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Packing a suitcase can be an art form.
If done well, you will arrive, with all outfits intact, little creasing, and therefore a lot less effort in preparing to go out and about in your new surroundings.
It is do-able, I promise!
So are you packing for...
In essence, it doesn't really matter which you are going for, as some of these basic strategies work in all instances.
Other factors to consider are around where you are staying...
...then there is the physical packing, and how to go about it!
Remember how many people you need to pack for...
Reading reports from fellow visitors around the same time of year is the best practice. You don't want to take shorts, if you are visiting in the "rainy" season.
You unlikely do not care what the weather is doing. Although I can state, having done this, a collapsable umbrella should be considered an essential!
However, there are other things to consider...
While suit bags do literally what they say. They aren't necessarily the best for your dress down clothes.
Perhaps you're off to the theatre? Going on a Bachelor / Bachelorette Party? Attending a Wedding? Or your just being treated for a romantic weekend away.
Whatever your reason for attending, make sure you have the essentials for your trip.
You know what sort of activities you are undertaking. You also need to research the weather, and the local climate conditions, so that you can pack appropriately.
Firstly, your destination...
You are looking for information or availability of the following...
Finding this information out, will allow you to know what to expect.
It will also tell you if there is anything in addition that you need to pack to take with you.
You have probably read the information, when you booked the hotel. You may even have nodded in acknowledgment. Now you need to know the nitty gritty, so you do not arrive unprepared.
I have frequently raised a silent eyebrow for those people who spend hours ironing everything before packing a suitcase, with their precious ironed items into it.
The thing is your clothes are going to get creased.
Think about how your pack your clothes, and the journey they take. Imagine the case was clear, you would see the following...
All the time your ironed clothes are going through this cycle, and they've not necessarily left the house!
So creases are always going to happen.
My best tip... Roll your clothes!
This has been the only way I have successfully found to transport my clothes with limited creases.
If there are ironing facilities at the hotel or complex that you are staying at, have a look at them. For must need items you may well find that you can afford to get the odd shirt or dress pressured by a local professional. Contact the Concierge for more details!
If there is an iron in the room, you could well leave it to chance to iron your items as you need them.
Especially good, if you have taken far more clothes than you actually need (see our Travel Packing List).
Finally the last resort would be to take a travel iron with you. Remember to take an adapter plug if required.
I would suggest trying the iron at home first, so that you are familiar with it and you can make sure it works!
For you gents out there, you ought to consider this a must if you are taking suit trousers.
It is always wise to see if there is a trouser press in the room, or facilities for trousers to be pressed.
Especially important for the business personnel who needs that crisp sharp edge to ensure that the right first impression is given.
If there is no trouser press you may well need to consider those points in the Ironing Facilities or contacting the Concierge for assistance.
It really doesn't matter if you are at your destination, for 1 night or for 3 weeks.
Unpack your clothes!
The sooner, the better. Your clothes will thank you for this action!
Hang those garments that you can in the wardrobe. This will air them. Ideally use 1 item per hanger, if you can. For those that are in drawers, you may wish to unfold them, shake the creases loose before they have a chance to "set".You can re-fold, carefully, placing in the drawer or cupboard, as if you were at home.
Acting in this manner you will find that most travel creases will drop out overnight.
This is something I wouldn't usually consider using myself.
However while on my ventures in Dublin, I was requested by the client to stay on for longer than I had anticipated. I had to extend my overnight stay from 2 to a full 5 working days.
Yes, you read that right 2 sets of clothes 5 days for them! So my hands were tied, I had little choice but to use the Laundry Service that was available at the hotel.
I found this to be perfectly acceptable. Though very bizarre that everything came back pressed (yes socks too!).
It wasn't the cheapest option, but to prevent you from being caught out, (like I was), I whole heartedly approve.
If you're likely to consider this, I would suggest that you request a list from your hotel as to the items they will launder and the appropriate costs.
Being aware of these, will allow you to pack contingency clothing. It also allows you to pack spare items for those that cannot be laundered.
The hotel or complex (or even the business you work for!) that you are staying on, may offer you use of their Concierge services.
There is usually a fee for the service, so finding out this information before you go will help you to know what to expect.
They can be the real gems of your stay, any questions? Always ask the concierge desk!
You probably have your case open on the bed.
You go round the room or your house, collating things and placing them in, in what you believe to be in order?
If this is the case then you may wish to consider the following process, which I have found a lot more constructive:
You now have physical sight on all items that are to be placed into your case.
If you haven't already now would be a good time to pull together a quick travel packing list, placing this list in a pocket within your suitcase. If there is nothing that needs refining, you can now move on...
It takes up more room, honest!
To move forward all your heavy items need to be put at the bottom of your case.
Now when I say bottom, I don't mean the back of the case, I mean the bottom, for when the case is carried or pulled.
That is the true bottom, and this is where your packing starts...
Carefully folding up and then 'rolling' your undergarments up (see picture below), you will find that these will fit well within your footwear.
Trainers for instance, even when placed in a shoe box, have a lot of space within them, enough for a weeks worth of knickers and socks! If you have any toiletries that you are packing, you would also need these to be included in these bottom layers of the case.
Each of these items I lie out on the bed, and fold in half, folding arms back onto the main torso of the garment.
From the neck or waist (for bottoms) of the garments, I proceed to tightly roll the clothes, into 'sausages' placing these into the suitcase. Jumpers, cardigans, jeans or track bottoms it should go without saying, but they are first, working up to towards the lighter garments.
The heaviest again go towards the bottom of the case.
These are not necessarily the easiest when packing a suitcase.
If you are taking light fabric dresses or your suit trousers, the roll method will be most suitable; as it doesn't invoke any additional creases into the garments. If you have more robust dresses, or indeed suit jackets, you may decide that you wish to put these through in a suit / dress carry bag, and take as hand luggage.
This is the time that you would pack anything and everything else, including those delicates.
If you are taking towels in your case, these are perfect for protecting your delicates and therefore I would recommend folding them into the towel and put that in safely when you are packing a suitcase.
If you have no requirement to take towels, a small hand towel could be added to your luggage to support your delicates.
An alternative for your packing a suitcase would to be utilise an alternative garment, but of similar robustness, such as a warm woolly jumper or cardigan.