How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps – without crying or screaming

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Okay, here it is: a guide to how to pack a suitcase efficiently, without wanting to give up on life and burn all your clothes. Running a travel blog called Pack The Suitcases, this was always an inevitable post for me wasn’t it?

I’d like to think I’ve nailed the best way to pack a suitcase over many, many years of trips and I really don’t pack light at all so I have had to learn how to cram it all in. Nine times out of 10, I manage to do it without crying/screaming these days, which must mean I’ve learned something. I even got a full 2 weeks’ worth of every-temperature-covered clothing into my suitcase for Japan and nobody died.

So here are my packing tips and what to do…

How best to pack a suitcase: let’s go

Step 1

Lay all your stuff out all over the floor in an unholy mess.

Check you’ve got everything you need against your packing list. If you don’t write packing lists, we aren’t going to be friends.

If this is your suitcase for the hold you’re packing (so you’re taking a smaller bag for hand luggage), chuck anything that needs to go in hand luggage into a separate pile out of the way.

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Step 2

Open up the suitcase, ready for action.

Place your shoes around the outside of it to create a frame, with the soles pointing outwards so their abhorrent filth doesn’t contaminate your clothes.

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Step 3

Stuff the shoes with any essentials that will fit in: knickers, socks, tights, earplugs, travel adaptors, plasters, scale models of the Taj Mahal.

You might have to take the shoes out of the suitcase and then put them back in again during this process, rendering step 2 utterly pointless.

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Step 4

Now it’s time to add the clothing.

For almost everything, do not fold. Roll and keep on rolling. Yes, I’m afraid Fred Durst was right all along.

But do not fold or roll anything that creases easily. Wrap those idiots around a big pile of already-rolled clothes so they’re stretched as taught as possible to encourage them not to wrinkle up. Then get them on Ebay as soon as you get home and never buy anything that’s likely to crease ever again. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Step 5

Tuck anything breakable, like a travel mirror, safely into the midst of the clothing.

Remember it’s there so you don’t send it flying across the hotel room when you get there.

Yes, it’s the same photo as above because you can’t see the breakables hiding between the layers of rolled clothes. Magic, eh?

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Step 6

Stick awkward things like hair straighteners/dryers/tongs into gaps.

I tend to put these into my hand luggage because they’re precious and what if the airline loses them?! But sometimes, needs must and they have to go in the hold. Try to stay calm.

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Step 7

Lay some tote bags (or plastic bags if you’re a planet-destroying heathen) flat across the top.

A strong urge to share the beauty of this incredible tote bag is almost the entire reason I decided to write this blog post.

You can stuff your dirty washing in the totes during your trip, separating it from your clean stuff. They also act as a protective layer for any potential leaks. Genius, I know. And this leads me nicely onto step 9…

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Step 8

Put anything that might leak (shampoo, shower gel, bottles of gin) into waterproof washbags on top of everything else.

Better safe than sorry, right?

Realise you’re turning into your mother.

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Step 9

If what you’re packing here is a small suitcase to use as hand luggage, make sure you put anything you need to access on the flight on the top: contact lenses/glasses, your e-reader, a warm scarf to protect you from the arctic air con, etc.

If what you’re packing here is a suitcase to go in the hold, just make sure anything you need as soon as you get to your destination/hotel is on the top. For me, that’s usually shower stuff and whatever outfit I’m changing into to get that grubby plane feeling off me.

Obviously, ignore the photo below and don’t pack your passport in the suitcase because you’ll need it in your pocket won’t you. It just looked more aesthetically pleasing for the picture and we all know that’s more important than facts.

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

Step 10

All done.

Time to zip that bitch up.

Weigh it using some wildly inaccurate hand-held device and pray to the packing gods that you’re within your airline’s harsh limit.

How to pack a suitcase in 10 steps | PACK THE SUITCASES

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26 Comments

  1. “Realize you’re turning into your mother.” Best line of the post! :)) laughing quietly at my desk :)) Good tips.. problem is never packing to go somewhere… is packing to return. Nothing ever fits and you wonder what the hell happened and how did you manage to get them in the first place!

  2. The trick with the shoes is good (even if some people would tell you “blabla smell blabla health”), plus it avoids your shoes being all crushed at the end of your trip!! I mostly travel with a backpack, which makes it even different to pack it!

  3. Haha! I’m surprised you managed to ~pack~ some humor into an otherwise boring topic! I really liked your Alpaca bag, as well as the suggestion to bring one! I can never tell which is dirty or which is clean it seems like!

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