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The Art of Packing a Perfect Suitcase

You've probably packed for trips many times in your life, but you still may not have mastered the art. Perhaps you arrive at your hotel room, open up your suitcase & find that your toiletries exploded & have stained your clothes. Alternatively, you could realize midway through your luxury vacation that you over-packed – or worse, you forgot to bring an essential item.

All of these situations can be avoided with a little strategizing ahead of time. Before your next trip, consider these tactics to ensure you pack smart:

Planning & prioritizing What you're doing on your vacation will dictate what you should bring. So before you start packing, think about any particular activities that will demand certain attire. For example, if you plan to go hiking in Costa Rica, you'll need a pair of practical shoes that are supportive & comfortable. However, if you plan to dine at the on-site restaurant in your 5 star Caribbean resort, you'll need to include a formal ensemble & some fancy footwear. Always start with the must-haves. Once those have been packed, you can start incorporating fun accessories or that extra pair of sandals.

Whether you're jetting off to Mexico or Hawaii, light layers are key, since you never know if the temperature might drop at night. While dining ocean-side, you'll likely be reaching for a cardigan to drape around your shoulders when there's a chill in the air.

Organizing There is a method to packing beyond just placing items in your suitcase. NBC Today recommended putting larger & heaver items at the bottom so they don't crush your lightweight, delicate pieces. For example, a clunky pair of wedges should definitely go underneath a flowy silk blouse. Pack smaller things like jewelry satchels, underwear & cosmetics all in one place toward the top of the suitcase so you can easily find them. Another tip from NBC Today is to make sure any liquids are in a zip-top bag & easy to access to avoid any hold-ups at a security checkpoint.

Preserving If you're packing garments that are prone to wrinkling, like a light cotton sundress or a pair of linen shorts, it's better to roll them up than fold them. Not only will you prevent your clothes from looking rumpled, but you'll also save space in your luggage. Mimi Lombardo, Travel + Leisure's fashion director, advised folding an item lengthwise & coiling it into a tight roll before placing it in your suitcase. This technique works for everything from t-shirts to capris & even belts. She noted that by placing pieces with more weight closer to the wheels, you can make the suitcase easier to roll.

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