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The 5 Best Tips for Packing Your Suitcase Without Losing Your Mind

About to board a flight.
A person in suit and dress pants hauling luggage.

As soon as you book your next trip, you’re likely going to start dreading the process of packing. Although it is the least excitable part of any travel excursion, packing doesn’t have to be a chore. Packing smartly entails keeping your clothes wrinkle-free and organizing your travel essentials without stuffing your luggage to the brim.

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Hence, it makes a huge difference between being burdened with heavy luggage (or paying a hefty baggage fee) and hauling a well-organized bag that will not cause you unneeded stress during the trip. Ahead are our five best tips for packing your suitcase efficiently for your upcoming adventure, be it a three-day or month-long vacation to a cold-weather destination.

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Roll It

Rolled clothes on a wooden table.

Sounds crazy, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Rolling your pants and shirts can save a substantial amount of space in your suitcase. Furthermore, it’s an effective way to make sure that your clothing doesn’t get (too) wrinkly when it’s squeezed into a tight compartment. Begin by folding the clothing item vertically to reduce its width, then roll it from the bottom up. Once it’s compact, place it into the suitcase, and voila!

Don’t Say No to Backpacks

A man rummaging through his backpack in a room.

A travel backpack may not be the most fashionable item to have on you while you’re on a trip, but it can be one of the most helpful ones as you look to pack efficiently. “My carry-on is a sturdy backpack (made to carry a computer),” says Bitsy Kelly, world traveler and vice president of Corporate Communications for Outrigger Hotel & Resorts. “This leaves my hands free to carry tickets/jackets/coffee when going through airports. It can also substitute as my ‘personal’ item, thus allowing me to carry a larger carry-on bag when needed.”

Pack Disposable Items

Assorted bottles of toiletries in a bathroom.

Think of items that you can possibly throw away once you’re finished using them — bottles of shampoo, soap, or lotion. “This is a great weight saver on the way back if you pick up things on your trip,” says Jeremy Clement, founder of, an online travel marketplace.

Use Your Shoes Wisely

A luggage with iPad and clothes placed in between a briefcase, wallet, watch, and pair of shoes.

When you pack your shoes into your suitcase, don’t just forget about them — use them to your advantage. Place smaller items into your shoes, such as jewelry and charging cables, to save space in your suitcase. Fill them with socks and other travel accessories that would otherwise need another spot in your bag.

Make a List

A man using a checklist to prepare for a trip.

It sounds like a tedious task (and one that you might not want to do), but a list can end up saving you an ample amount of space at the end of the day. By making a list, you’ll have everything you need laid out in front of you. This can reduce the odds of over-packing and make sure that you don’t forget key items like undergarments. As an added bonus, list-making can limit the amount of stress around your trip as a whole.

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