How to pack for an airline travel like a pro

trying to pack a suitcase for airline travel

When you pack for an airline travel, the usual headache is how to fit everything in a suitcase without having to sit on it to zip it. The worst case scenario that can happen to you is to end up re-packing at the last minute while the airport taxi is waiting for you to take you to Heathrow in London or Fiumicino in Rome.

It looks like a mission impossible, but with a good strategy and great planning skills, the end result will be more than satisfactory. The most important thing to remember is that you’ll be away only for a few days/weeks and you don’t need to bring your whole wardrobe with you.

Knowing is half the battle

Having a plan before you start the actual packing will save you precious time and nerves. Don’t leave this decision for the last minute, because you’ll end up with twice the number of things you actually need. There is no secret formula for a perfect plan on how to pack, but giving a good thought will serve right.

First, you need to check with your airline the size of your allowed baggage and stick to it. If you made airport transfer booking, confirm that it will fit in the taxi or shuttle you’ll be using.

Making a checklist by category of things you need will help you not to miss anything essential like a toothbrush, or take too many pants and no matching tops for them. Here are few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Apart from blouses and shirts, which can only be worn once, since they tend to get dirty after one day, sweaters, sweatshirts, and hoodies can last longer. Try to pack more of the clothes you’ll need to change daily, and save up space on the other ones.
  • If you plan to bring a coat, it would be best to wear it on the plane or place it around your seat. In case you have more than one coat, carry the heaviest one with you and pack the rest.
  • An optimal ratio of tops vs bottoms is 3:1. Make a fabric and colour combination of your tops with your pants or skirts while keeping in mind this rule, and you’ll save a valuable space.
  • The most useful shoes which take up no space are flip-flops. You can combine them easily with shorts or a dress. You can pack another pair of flat shoes which will work fine for walks in the city, as they are comfortable to wear and look great with pants or dresses. Always keep in mind to wear the bulkiest shoes when you’re on the plane.

Putting your plan into action

Once you’ve figured it out what to pack and your checklist is complete (keeping in mind the basic rules mentioned above), it’s time to roll up your sleeves and put your plan into action. The challenge you will face is how to best fit your things and avoid wrinkles on your clothes.

  • Use a rolling method to pack if you have unstructured bags. It works best for fabrics which are unlikely to wrinkle like T-shirts, jeans, sweaters and dresses made of stretchy knit fabrics. Of course, if your checklist turned up longer than planned then this is the most effective way of packing.
  • Folding will be a better choice if you have structured suitcases and you want to pack clothes which are likely to wrinkle, like linen shirts and trousers, silk blouses, silk dresses, jackets and thick sweaters.
  • Place heavier items like shoes and toiletry kits at the bottom of your suitcase, along with the wheelbase. This simple tip will make your life easier especially if you’re running with your suitcase through the airport to catch your plane or the airport taxi waiting for you.
  • Keep the valuable things like important papers, medications or other goodies in your carry-on bag. If you’re on a long-distance flight with multiple stops, it’s a good idea to have a fresh change of clothes, so don’t forget to pack them.

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