heads. But what can we do – politely? They prefer to be left alone.

If you have additional “best practices” I have overlooked, please let me know. I am open to instruction. Happy packing, and even happier traveling!

Boundaries divide. Travel unites.

12 May 2016

About Travel Unites

A travel agent since 1994, I want people to get together for greater understanding across boundaries.
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2 Responses to How Do YOU Pack a Suitcase?

  1. I am definitely in group number 1, I am very particular about how I pack – I even have to help my friends because they are so terrible. I often opt for rolling my clothes though interestingly enough.

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