7 Packing Hacks to Save Space in Your Suitcase
Amy (Lynch) Wilde
There's nothing quite like the panicked feeling you get when you're running late for the airport and realize you can't zip your (overstuffed) suitcase. To avoid this scenario (and leave room for shopping during your trip), consider these packing hacks to save space and still travel in style.
1. Try Packing or Compression Cubes
For frequent travelers, packing cubes can be a game-changer. While it may sound counterintuitive to save space by adding compartments to your suitcase, organization helps prevent overpacking. These cubes are typically sold in sets of three or four, requiring you to do some critical thinking as you prioritize what goes in them. What's more, your clothing is likely to stay wrinkle-free as it shifts less in transit.
Travel compression bags, on the other hand, you manually force out the air between your clothes. Similar to home storage compression bags that vacuum-seal your items into a container, this option lets you pack more; just remember to bring a small bottle of wrinkle releaser or prepare to do some ironing after you land.
2. Roll Your Clothes
Conventional wisdom dictates that each piece of clothing you pack should be folded in the same presentational style as a store display. Travel experts disagree. One alternative to save space to roll your clothing.
This method is as simple as it sounds: Tightly roll each piece of clothing into a cylinder, smoothing it as you go, and pack side-by-side in two or three snug layers, like a pack of hot dog buns. A perk of this method: You can easily identify everything at a glance the moment you open your bag.
3. Bundle It Up
Bundling your clothing requires more thought than rolling, but this approach can save even more space when done correctly. Before placing your items in a suitcase, you stack dresses and shirts vertically, top to bottom, with collars overlapping, alternating with pants stacked horizontally. As it builds, the pile begins to form a cross or asterisk. The heaviest pieces of clothing, like sweaters or coats, go on the bottom, and small items like undergarments and socks go on top.
Once the stack is complete, work your way back down, carefully bundling each garment around the one above it and creating one secure parcel that fits neatly into your suitcase. This approach is unconventional and best suited to single-destination travel, but this video tutorial — and a bit of practice — make it simpler than it sounds.
4. Pack Smart and Light
It's probably not necessary to pack a different outfit for each day of travel. To avoid overpacking, think of your wardrobe as a smart capsule with interchangeable, re-wearable pieces. Jeans can be worn several times between laundering, which means one pair can easily do the job on a three-day trip. Neutral-colored pieces can mix and match easily, extending one outfit into two or three by adding a sweater or switching from jeans to slacks.
Leave at home fussy materials like linen and rely more on wrinkle-resistant synthetics and blends that travel well, keeping you polished and pulled together on the go. Another pro tip: Wear your bulkiest pair of boots or athletic shoes on travel days, leaving more space in your suitcase.
5. Downsize Toiletries
Even if you're checking your bags, there's no need for full-sized shampoo, shower gel and the like. Invest in reusable travel containers and keep them filled with your daily essentials in a clear, TSA-friendly toiletry kit, saving you a step each time you travel (and giving you the freedom to carry on whenever you’d like). If your hotel stocks products you like in its bathrooms, you can rely on those and pack even less.
6. Minimize Accessories
Think small — and minimalist — for your travel accessories. Switch out bulky headphones for earbuds, opt for a collapsible water bottle and ditch a stuffed airplane pillow for one that inflates in seconds, saving cubic space in the process. Swapping one or two items for smaller versions can make the difference between too much and just right.
7. Use Accountability Tools
Whether you like to jot items down on the back of an envelope or prefer to use an app like PackPoint, you're more likely to make judicious packing decisions if you make a list first. Think about each day of your trip and consider what you'll wear in every situation.
If you're a habitual over-packer, save time (and baggage fees) by using your travel scale (or even the bathroom version) to weigh your suitcase before you leave for the airport. There's nothing like saving $50 to inspire you to leave that extra pair of shoes behind.
All content provided in this blog is supplied by Amy (Lynch) Wilde and is for informational purposes only. Barclays makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
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