How to Pack Efficiently for Travel

In this installment of our Smile Series: Become a Better Traveler, we answer the tough questions: fold or roll? Hard or soft case? These tips will help you make the most of your baggage allowance.

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Being a savvy traveler begins at home. These tips can help you more efficiently pack your bags so you can make the most of your luggage space and breeze through airport security.

Do the ranger roll. It’s been proven time and time again — rolling your clothes really is the superior option when it comes to making full use of luggage space. Lay your T-shirt on a flat surface, and fold in 4 inches from the bottom. Fold in each side of the T-shirt and keep a 6-inch width. Then tightly roll from the collar down till you can pull the 4-inch fold over to make a compact roll. Bonus: This technique reduces wrinkling in clothes.

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Fill in the gaps. You’ll find myriad packing tutorials online, but a handy tip not often mentioned is to roll smaller items like underwear, socks or tops to fit between the handlebar grooves inside your suitcase. That will make for a flat base and maximizes your luggage space.

Stack ‘em up. Packing cubes are game changers that will help you organize your items by category and make shifting items around a lot easier. It’s also a neater alternative to storing dirty clothes throughout your trip.

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Keep essentials in your carry-on. In your backpack or tote, layer items in order of weight and importance — heaviest and least-needed items like laptop chargers at the bottom, and your passport and toiletry bag on top. You’ll find it easier to access these essentials when passing through security screening too. Tip: Always pack portable chargers in your carry-on instead of checking them in.

Be transparent. A clear toiletry bag is vital to smooth security screening, but it also means you’ll find what you need in an instant — no more rummaging for your lip balm in a darkened plane. And instead of a medley of oddly shaped bottles, opt for a consistently sized, clear bottle system for your liquids.

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Dress in layers. Save your bulkiest items to wear on the plane instead of adding to your baggage allowance. A jacket and scarf make for a comfy blanket or even pillow when rolled up. Tip: Forgo laced shoes for easy removal when going through security.

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Lighten up. There are plenty of arguments for either hard or soft cases. In general: Hardcase luggage is favoured for their durability and waterproof nature, but need to be filled substantially to avoid cracking during transit. Soft cases are more forgiving (read: expandable) when it comes to storage space and offer extra outer pockets, but retain odor and stains easily. Our pick is a lightweight, polycarbonate hard case with four wheels.

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Two is better than one. Don’t just load up one monster-sized suitcase for your trip (keep that checked baggage to below 32kg!); split the weight with a carry-on in which you can pack essentials such as an extra change of clothes (in case of lost baggage), and bulky but lightweight items like jackets. The extra space for all your souvenirs will be much appreciated toward the end of your trip too! Keep in mind measurement restrictions for carry-ons.

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Weigh in. To avoid excess baggage fees, pack a handheld scale for the road. This way, you’ll know just how much allowance you can spare for those last-minute buys.

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Written by

Hannah Ooi

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