Organizing Your Suitcase
Making plans for any trip includes packing suitcases. Whether traveling by air or in the automobile, making the most of your available space is important. Of course there are lots of restrictions in air travel so it is best to check with your airlines before packing.
Our goal is to have as few suitcases as possible and make the most efficient use of the space you have. If traveling by air, having only one carry on suitcase that will fit in the overhead compartment and perhaps a small tote that fits under the seat is ideal. If traveling by car, it is still a good idea to carry as few bags as possible. While this may seem difficult if not impossible, it is surprising how little you can take and still manage all the activities you plan. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind.
Itemize the activities you will have each day you are gone and the type of clothing needed for each one. Try to overlap the articles of clothing for more than one purpose. Having a few basic items that you can interchange makes this process much easier. Sometimes adding new accessories to the same outfit can completely change its look and function. Some fabrics travel better than others. Knits and synthetic fabrics are better choices for preventing wrinkling.
Keeping the same color pallet for individual items makes interchanging them much easier. Black, navy, white or khaki are good for those basic pieces of clothing. It is possible to have 2 jackets/sweaters, 2 bottoms (skirts/pants) and 3 tops or shirts and have a different outfit for each day in a week. Try to limit shoes to 2 pairs.
Now match each possible ensemble and their accessories to the activities you have itemized. This planning step will reassure you that you are covered (no pun intended) for each day. If you see a need to purchase something to complete or better coordinate the outfits, make a list of those items. Don’t forget underwear, pajamas, bathing suit, exercise clothing, etc.
Add to the list any non-clothing items you will need to take. These include toiletries,
medicines, plastic bag for soiled clothing, camera, business/hobby supplies, etc.
Gather all the items you will be taking to one place for packing. As you place each in the suitcase, check it off your list. There are many ideas for how to pack, but the most efficient is to layer the clothing by type. Folding several layers together or rolling items will help to eliminate wrinkling. Small items can be stuffed in corners and in shoes.
Remember to keep some items available on or near your body. These include passports and/or other identification, some cash, a credit card, travel tickets or vouchers, cell phone, a day or two of your medications and your checklist. Should you get separated from your suitcase, you will have the necessary information and items you need to continue.
It is a good idea to make notes on your checklist during the trip or when you return. These serve as a reminder for planning future travel or in making suggestions to others who are considering a trip. It might also be helpful in creating a master travel list on the computer. Taking the time to plan ahead will make packing your suitcase a much easier process and may contribute to a much more enjoyable trip.