As you start to get ready for your trip, you will inevitably get that pit in your stomach about what to pack or how to pack everything you want to take with you. How will it all fit into your suitcase? Will I have enough to wear? What if I don’t have a dress shirt? It can be stressful, especially without a plan.
We talked with Rashmi Hudson about how to perfectly pack your luggage. Rashmi created and launched Alltimate Luggage after she retired to keep her mind active and keep out of the kids’ hair! She had a successful 22-year career with a Fortune 200 company as a marketing executive. She traveled a lot during her career, so she knows a thing or two about packing a suitcase.
Rashmi says this is where the adage, “a stitch in time saves nine” comes into play. Her approach to packing is methodical. She collects her items in advance based on her destination and the availability of items in case she forgets something.
She told us seven things she does every time she packs, so you can pack perfectly every time.
1. Pick Out Two Pairs Of Shoes
Decide what outfits you’re packing based on your shoes. This may seem backward compared to how you usually decide what to wear, but this will save you space and money. You do not need to take a different pair for every outfit. Rashmi says to pick out one pair of dress shoes and one pair of casual shoes. She then matches clothes and jewelry with them. Remember, she recommends only taking two pairs of earrings max and nothing valuable.
2. Lay It All Out There
Lay out everything you’re taking with you on your bed, with your two pairs of shoes on the floor nearby. This way, Rashmi says you can visualize everything that matches so you can get the most combinations from all of the items. Rashmi also makes sure she has items like belts that are too expensive to replace. Then, add undergarments and necessary toiletries you cannot get at your destination.
3. Don’t Pack It, Wear It
As you’re looking at all of the clothing items laying on your bed, pull out the bulkiest items to wear on the day of travel. Rashmi says these are things like firm tennis shoes versus casual shoes or boots versus shoes of any kind. Think sweaters versus t-shirts. If you wear them on the plane instead of packing them, they take up less room and your bag weighs less.
4. Scent- And Spill-Proof Your Travel Bag
If Rashmi is carrying anything liquid, she makes sure to put it in a zip lock bag and suck out as much air as possible. She also puts shoes in a shoe bag or small grocery plastic bag so their smell doesn’t get into her clothing. Even new leather has a smell, and then your entire suitcase does, too!
5. Keep It Wrinkle-Free
You’ll likely take something dressy for a fancy dinner out at a nice restaurant. Isn’t it always the case that these are usually the items that tend to wrinkle the easiest? Rashmi puts these items, which can include jackets, dresses, and slacks, in a suit carrier or garment bag. Hers has two side zippers so she can lay items flat for wrinkle-free travel. This may cost you a little more, but says it’s worth the investment to save time and money later on ironing or dry cleaning.
6. Know What Goes Where
Rashmi says to pack toiletries, shoes, and other heavy items in the bottom of your suitcase. There are two reasons she recommends this. One, when you pull or carry your luggage, these heavy items don’t mush all your clothes at the bottom. Two, it feels lighter on your shoulder.
7. Roll It Up
Rashmi likes to roll her soft items like T-shirts, underwear, and sports/leisure wear. She then plays a game of Tetris with larger items on the bottom of the suitcase. She suggests laying out your outerwear items parallel to the bottom of your suitcase. Again, this is so gravity doesn’t add wrinkles. Lastly, she uses underwear as space fillers where needed.
8. Know Your Weight Limit
We like to save money when and where we can. Rashmi says if you’re checking your suitcase, check those domestic airline weight requirements! Weigh your bag before you pack it so you know how much you can take with you. Lastly, she says to leave room in your carry-on, just in case. “For overseas and long trips, my husband just bought a polycarbonate check-in suitcase. It weighs significantly more than our soft-sided luggage so when we went to France in May, we had to empty some items into my carry-on. We had to shift more items again on a domestic flight from Marseille to Paris because of lower allowance,” Rashmi said.
With a little planning ahead and some organization, you can take the stress out of packing.
Want more tips to help you pack for your next trip? Check out: