Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Packing Tips: Part 5, Packing it all in

Now that you know what you’re going to take, let’s talk about the actual packing.  There are several methods you can use, from just cramming it all in willy-nilly to neatly folding clothes in layers of tissue paper.  It’s all a matter of what works best for you. 

I find tissue paper to be a waste of time, money and space.  While many seasoned travelers swear by the rolling method, I find my things wrinkle more when I roll them, not less.   Rolling your clothes does allow you to fit a lot of things into your bag, though.  Personally, I prefer the bundling method.  It makes efficient use of space and I find that my clothes come out mostly wrinkle free and ready to wear. 
Before you begin, make sure that everything you are packing is in good shape.  Check to see that nothing is stained or torn and that all of the buttons are firmly attached. 

Next, lay everything out on your bed or hang it on a laundry rack so that you can see it all in one quick glance.
To start the bundling process, layer the pieces, starting with the largest and working up to the smallest. 
I usually add my pajamas as another layer between the tops and the jeans because they are the thinnest, lightest items in the stack.
Some people fold pants in with the shirts but I have more success folding my jeans individually and then using them as a core to wrap the tops around.

Finally, wrap the shirt sleeves, collars, hems and pant legs to the center, turning it all into one neat bundle.

Before you pack your bundle, run your belts  around the perimeter of the bag.  Also, slide your shoes into a recycled plastic shopping or newspaper bag and put them in the bottom of the bag.  I didn't bag them in this picture because I wanted to show you where I put them in the bag.  Always put your shoes and other heavy items at the bottom of your bag so that it will roll smoothly.  Don't forget to stuff your socks  inside the shoes. 
Next, place your bundle into your bag and fill in any empty spaces with underwear and/or other accessories. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, if you are traveling by air, take along a large tote or purse to hold things such as your electronics, snacks and the Ziploc that contains your TSA restricted liquids. 
Wear your heaviest, bulkiest shoes on the plane.  Wear your coat on the plane rather than have it take up room in your bags.  Your coat pockets can also serve as an ancillary bag.  My travel coat has extra deep pockets and I use it to stash my gloves, tissues and other assorted little things.  When you board, spread your coat out in your seat rather than shove it in the overhead bin.  You’ll have it handy to use as a blanket or a pillow, plus save room in the overheads.

Make sure that all of your bags, even the carry-ons, are marked inside and out with your phone number and email address but not your home address.  You don’t want to let potential luggage thieves know where your unattended home sits.  See that giant bright pink tag on my carry-on?  That big tag not only identifies my luggage but also makes it easy to spot.  

I am all organized and ready to roll.  You will be, too, if you follow this process.
Check this site in a few days for timely tips on doing a spring break Florida trip with the family.

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