Sometimes, I think that the deepest circle of hell would simply be a room where you are stuck having to pack your suitcase over and over again. Re-thinking what to bring and what to leave behind, and then realizing you forgot one thing or another, or not having it all fit, etc. I know that in my previous introduction I admitted that I love packing– but that doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to admit that in lieu of that fact, I must also have some masochistic tendencies.
So here it is! HOW TO PACK. Yes, the actual execution of the deed.
How to Pack:
This is section deserves an entire extended post for itself, so I’ll try to be as brief and concise as possible. I’m sure that I’ll continue to expand on this topic as the need arises, but here are the bullet points:
1. Pack larger and bulkier items first.
This includes things that cannot be folded, rolled, or molded in any way to jam into a crevice or lay flat. Anything that is in a box, case, etc. should be added first in order to pack other items that are either smaller or more malleable around it.
Examples are bottles, shoes, boxes, etc. It’s easy to jam in a jacket or extra pair of socks at the end of your packing marathon, but good luck trying to slip in that clunky hair dryer.*
*Side note: ask me about hair dryers sometime… I have my share of personal horror stories from toting them abroad that I assure would provide some insight if you’re considering it.
2. Space Bags. Look them up.
When you need to pack the puffy jacket, raincoat, 6 sweaters—and don’t forget your scarves— for the potentially eminent cold weather that may you encounter at your location, Space Bags are your best friend. They’ve allowed me to pack almost as twice as much clothing for the same space in a suitcase. They also protect clothing from any liquid you may have packed and could potentially spill during your journey.
On a related note, Ziploc bags are also awesome. If you’re packing any liquid, powder, etc. in your check-in luggage, put them it in plastic Ziploc bags. If anything spills or explodes, it won’t ruin the other contents in your luggage.
3. Learn to fold and roll.
A 10-day trip to the Bahamas may allow you the freedom to toss your clothes into a carry-on, but packing to move abroad for a year or more doesn’t grant you that luxury. Folding and rolling will not only save space in your suitcase, but also the headache of a messy unpacking adventure when you finally arrive to your destination. I’ve tried to organize a closet jetlagged; it’s not fun. That would definitely be the sequel to that hell-circle of perpetual packing.
4. Save smaller items to stuff in last.
Things such as socks, underwear, tights, and tanktops, etc. can be stuck into the tiny crevices that exist in the edges of your suitcase and spaces between any clothing that you’ve zipped up in a space bag. I know that isn’t necessarily to most organized way to pack them, but in the end, when I re-packed my suitcase for the seventh time, saving the tights and socks to stuff into little pockets of emptiness was better for trying to fit everything inside.
As promised, here are some resources I found helpful:
- EagleCreek has a very nifty info-graphic on their travel blogging section.
- DesignMom’s article details her move abroad is great at addressing the fact to pack depends on your personal situation.
- Apartment Therapy’s article tries help you not forget some vitals things that she did. (I’m also victim to a few.)
- Well-Organized Woman is exactly that. And she provides a very extended and detailed checklist.
- Seventeenth & Irving’s article “How to Pack 2 Weeks in a Carry On” is fantastically helpful. I’ve referred to it every time I’ve prepped and packed for a trip.