How to pack a suitcase efficiently

How to pack a suitcase efficiently

How to pack a suitcase for airline travel

Packing a suitcase might seem difficult, especially if you are not used to it.

Starting with a standard check baggage, with two compartments, see below proven suitcase packing tips, for this luggage that is my house for more than 4 years, and takes on average 4 international flights per week with me.

International travel packing checklist

The starting point must be the checklist. Make sure you have everything you need, and do not take unnecessary things.

If you are going to a place where clothes are made, do you really need that many shirts ? You can buy new ones at the corner for a few cents.

My travel essentials checklists are the following, for business and for holiday - and the extra travel stuff list, depending on remaining space and weight allowance, the nice to have but non essential.

Also take in consideration that one set of clothes included in the list will be used to travel, and therefore not loaded in the luggage but worn during the trip.

Business trip packing list

  • Two suits, one to wear, and one to leave at the dry cleaning meanwhile,

  • 5 business shirts, one per business day - if staying long term at the same location, another set of 5 shirts that will be in rotation at the dry cleaning,

  • 4 ties, given that Friday is either work at home of casual Friday,

  • A week worth of underwear, meaning 7 pairs of boxer, 7 pairs of business socks, and 2 pairs of leisure socks,

  • Two pairs of business shoes, one pair of leisure shoes, and one pair of sport shoes,

  • One swimsuit, always handy,

  • One pair of leisure pants, jeans for example,

  • One sweater,

  • One belt for leisure and one belt for business - I do tend to forget one of them in the hotel rooms,

  • One pair of sport shorts and one t-shirt,

  • A fully loaded toiletry bag with hanger,

  • An emergency toiletry bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, comb), to keep in hand luggage, very useful during layovers or in case of delayed luggage,

  • A sports bag,

  • A skipping rope, to be able to exercise even without gym.

Holiday packing list

  • One suit, in case of unexpected embassador dinner or date,

  • One suit jacket, used to travel, more convenient than only shorts and shirt,

  • 4 business shirts, to be worn either with the suit or at party,

  • 5 t-shirts, mostly useful to protect wine bottles in the luggage, can easily be replaced wherever for cheap,

  • One pair of business shoes, one pair of casual shoes, one pair of sport shoes, one pair of relaxing shoes, one pair of flip flops,

  • Two swimsuits,

  • One pair of pants, with its associated belt,

  • One sweater,

  • Two pair of beach shorts,

  • One pair of casual shorts,

  • 4 pairs of business socks,

  • 4 pairs of leisure socks,

  • A fully loaded toiletry bag with hanger,

  • An emergency toiletry bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, comb), to keep in hand luggage, very useful during layovers or in case of delayed luggage,

  • A sports bag,

  • A beach bag,

  • A skipping rope, to be able to exercise even without gym.

Extra travel stuff list

  • Bottles of wine, up to 4 of them,

  • Locally needed stuff, like sunblock or insect repellant, but they can always be bought in airports on the way,

  • Specific stuff, like sports gear and GoPro accessories, for rafting or other activities,

  • Chocolate - I always carry around chocolates, bought around, or taken from the hotel welcome gifts. Always nice to have to give around,

  • Shoe deodorant, always handy, but can also be bought anywhere,

  • A box of contact lenses, enough for the whole trip duration,

  • A few books,

  • A beach towel, which helps in many situation, and not only to dry hair after a refreshing Caribbean sea swim.

How to pack a suit in a suitcase

The starting point of packing my luggage always start with the suits. Why ? Because the best way to pack them, is to use a suit bag, usually offered with the suit when buying it.

As soon as my suits are back from retouching, I exchange the hangers, which are usually massive, for hangers from dry cleaning, which are both lightweight and thin.

Properly laid down in the protective case at the bottom of the luggage, and wrapping around other stuff, the suits should arrive perfectly fine.

How to pack shirts without wrinkling

Depending on the luggage and what is effectively packed, it can be a good idea to also put the shirts in the suit case.

They might arrive a little wrinkled, but it is usually not a big issue, and there is of course always an iron at the hotels.

However, the best way to pack shirts without wrinking, is to roll them. There are different techniques around, my favorite one is the below one, see for yourself.

How to roll a dress shirt for packing

How to properly pack a suitcase

The suits case being the basis of the packing, next step is to put the sports bag with sports related equipment inside, on the other side of the luggage.

I start by putting the empty bag in the suitcase, fully opened.

Then, I start by adding the flip flops at the bottom, the sports shoes on top, the sport socks inside one of the shoe, and the skipping rope, sport shorts and tshirt on top.

The sports bag can then be closed, taking up about a fourth of the whole luggage space.

Packing wine in suitcase

Next step is to secure the wine bottles.

Starting by laying them flat on the suit case, and making sure there is space to insert other clothes between them.

Then, depending on the remaining clothes to include in the luggage, the best is to wrap each bottle in a shirt or t-shirt.

Add all remaining underwear and socks below and between bottles, and a few on the side, to ensure that any shock occuring to the luggage will be neutralized by the clothes.

At the same time, it will help filling luggage with clothes.

Will wine explode on a plane ? If you have followed these short tricks, it will most likely not, even if it is champagne. However, avoid taking cheap bottles, as they are usually more fragile as made of cheaper and weaker glass.

How to fold a shirt for packing

Regardless on how the shirts are used, to protect other fragile articles from potential shocks, or simply to store them properly, it is a good idea to fold the shirts properly.

This will also minimize wrinkles on arrival, and avoid the need to iron them again.

See this awesome guide to know how to fold them in 2 seconds with a very simple trick, wrinkle free, and ready to save your bottles of wine.

How to fold a shirt in 2 seconds

How to pack a suitcase to maximize space

Now, it is time to insert the remaining articles in the luggage, using up remaining space.

What I usually do, is put the shoes, toiletry bag and other potentially fragile articles, like creams, in the same compartment as the sport bag.

On the other compartment, filling up empty space with sweater, chocolate, and other soft or non essential material.

That is it ! The luggage compartments can now be properly closed, and there is still an extra space between the two compartments, used for example to store the winter jacket when traveling from a cold to a warm place, or to quickly store things bought in the duty free after landing, and avoid carrying them by hand.

Most efficient way to pack a suitcase

Finally the last step, close the suitcase, and lock it with the built it lock, or using a personal one !

Happy travels, hoping these travel packing hacks will have helped you packing more efficiently, but, more importantly, will help ensure that no travel essentials have been forgotten.

Hand wash clothes in hotel

Strasbourg, European Capital

Horses passing next to the cathedral
Horses passing next to the cathedral
Christmas market streets
Christmas market streets

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