Travel News

The best way to pack a suitcase

Travel expert Megan Singleton shares her tips and tricks for packing a suitcase.

There’s nothing more annoying then dragging a heavy suitcase half way around the world and not wearing everything at least once! For me, returning with unused clothing is a personal fail and I vow to try better next time. But as they say, failure is the best teacher, so this post is for you to learn from my failures and hopefully have a lighter holiday next time.
Here are some tips to help find the best way to pack a suitcase:
Rolling vs folding
I am a folder. My husband is a roller. He has even been known to repack my suitcase using his preferred method, and you know what? He fits more in. The only drawback is that the items are very tight and inflexible, which is fine for most things but that bottle of wine you’re taking in your luggage might need a little cushioning.
But I’m being churlish. He wins. I fold my floaty tops as they take up no room at all and stuff socks and scarves in any gaps.
How to pack a sunhat
I have travelled out of New Zealand wearing my sunhat on the plane and yes, people stare. The best way to pack a sunhat is to fill it with your smalls and place it as the first item, rim up, in your luggage adding your other clothes around it. That way it takes up zero room and won’t end up squashed.
How many shoes to take on holiday?
Shoes are the bulkiest things of all, so I am ruthless when it comes to which lucky pairs will be selected for a holiday. Of course it depends on the climate you’re going to and the activities you’ll get up to, but I generally pack three pairs and wear one. If my luggage is on the heavy side, I’ll wear my clompiest shoes (read: boots).
I pack a nice shoe which needs to be as confortable going out for dinner as it is visiting friends. I pack a trainer which doubles as a serious pair of shopping shoes as well as a runner/gym shoe if the urge should wantonly strike, and I pack a simple sandal or jandal. These can just slip into your luggage at the last minute so I barely count them as items actually.
What to pack in your carry-on
A highly under-rated yet incredibly handy bag is the rolling cabin bag. It is free to take this sized item – as well as a handbag or manbag – and can be checked into the main luggage if you should splurge on shopping (for an extra fee most likely).
I use mine for holding my laptop in the outside pocket, then inside I keep all my chargers, a cardigan or pashmina for the plane, slippers to get comfy on a long haul flight, a magazine, water bottle (to fill up airside or on board) and a spare pair of knickers in case my luggage goes missing!
Plane essentials
And my final tip that saves me time and fluster is that I prepare my handbag with everything I need before I board. When I get to the departure gate, I transfer my book, water bottle, slippers, headset and a pen (you need this for completing arrival docs) into my handbag then when I get to my seat I can just fling my cabin bag into the overhead locker, take my seat and unpack into the seat pocket in front of me while everyone else flaps around in the aisles. Too easy!
Megan Singleton, aka Blogger at Large, is hosting small, bespoke tours in 2017.
New Orleans and Houston in March 2017
See Steven Adams play for the OKC, stay in the French Quarter and a plantation home on the Mississippi, eat Texas BBQ and visit the Johnson Space Center.
Hong Kong and Macau in April 2017
Includes a three-day pass to the Hong Kong 7s, plenty of time for shopping and rooftop bars plus two nights in historic Macau.