7 Ways to Fit More Stuff in Your Suitcase

Caroline Morse, January 14, 2014
Fares from Washington DC:

    Sure, we could tell you to just pack less. But sometimes you want to have wardrobe options when you travel—whether it's for an unexpected weather change or a fashion emergency. Read on for seven ways to fit even more stuff in your suitcase.

    (Photo: ThePickyGirl)

    Save Room with Travel Space Bags

    You've probably seen the infomercials for the magical space-saving bags that can shrink bulky clothing (like sweaters and jackets) into a small, compact unit. Get the travel version of these bags and you'll save space and keep your clothes organized and wrinkle-free. These Travel Space Bags don't need a vacuum to operate. Normal zip-lock bags in various sizes can also be used to achieve a similar effect for much less money.

    (Photo: Shoes, Socks, Tie, and Belt via Shutterstock)

    Put Things Inside Your Shoes

    Shoes take up a lot of space inside a suitcase. Make them do double duty by stuffing them full of small items like jewelry (in a zip-lock bag), ties (rolled up), or socks and underwear (in a plastic bag). Pack your shoes on their sides to maximize space.

    (Photo: David Berg via flickr/CC Attribution/Share Alike)

    Employ the Bundle Packing Method

    Fit more in your luggage and avoid folds, creases, and wrinkles by employing the "Bundle Wrapping" method from OneBag.com. This packing strategy involves filling a small pouch with soft items (like socks, underwear, etc.) and then wrapping larger clothing items around the pouch to form a bundle. (Click here to see a helpful diagram of the Bundle Wrapping method.)

    (Photo: Person Trying to Close Suitcase via Shutterstock)

    Zip and Then Add Extras

    Have a few overflow items that just don't seem like they'll fit? Try closing and zipping your suitcase completely (even if you have to sit on it to make it work). Then reopen your bag and try adding the items in any available spots (think corners, spaces between larger items, etc.). Often, once you've compressed the bag by zipping it shut, you'll find just a bit more room once you open it again.

    (Photo: Rolled Jeans via Shutterstock)

    Roll Your Clothes

    Everyone from flight attendants to military members knows this trick: Rolling your clothes is the best way to fit the most in a suitcase. Plus, rolled clothes tend to wrinkle less than folded clothes.

    (Photo: Briggs & Riley)

    Buy an Expandable Bag

    Okay, this might be cheating a little, but the best way to fit more into your bag is to have a suitcase that grows with your packing needs. Expandable suitcases double as two bags in one, often starting out carry-on size but expanding to a larger bag when needed. We love the Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On Expandable Upright, which grows by 25 percent with the pull of a lever. If you're packing for a big trip (or need extra souvenir space on a return flight), simply expand the suitcase.

    (Photo: REI)

    Use Packing Folders

    An alternative to space-saving bags and packing cubes, packing folders are pretty much what the name implies—folders for your clothing. They usually come with boards, which help you fold your clothing efficiently and compact multiple items to save space. Check out the product video for Eagle Creek's Pack-It Folder 18 to see how it works. The 18-inch folder holds eight to 12 items, including bulkier garments. Your bag will be neater and seem emptier!

    What are your secret tips for cramming more into your suitcase? Tell us in the comments.

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    This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Seven Ways to Fit More Stuff in Your Suitcase.

    Follow Caroline Morse on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.

    (Lead Photo: Young Woman Trying to Close Suitcase via Shutterstock)

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