What is the Smartest Way to Pack a Suitcase?

Are you planning a trip and not sure how to pack your suitcase effectively? Packing is a critical part of travel preparation, and the smartest way to pack a suitcase will depend on the type of trip you’re taking and the items you’ll need. As a travel expert with over 40 years of experience, I’m here to provide practical advice and tips to help you make the most out of your travels.

Choose the Right Suitcase

Choosing the right suitcase is key to making the most efficient use of your packing space. If you know you’ll be carrying a lot of items, opt for a larger suitcase with plenty of compartments so you can easily organize your belongings. For shorter trips, a smaller bag with fewer compartments is ideal, as it will force you to prioritize the items you need and pack more efficiently.

Pack Clothes Strategically

When packing clothes, the key is to minimize wrinkles and maximize space. Rolling your clothes can help you fit several items into one compartment, and packing lightweight items such as scarves and socks inside your shoes can help you save even more space.

If you’re taking multiple outfits, lay each one out in full before packing it into your suitcase. This will help you plan for any mix-and-match items and make sure you’re not bringing too many items.

Organize Items in Zones

Grouping items into different “zones” can help you stay organized while packing. I recommend packing items based on frequency of use—for example, putting items you’ll need right away, such as your phone charger and passport, in an easily accessible compartment.

If you’re traveling with someone else, you can also pack your items separately and then combine them into one suitcase. This way, you can both easily access the items you need without having to rummage through the entire suitcase.

FAQs About Packing

Do I need to bring a carry-on bag?

Bringing a carry-on is a great way to ensure you have all the items you need for your trip, including any items you may need for in-flight comfort. I recommend bringing a carry-on that is small enough to fit under your seat, so you don’t have to worry about checking in your bag and waiting for it at baggage claim.

What items should I pack in my carry-on?

Your carry-on should include items that you need right away, such as medication, your passport, and any items you may need for comfort during your flight. I also recommend bringing a small snack in case you get hungry during the flight.

Is there a way to make packing easier?

One of the best tips I can give is to make a packing list before you start packing. This will help you stay organized and make sure you don’t forget any essential items. You can also reference your list when you’re unpacking to make sure you have all the items you need.

“Frequent travelers can save time and stress by getting organized and planning ahead when packing for a trip,” says Laura McCamy, travel expert and founder of Travel Smartly. “Making a list of items you need to bring and separating items into different zones is a great way to ensure you have everything you need without overpacking.”

Take Action Now

Making the most out of your travels starts with smart packing. Now that you know the smartest way to pack a suitcase, why not start planning your next adventure? Sign up for our newsletter and receive our free printable packing checklist to help you stay organized and get the most out of your travels.

Happy travels!


McCamy, Laura. “Tips On Packing For A Trip”. Laura McCamy, September 1, 2015.

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