Smithsonian Journeys Dispatches

Packing Tips from TravelSmith

Our friends at TravelSmith have perfected the art of packing so you don't have to. Here are their top 10 tips for having wrinkle-free luggage, while making the most of a carry-on sized bag...

The primary goal in packing well is to get everything that you want to take to fit in your bag, and to avoid unpacking clothes that are a wrinkled mess.

  1. First, set aside clothes that you are going to wear on the plane (whenever possible, wear the heaviest and bulkiest). Open up your suitcase and set any compression straps outside the bag.

  2. Start by placing your heaviest items on the bottom of the bag (shoes, toiletries, travel alarm, hair dryer, travel books, etc.). Stuff socks or other small items into shoes.

  3. Using a pack-it-folder, pack woven shirts (those that are most likely to get wrinkled) and use them as a divider.

  4. Next, lay long items (pants, dresses, etc.) lengthwise across the bag, leaving the excess length hanging over the edge, and alternating directions.

  5. If you have a blazer fold it, face down, taking care to tuck the arms back while making sure not to fold through the shoulder padding of the jacket. Set blazer with shoulders in bag, and the excess length hanging over the edge.

  6. Roll any knit items (t-shirts, polos, pajamas, or other items least likely to wrinkle) on top of that. Stash undies or toiletries here to create a slightly bulky center, but without too much weight.

  7. Tuck in any remaining small items in any space that is left. Fill up nooks and crannies with belts, rolled ties, or accessory bags. Then fold the pants over the top.

  8. Continue wrapping layers in toward the center over the top of the bundle.

  9. Fold the remaining blazer bottom over that.

  10. Finally, use your suitcase's compression straps to gently cinch down contents, smoothing as you go to ensure there are no wrinkles. This will prevent your clothing from shifting.

Voila! Your bag is packed.

Bonus tip: If, despite your best efforts, you unpack your bag at your destination and discover some unsightly wrinkles, fret not - simply use the old travelers trick of turning on the hot steam in your shower and hang the garment, and the wrinkles should fall right out.

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