Since starting this website 7 years ago I have done a LOT of traveling for business. There have been times that I’ve travelled to 3 or more cities in one month! I try to use a carry-on whenever possible because not only does it save me baggage fees (checking a bag can set you back $25-$100 depending on the airline you’re flying with!) it’s also a big timesaver and eliminates the stress of having an airline lose my bag. Traveling is stressful enough without that! Another thing that makes traveling less stressful for me is this method I have come up with to pack my suitcase that allows me to fit everything I need in one carry on and have it arrive in the best possible condition for any events I have to attend.
Recently I had a business trip to San Francisco and decided to snap some picture while I was packing my bag to show you how I do it. I was packing for 3 days and since I usually plan on two outfits a day, I had a fair amount to fit in my bag!
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The first thing I did was pack small clothing items like underwear, nylons, camisoles, scarves, swimsuits, socks, slips, etc in the very bottom of the bag, in between those ridges that are made by the extendable metal handles of the bag.
If you’ve never thought to utilize this space before, I think you’ll be surprised at how many little things you can fit in there!
The next step is to start layering. This is where I used to do it all wrong. I’d heard a long time ago that rolling your clothes was the way to go, but after trying this layering technique, I am able to pack at least twice as much stuff and have it arrive virtually wrinkle-free!
The key is to pack your clothing items completely flat. Not only does this save space, but when you get to your destination there is no ironing needed. Every single thing I packed for my trip was material that wrinkles easily and I didn’t have to iron one thing when I got there.
As you can see from the following pictures, some items fit perfectly with just one fold (like my pencil skirts.)
Some items needed a few extra folds (like my blouses).
Make sure you button all your shirts and sweaters up before you pack them, that way they lay much nicer and flatter.
Then just keep layering! I actually ended up overpacking for this trip (like I always tend to do.) It’s easy to do when using this technique, so keep that in mind.
After you’re done layering your clothing, it’s time to layer your footwear. I packed some animal print flats, a pair of sandals, and some ankle boots. I easily could have fit a few more pair. Just think of the shoe layer as a simple jigsaw puzzle. It’s also a good idea to wrap each shoe in a plastic bag to keep them from getting your clothes dirty. You can re-use the plastic bags each time you travel.
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Extra tip: Wear the bulkier items you want to take on the plane. For example, I wanted to take my Frye knee-high boots and they would have taken up a lot of room in my bag, so I wore them with jeans while traveling.
Depending on what you will be doing at your travel destination, you also might want to add one or two small (preferably flat) handbags on top of the shoes. I actually chose not to and was kind of sorry when I got to my destination. Lesson learned. 🙂
Finally, I pack my makeup, skin & hair products in small zipped bags. Everything else I need I put in my second, smaller carry-on/large purse. Medications, jewelry, laptop, other electronics, cords, etc. It’s very handy to have all of those things close at hand.
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Give this tried-and-true packing method a try whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. I guarantee it will save you time, money and stress!
What are your tried-and-true packing/traveling tips?