Personally, I'm a roller...it helps with the wrinkling issue and helps you fit more into your suitcase -- which is key when you're trying to get everything into your carry-on. That's my biggest tip: try to pack light enough that you don't have to check anything!
You can do that by keeping yourself to one pair of shoes (which you wear), one or maybe two pairs of pants, and only enough shirts to wear each of them twice. Traveling is NOT the time for vanity. (Obviously this might not work if you're going to a very hot climate or if you're going to be doing particularly strenous activity, but for normal sightseeing I don't usually have any issues wearing a shirt twice -- just remember the deoderant! ) I throw a plastic bag or two into my suitcase for dirty clothes.
"I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag
I use a rolling duffel and mix various packing methods, flat-folding shirts, pants and bermudas, rolling underwear and PJs, using zip lock bags for loose items and a spare trash bag for impossibly dirty laundry. Used shirts are folded for reuse if reasonably fresh. I can't stand to wear the same shoes for a full vacation, so I pack one pair of walking shoes and wear the other en route. I include one brown pair (not fancy, but passable for nicer restaurants). Socks, handkerchiefs, and underwear go into ample side and end pouches. I guess that's far more than a bare minimum packing list; but, it has worked well on our trips by car or plane.
I like to pack a foldable suitcase inside my regular suitcase. My husband and I can't stand having our dirty clothes mixed in with our clean clothes. The second suitcase works great, we just dump our dirty clothes into the 2nd bag and dont' have to worry about odor or remembering which layer is the dirty layer. It also gives you more room for souveniers.
I also bring along those plastic bags that newspapers come in, they work great for storing shoes and miscellaneous items like toiletry bottles.
I am the worst packer ever, however, my best friend is a "roller" so whenever I have to pack for a long trip I convince her to come over and "help me". The only problem with this is that on the way back I can never seem to fit as much stuff back into the suitcase... rolling is def. a spacing saving technique.
My tried and true trick for keeping special fabrics and/or items of clothing wrinkle free is to use the plastic from your dry cleaning (safe those plastic wraps) and then lay it out flat on the bed, place your item of clothing on top of the plastic (use two pieces if you must but the longer pieces of dry cleaning plastic, like the kind for coats and dresses always work) and begin to carefully fold your clothing so that each fold is wrapped, i.e. every bend has a piece of plastic in it. Then as you make consecutive bends - think this out and fold item as it should be and aim for flat - ensure that each fold has plastic in it, carefully place it in the part of your suitcase that has those "X" straps on one side (and usually a net) and put those pieces of close on THAT side of your luggage OR, if you don't have that, put the wrapped pieces on the bottom of your suitcase, and carefully lay them down. THIS WORKS!
I carried a LINEN dress all through Europe BY TRAIN by packing and unpacking it and it always looked good. I've also done it with other special items - silk, trousers, skirts etc and it never fails. Hence, I always keep dry cleaner's plastic on hand - ya never know, even though I haven't traveled in 5 years. Bit of a dry spell...........
While the idea is always to pack "practical" items that don't wrinkle, sometimes we need a few special pieces that are just not easy to pack. Use the dry cleaner's plastic when folding and you won't believe your eyes! PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOT TELLING YOU TO PUT THE ITEM INSIDE THE DRY CLEANING PLASTIC. AGAIN, I AM TELLING YOU TO SMOOTH IT OUT, LAY IT FLAT - BOTH SIDES, SMOOTH - AND THEN BEGIN FOLDING YOUR ITEM, ENSURING THAT EVERY FOLD HAS PLASTIC IN THE FOLD. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO LAY PLASTIC OVER THE ITEM TO DO THE FOLD, THEN DO SO. BUT ONE PIECE USUALLY WORKS FOR MOST ITEMS. TRY IT AND LET ME KNOW!!!!!!
Happy packing........................ick - I hate packing, no matter where I am going but some people like it
When packing to head to the beach consider pre-packing whatever you might need at the beach into a beachbag inside your backpack or suitcase. Especially if travelling with kids, this will prove a timesaver!
mesh packing cubes and packing envelopes (folders)! I try to take mostly travel knits, which are rolled up and secured in the mesh packing cube(s). Any item that could wrinkle (hubby's shirts and trousers)are folded and packed in a packing envelope. I love this system because everything (underwear and socks included) is either in a cube or envelope, so no loose things in the luggage. We usually just leave the cube items in them when we arrive at our destination--they're already organized and easy to find. We've never had wrinkle problems since using the envelopes.
I learned the rolling clothes technique this year. It was cold wherever the band was headed but I didn't want to be too hot while on the bus. I rolled and packed probably 3 extra sets of clothes into my messanger bag along with a little something to dol I was amazed at how much I fit into a tiny bag.
I purchased a makeup etc type organizer and filled it with travel sizes of makeup and toilerties of various kinds and it folds up nicely for placement in my suitcase.
I'll wear my sneakers for comfort as every vacation I've walked good distances not only at the destination but in the airports and train stations. I'll pack 1 pair of comfortable dressy flats for nights out to clubs and/or restaurants.
I try to make sure that casual items can be worn several times - unless they get very soiled in some way, a pair of pants can be worn twice. I make sure I have 2 nice outfits for going out in and that the dressy type shirts and pants can be worn in different combinations.
I check the weather prior to going to make it easier to pack but its a good idea to have a jacket and small umbrella with you at all times unless it is very hot.
Aren't ziplock bags the best? My favorite travel accessories are ziplock bags, dental floss (which works to mend a ripped backpack in a pinch) and duct tape. That and clean underwear and I'm ready to go!
After 4 years of nonstop travel, I've learned a few tricks to prevent overpacking...
-I make sure all my tops go with all my bottoms, so I can mix and match them. I also avoid prints and try to stick with solid colors...if I want to add some color, I add a scarf or some inexpensive local jewelry.
-I try to bring lightweight layers, so I can add or subtract them depending on the weather.
-I used L.L. Bean's Ultralight Packers (no, I don't work for them, but I love their stuff). I use one for tops, one for bottoms, another for undergarments, etc...that way I always know where everything is and it keeps them neatly folded (or rolled if that's your preference...I found no advantage to either in terms of wrinkles or space saved)
-when packing, put the largest and/or hard-sided things in first, then fit the smaller, squishier items around them.
-for women, one lightweight little black dress that you can dress up or down is all you need if you need to look a little fancy.
I love hearing how other people pack for long trips. The conventional wisdom is true: Take less clothes and more money! I've taken three-week trips to both Italy and South America and learned the secret is to take clothes that do double duty and, of course, resist wrinkles. I hate to shop, so I rely on companies like TravelSmith where I can get a few key pieces in one place. Right now I'm in love with TravelSmith's reversible skirts and these gorgeous white blouses that can double as jackets. I also like their CoolMax camis that are very lightweight. I took a few to Italy and was able to rinse them out in the sink and dry them overnight. Fabulous!
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