How to Pack Like a Pro

Author: Ali

Traveling can be a pain – possible flight delays, a lack of electrical outlets at the airport, a person sitting next to you who takes up your armrest – the annoyances can be endless. One thing is for certain, nothing compares to the stress of packing for a weekend trip to Los Angeles. I hadn’t had that much trouble packing since my trip to and from Italy a few years ago.

Leaving cold and snowy New York City for warm and sunny LA wasn’t the problem, it was what to pack when I truly didn't know what was in store for me. So maybe I packed more than I may have needed – but I wore everything I brought with me, with the exception of one outfit. Sue me.

I’m an expert packer (thank you mom and dad… and retail) but traveling from coast to coast for a 4-day weekend proved to be somewhat challenging. “What do I pack? Will it all fit? I need four different types of shoes!” These were all thoughts I had running through my mind while preparing for my trip to the Golden State.

I realize I’m not the only one who struggles with packing. Even those who travel often struggle to make room for possible additions they might pick up on their trip to said place. With that being said, I’ve complied a step-by-step tutorial on how to pack flat and save room.

Step 1: You'll want to make a packing list. List items items in order of importance (e.g. medicine, underwear, etc.). I also like to write out what clothing items I’m wearing with what. That way I’m 100% confident I have everything I need or want in my suitcase when finished packing.

Step 2: Use a garment folder. Make sure you have one with a solid base on the bottom (mine is removable) – this will allow you to pack flatter by preventing your clothes from moving around when you place it inside your luggage.

Step 3: Fold your clothing in a neat manner, and place the thinnest clothing at the bottom. In other words, avoid placing jeans and sweaters on the bottom. If you mix bulky with your lightweight items, you'll end up losing space in your suitcase. My mother, the flight attendant, prefers packing pants and sweaters at the bottom first. Either option works, but the important thing is to have the clothes neatly folded and have a system.

Step 4: Place shoes on the side or on the bottom of your suitcase. Utilize shoes as storage for anything that might be breakable or small enough to fit in your shoe. I use shoe bags when packing, but they just keep my shoes together and prevent other items in my suitcase from getting dirty, however they are not a must.

Step 5: If you have a curling or flatiron, be sure to purchase a cover prior to your trip. If you’re using the tool that morning, and it isn’t cooled off before you leave, the cover allows you to safely pack the curling iron after use without the risk of burning the items in your suitcase. Also, it protects your curling iron from possible damage.

By following these steps, I guarantee the next time you plan for a trip, packing will be one of the easiest things you do.