The airlines are doing their best to press every penny out of you like you’re a tube of prescription toothpaste. That means a healthy dose of planning and preparation in the luggage you do carry with you is even more important than it was already.
Keep their hands out of your pocketbook by following these suitcase-packing travel tips that will allow as much clothing as possible.
The Golden Rule
Every airline has their own take on luggage fees and sizing requirements. Once you know which one you’ll be traveling with, make yourself aware of their particular rule set to avoid lengthening your time in the airport.
Make a List and Check It Twice
People have been using lists for hundreds of years to remember long sequences of items for a reason: It works. Plan out the number of days you’ll be traveling and assign outfits for each day.
For extended trips, it’s acceptable to plan a laundry day or two instead of breaking out a fresh suit for every battle. This also gives you the opportunity to consider the size of your intended outfits and substitute in alternatives that might not be so bulky.
Don’t forget to include undergarments and accessories like belts and jewelry.
Know to Roll ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em
For flimsy and thin clothing, rolling them in a tight bundle keeps them from occupying as much space as possible without causing creases. You can place these rolled items along the bottom of the suitcase to create a compact and generally uniform layer to place folded clothing on top of.
This is especially handy for undergarments, jeans, and practically anything made from cotton.
Waist Not, Want Not
Not all clothing is perfectly symmetrical or willing to bend itself to your will. Instead of letting the turgid collars or thick waistbands mess up your organization, arrange them so that they slip into the sides of the suitcase or the small canyons between the rolled rows beneath them.
This is one time that your pants will be doing the squeezing instead of you.
You’ve Got to Keep Them Separated
Folded clothing can press against each other in a tightly packed suitcase, causing a dreary trip to the ironing board. Start collecting a stockpile of old dry cleaning bags. Place them in between the layers of apparel, and they will slip and slide across each other instead of slamming firmly together.
Even a single bag over the clothing pile can keep the vulnerable outer layers safe from the stiff walls of the suitcase.
Buckle Up and Tie Down
Narrow and long clothing items like ties and belts should be placed around the columns of rows of clothing. Not only does this efficiently slip them in the puzzle, but it also keeps your clothing comfortably snug.
Make It Fast and Urgent
The final process of packing the suitcase should be focused on the worst-case scenario. A full outfit – from socks to scarf and everything in between – needs to be placed above every other layer. If you suddenly find yourself in need of a new outfit, you can swap into the fresh one without disturbing the rest of your careful packing.
Alternatives include nightwear so you can retire for the night immediately upon arrival without creating a mess for the morning.
With your suitcase now stuffed to the brim with your tactically inserted squad of specially selected outfits, you are ready to take on the skyways and byways to meet family and friends for Thanksgiving feasting and fun.