Posted October 13, 2015

8 Suitcase Packing Tricks You Haven’t Tried Yet

Travel Tips

Every road warrior’s woe: having to cram everything you need into one teeny suitcase. And then mysteriously not being able to re-cram it back in again at the end of your trip. The next time you wage war with your suitcase zipper, consider this: Like you, we love a good shortcut, especially when it comes to making travel easier and more fun. So we snooped around to bring you packing tips that will help you save space, travel smarter and stay sane.


1. Put shoes in a shower cap.
No shoe bag? No problem. This quick and easy travel hack prevents your shoes’ dirt from flying around. PS: Always put shoes on the bottom of your bag when it’s standing upright – it’s better for weight distribution.

2. Stick a few dryer sheets in your suitcase.
This won’t save you any space, but will leave your air-stifled clothes smelling clean and fresh. Another bonus: They’ll eliminate static.

3. Use contact lens cases creatively.
Don’t wear contact lenses? You can still use this tip. The drugstore find (usually just $3) can save you so much space when you fill them with your beauty must-haves. Think shampoo, conditioner and even foundation. Squeeze in just enough to last you for your quick trip and leave the bulky bottles at home.

4. Line your suitcase circumference with belts.
Rolling belts into spirals takes up space and could actually press down on and wrinkle the clothes that surround them. Instead, line your suitcase with the belts.

5. Pack jewelry in eyeglass cases.
They’re sturdy and compact — the perfect combo for keeping necklaces or cuff links in check.

6. Snap pics for outfit inspiration.
If you’re going to be gone for a week or more and don’t have a lot of suitcase room, set aside a few key pieces (pants, shirts, sweaters, skirts) and experiment with mixing and matching. Once you settle on a week’s worth of looks, snap pictures of them so you have outfit inspiration at the ready every day.

7. Pack your wine in pool floaties.
Crazy but true. While it won’t save you space, it will help prevent breakage.

8. Buy a vacuum-packed suitcase
Okay, so this little wonder isn’t available for sale yet. But let’s fast forward to the future, when hopefully the Yanko Designs invention is a real thing. It comes with a pump that helps compress clothes and aims to reduce the volume of your luggage by 70 percent. Hey, a traveler can dream, right?

What are YOUR packing tips? Share them with us in the Comments!


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  1. Cheryl says:

    roll, roll,roll. You will double your parking space. Wear your sneakers on the plane. Always bring an empty plastic bottle.

  2. Tracy says:

    Absolutely roll! Expanding on #6, stick with one color scheme to avoid having to pack the brown AND black shoes. Layers are more versatile and pack better than jackets. #4 is genius and ziplock bags make a great, inexpensive substitute for #8 in a pinch. Wouldn’t pack a bike trip duffel without ’em but that’s a whole different kind of packing!

  3. Barbara says:

    Use your shoes to pack small things in. It’s valuable space.

  4. Lynette Young says:

    Brilliant ideas! I travel often and have stumbled on some of these myself and the shower cap idea is new to me!

  5. Lena Rios says:

    Great tips! I do all of them except number two. I will try it next time I pack my stuff! Best regards

  6. Steve says:

    On #3, don’t forget to put anything with liquids or gels into checked luggage (although checked luggage violates the whole “packing light” ethos) or into your quart bag. And even if you’re Global Entry or CLEAR, remember that TSA preCheck is not guaranteed–literally last night, a guy with Global Entry who normally gets preCheck didn’t, and the TSA agent had to explain to him that it is not guaranteed.

    Shower cap? Who carries a shower cap?

    Extra shoes? Find one pair of good walking shoes that can cover casual and “nicely dressed”. I like ECCO Seawalkers. I’ve walked day in them, and regularly wear them to theme parks (with long pants).

    The crushable bags that expel and keep out air are fabulous for anything that can take crushing. Way better than rolling. Keep a couple empty and flat in a suitcase lid pocket.

  7. Petunia says:

    Re the shower cap and shoes..I’ve done this and it’s great! You don’t use the shower cap protects the rest of the clothes from the grubby shoes. I use the thin plastic ones provided by hotels. Also use the contact lens holder idea for makeup. Prescription bottles are handy for toiletries too!

  8. RS says:

    Lay out everything you think you need and remove 1/3 of it. Advanced class–leave out 1/2. If you don’t pack it, you don’t have to pull it. With today’s miracle fabrics and a but of planning, there is no sacrifice of hygiene or style. You will feel so free!

  9. Amy J says:

    A few tips I always follow:
    1. Fill your shoes w/socks & undies – saves space plus prevent shoes from being crushed.
    2. Pack old underwear that you can just throw away after use to free up space.
    3. Pack your bulky items in vacuum packed bags.
    4. Roll your clothes to reduce wrinkling in suitcase.
    5. Always put liquids like shampoos & lotions in plastic bags because they tend to explode or leak from cabin pressure.
    6. Take photos of your purchases so you’ll remember what to declare at Custons when returning to the U.S.

  10. Sandi Beach says:

    No shower caps? Put one shoe into each plastic bag your newspaper carrier used to deliver your paper during inclement weather.

  11. Barbara Monahan says:

    Yes, Small things are great in shoes and after you use some of those things, use the shoes for dirty clothes (like underwear) coming home. That makes a little space for a treasure you buy along the way.

  12. Kendal says:

    I always pack a medium size trash bag for my dirty clothes. I hate when my clean clothes are mixed with dirty ones on the road!

  13. Marlo says:

    Fed ex your dirty laundry direct to the dry cleaners!