Travel Planning And Advice

Efficiently packing a suitcase

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"Efficiently packing a suitcase"
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Planning a vacation can be hectic, knowing how to pack  a suitcase for maximum efficiency, will result in one less thing to worry about. If you're travelling by air, with different airline baggage allowance rules, having a well packed suitcase can not only save you time and reduce the risk of forgetting important items, but can also save you money on excess baggage fees.

To start packing a suitcase for maximum efficiency, you have to leave yourself plenty of time to do so - packing a suitcase at the last minute is a recipe for disaster and it's likely that key items, both of clothing, personal belongings and worse of all, travel documents could be missed out of your luggage. Packing for a holiday should at the very least be done a few days before travelling, this gives you enough time to get organised but also the time to remember any little items you may have forgotten.

Clothing selection

Packing a suitcase for maximum efficiency involves thinking ahead about what clothes you are likely to need; consider the climate you are going to and organize potential clothing for this trip, plus keep in mind a few extra items of clothing for warmer/cooler days. Make a list of the clothing you could take with you, based upon the length of your trip, night and day clothing and clothes which work well when mixed and matched with other items. Think of your suitcase as being a capsule wardrobe - careful planning can cut the number of items you need drastically saving you packing unnecessary items and baggage weight.

Extra items

Although everyone has different items they'd like to take with them on vacation, consider how likely you are to use them and leave behind anything that's not essential. Sometimes the most useful of items, such as cell phone chargers, are forgotten at home and five bathing suits are packed instead. Other important items to remember are a camera, and if going abroad, electricity conversion socket adapters.

Consider where you are staying - if it's a good hotel, items such as bath towels, shampoo and soap are likely to be provided, so there is no need to pack these items, unless you have a small travel sized kit designed to fit in carry-on hand luggage. Remember to take small travel-sized bottles of any extra toiletries you would like; mini plastic travel bottles can have products decanted into them for convenience.

For safety reasons, remember to check the rules and regulations regarding what is acceptable to carry in luggage prior to travel; liquids in hand luggage, for example, are not allowed in large amounts for safety reasons, so check the rules for the relevant countries before packing.

Packing for maximum efficiency

After deciding on clothes and extra items, it's time to pack. Utilise the space inside shoes to store socks, underwear and any smaller items which can be rolled up tightly. Toiletries and liquids should be placed inside plastic bags in case of leaks and stored at the bottom of the suitcase along with shoes, so they are nearest to the floor when the suitcase is stood upright. Roll items which you don't mind getting slightly wrinkled, such as t-shirts and jeans, into tight cylinders and place at the bottom and sides of the suitcase.

For suits and more delicate clothing, keep the top part of dress shirts flat and unfolded; the bottom of the shirt doesn't matter too much as this will be tucked into pants. Place pants along the length of the suitcase with the top and bottom sections overlapping the suitcase, then place the other more important items of clothing onto the pants. Fold the overlapping portion of pants back over the other important clothes to help protect them. This will minimise movement within in the suitcase and reduce wrinklies. After the main items are neatly packed, any additional socks, underwear and other small items can be fit into any gaps in your suitcase.

By thinking carefully beforehand about what you will actually be of use on holiday, it's easy to maximise the efficiency of a suitcase. With time to prepare and think about the contents, you are already well on your way to packing for maximum efficiency.

More about this author: Lindsay Grahaem

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