1. If you are flying, check the baggage fees and weight requirements BEFORE you pack. I always weigh my bag as I’m packing to stay within the usual 50 lb allowance.
2. Wear bulkier items on the plane so you have more room in your bag.
3. Put your name on both the inside and outside of your bag in case your bag is lost; also, a copy of your itinerary or destination contact information inside the bag will make it easier for an airline employee to find you.
4. Pack a day’s worth of clothes in your carry on. If your bags do become lost you won’t be stuck frantically trying to find something to wear.
5. Pack a swimsuit in your carry on, too. If you’re going on a cruise, you’ll be able to hit the pool when everybody else is waiting for their bags to be delivered to their cabins.
6. Pack chronologically. Place the items you will wear first on top (usually pajamas) and leave the last day outfits to the bottom of the bag.
7. Pack things inside of other things. Women’s shoes inside of men’s shoes, jewelry inside a pair of shoes, etc.
8. Get a small laundry bag. I happen to like the one at www.rojeti.com. I hang it in the closet and it’s a great way to keep your room picked up and to separate the clean and dirty clothes.
9. Use plastic baggies. Fill them with anything: jewelry, toiletries that could leak, and your undergarments. For the undergarments, I usually do one bag per traveler. Be sure to squeeze out the extra air. Then at the end of the trip you simply empty them straight into the laundry.
10. Do more with less. Can you get multiple wears out of a pair of pants or skirt paired with different blouses? Can you get away with one pair of shoes? I can’t – but let’s say two! Leave anything that only goes with one other item at home.
11. Hang your clothes up as soon as you can. Save yourself the trouble of ironing and hang your clothes up immediately. You can always turn the shower on hot and hang the clothes behind the bathroom door to steam away the wrinkles.
12. You will save space and avoid creases by packing pants 1st in the suitcase. Lay them across the length of the suitcase with the waist to one side and the legs hanging over the other side. Layer the next pair on top with the waist at the opposite side (on top of the previous pair’s legs). Once pants are in, continue packing clothes on top of them. Fold the legs in on top of your clothes at the end of the packing.
13. Use plastic dry cleaning bags between shirts/blouses and dresses to prevent wrinkling.
14. Always put plastic on top of your clothes before zipping the suitcase shut. It will protect your clothes from shoes that you may want to layer on top. And, if the suitcase gets unexpectedly wet while traveling, it will also keep your clothing dry.
15. Do NOT pack wrapped gifts. Pack the wrapping paper/gift bag/tissue paper and a baggie with the necessary tape/pen/scissors separately and then wrap the gift upon arrival. You will either be disappointed because the wrapping was damaged or that TSA opened the gift for inspection purposes.