If you have any plans to travel over the next few months, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll be packing a suitcase or other travel case to take with you, unless you’re going to a naturist retreat or somesuch. Should your holiday plans include actually being clothed, then you can follow some of these steps to ensure that you pack everything you need.
Before you actually put anything into your suitcase, check what the weather’s going to be like at your destination of choice for the time of year that you’re heading over there, as this will give you a general idea about the clothes you should be packing. If you’re going to a tropical destination, naturally you’ll want to be prepared to dress for hot, sunny days and balmy nights, but you might also want to pack some warmer clothes for unexpected cooler, overcast days, or even rainy ones. Remember that wearing layers is optimal for any climate, as you can add more if you get cold, or take a layer or two off if you’re overheated.
Make a List
Try to plan ahead and sort out what you’ll be wearing for each day that you’re gone, and remember that the clothes you travel in count as one of the outfits. Choosing pieces that can mix and match is a smart idea, and be sure to add an extra pair or two of underwear/socks just in case.
Once you’ve sorted out exactly what you’re going to wear, write it all down on a sheet of paper (or type it up and print it out). As you pack each item, cross it off your list—this ensures that you won’t arrive at your hotel to discover that you’d forgotten to pack something vital.
*As a side note: always, always have an extra set of clothes in your carry-on luggage. Always. You never know when/if your luggage will be misplaced, and you don’t want to be stuck in your traveling clothes until the rest of it shows up. Keep your personal medication (along with a prescription letter from your doctor, if need be) in your carry-on as well, along with your toothbrush, passport/wallet, etc.
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Shoes and heavy/bulky items such as hairdryers and extra handbags should be placed at the bottom of your luggage. If it’s a piece you’ll be carrying, the heaviest bits should be right next to the hinge that attaches the lid, while if it’s a luggage piece on wheels, the bulky bits should be right at the bottom, above the wheels.
Your shoes, boots, and packed purses are ideal spots to carry smaller items within: tuck jewellery, socks, gloves, belts, extra glasses, etc. into these to maximize space. Once the heavy bits have been places where you like them, use the spaced in between them for small items like socks, underwear, rolled-up bathing suits, etc.
Fold ‘Em Up
Contrary to what some might believe, rolling your clothes to fit into your luggage is not a good idea. Items that are folded lay nice and flat, as opposed to all those rolled clothes wasting space. The first layer atop your shoes and such should be those of the thickest fabrics: jeans, khakis, woolen skirts, jackets, and sweaters. As you pack these, leave a small gap right in the center of the suitcase—this is where you’re going to nest your toiletry bag (mentioned next). If there are any spaces left around the edges, use those gaps for items like your hairbrush, an extra book, etc.
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Personal Care Products
Fragile items and personal care products should be placed in a padded fabric case, and kept in the center of your luggage so they’re buffered by all of your clothes. Small bottles of perfume or cologne should be kept in zip-able freezer bags just in case they leak: you don’t want to reek of your favourite scent the whole time you’re traveling. In fact, it’s smart to pack any creams inside those bags as well to be on the safe side. Remember that if you’re flying, any liquids or gels have to be packed into travel-sized containers and stored within a clear plastic bag in your checked luggage.
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The Upper Layer
The very top layer of your luggage should be comprised of lightweight, delicate fabrics that are prone to wrinkling, such as thin cotton, linen, satin, and silk. If you want to be super careful, items like silk shirts/blouses, etc. can even be wrapped in tissue paper to protect them from any damage, and then placed between more sturdy items of clothing for extra protection. This is a smart thing to do if you’re a bridesmaid heading to a location wedding and you have a delicate dress to wear, for example. This is also the place where you’d pack a suit, unless your luggage has a special front piece that unzips into a garment bag—if it does, use that instead.
Be sure to take a copy of the list you made with you so that you can cross things off again on your return trip: you don’t want to leave anything behind in your hotel room. When traveling, it’s best to leave your most valuable jewellery, watches, etc. at home, but if you do plan to take such items with you, either wear them, keep them in a travel belt on your own body, or store them in your hotel room safe.
SEE ALSO: 10 Travel Tips from a Seasoned Traveler
Featured photo credit: old shabby leather portable suitcase for travel trip on floor via Shutterstock
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