How to Pack a Bag or Suitcase Efficiently

Two Methods:Packing ChecklistsPacking a Bag or Suitcase Efficiently

Packing for a trip is easy when you plan ahead by following the tips given below. Remember to pack according to the weather, location, and activities planned. Be sure to include toiletries, medications and valuables such as jewelry in a separate traveling case which you can stow away in an overhead cabin.

Packing Checklists

Packing Checklist for Winter Weekend

Packing Checklist for Beach Trip

Packing Checklist for Hiking Trip

Packing a Bag or Suitcase Efficiently

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    Check out the weather at your destination(s) before you go. Is it going to rain? Pack a rain suit or something that can get wet and dry quickly. If it is going to be hot, pack shorts. Don't forget a bathing suit if it's warm or if there's a pool.
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    Plan each day in advance. This will help you decide how many pieces of clothing to take. Too much and you will regret carrying everything. Remember you can always buy a cheap t-shirt or a pair of shorts at your destination. You will regret it if you pack too much, but if you pack too little you can always compensate for it. Remember probably every town you have ever been in has had a laundromat.
    • Over-packing will also leave less room in your suitcase for purchasing gifts and souvenirs.
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    Put large or heavy clothing at the bottom. Always put heavier or larger items at the bottom of the suitcase. This will make it easier to find items in your suitcase.
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    Pack several lightweight layers. This will work well for both hot and cold weather, as you can add more if you're too cold, and take some off if you're too hot.
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    Choose between rolling and folding your clothing. If you need more space in your suitcase and aren't worried about the weight, roll your clothes (as this will take significantly less space than folding). If you do not need as much space and want to keep the weight down, fold your clothes.
    • Roll items as tightly as possible in order to achieve the space saving effect.
    • Rolling does not necessarily make your clothes more wrinkled, you simply need to be careful that when you roll clothes, you do not roll in any wrinkles. Roll the item as flat as possible. Folding the item along its natural seams first will help.
    • Elastic items will be easier to roll without introducing wrinkles.
    • If you aren't very good at rolling, avoid rolling items which wrinkle easily.
    • Rolled items will need to be packed tightly, which is why this method should only be used if space is at a premium. Rolled items not tightly packed will cause them to unroll and wrinkle.
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    Use the inside of your shoes as storage space. Stuff your socks inside your shoes if there is no other room for them (it will also keep the shoes shape). If you have any other small trinkets, you can put that in your shoes, too.
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    Use folded tee shirts to separate and organize sections of your suitcase. This will help distribute the contents.
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    Pack fragile items in the center of your case. This way, they are less likely to be broken. If possible, don't bring anything fragile.
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    Place dress shirts and other formal items on top. Put dress shirts on top so that you can remove them easily for hanging and ironing. This should also allow them to lie flatter.
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    Put shoes in a plastic bag. This is so that after you wear them, you can put them away without damaging any other items or making them dirty. You can use a grocery bag or a shower cap.
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    Use creases and gaps to place underwear. Fit the underwear and socks down the sides once the case is full. This will make sure that you don't fill up valuable space in the middle.


  • Roll outfits into one roll to conserve even more space.
  • If you are taking an electronic device, remember headphones - you don't want everyone in the car/plane to hear your games and music.
  • Make a checklist of the things you want so when you think you are done packing,you wont forget anything.
  • Bring a book or magazine to keep occupied. If you have a Nook, Kindle, iPod, or mP3 player, you may want to bring it along. If you don't, and you're a frequent flyer, you may want to consider getting one.
  • It is recommend getting a carry on suitcase so you do not have to worry about where your stuff is or if it will get there. A plus is that you will have to learn to pack light and your suitcase will take less of a beating.
  • Use rubber bands (you can even use loom bands or hair bands) to put around things you have rolled up.
  • If you're bringing an electronic, bring its case to keep it from breaking. If you don't have a case, try putting it in the center of some soft clothes.
  • Make a list of items needed first. Make sure that you have packed everything you need. Then double check to be sure you have packed everything.
  • In order to keep necklaces and bracelets from tangling, loop one end through a straw and clasp it on the other end.
  • Do not just throw your shoes in, carefully place them in your suitcase at the bottom.
  • If it's a long ride, remember to take a pillow, just in case you want to sleep.
  • Always use travel-size toiletries to save space. If you ride on a plane, they must be 3 ounce (85 g) or less.
  • Never carry mouthwash. Always buy a small amount at your destination. It is very sticky and messy if it spills.
  • Place toiletries in a toiletries bag to prevent leakage on your clothing. If you are flying put them in your quart size bag and then put them in your toiletries bag. Once you get to security you will know where it is. A plus if something leaks it will not get your toiletry bag dirty.
  • Bring a plastic bag so you can keep dirty stuff separate.
  • If you go on a school trip and can bring money, give it to a teacher to look after. If you put it in your suitcase where everyone can see it someone might steal it.
  • Carefully and securely add a tag and label.
  • Pack your clothes and shoes in outfits - do not throw in whatever; you will over pack this way.
  • Save time: roll clothes in outfits so all the pieces are together and ready to put on.
  • Make sure your electronics are charged before you leave. Don't forget to bring a charger!


  • If you are bringing any electronics or valuables, keep track of them. They are easily lost.
  • If you plan on making purchases at your destination, it is always a good idea to bring an extra suitcase or one that is bigger than what you need when you left. Or one that can expand. Folding up a lightweight duffel bag in the bottom of your suitcase can help if you come back with more stuff than you left with.
  • Many airlines have weight restrictions for carry on and checked bags. These weight restrictions are getting smaller and smaller. Pay attention to them.
  • If you are traveling by airplane (or undergoing any type of heavy security), make sure you don't bring any knives, guns, lighters, nail clippers, silverware, perishable items, letter openers, and large amounts of liquids, as they will be confiscated.

Things You'll Need

  • A suitable suitcase (preferable carry on size if you are flying)
  • Clothes
  • Money
  • Toiletries
  • Anything else you may want/need while on vacation
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Chapstick

Article Info

Categories: Travel Packing