How to Pack a Suitcase for Travel

How to Pack a Suitcase for Travel Efficiently.

Like many women, I used to agonise over what to pack when travelling, adding item after item because “You might not know when you might need it” only to find that you didn’t need the eight pairs of shoes or that gaudy purple lurex top that’s been hiding in the back of your wardrobe for the last six years. I’m sure many of you have had to endure that look from your husband or partner as you squeezed that last item into an already bursting suitcase. We had to learn how to pack a suitcase for travel.

In our early travel days, we would usually lug full size suitcases and carry on luggage around the airport, load them into taxis or public transport, drag them along crowded cobblestone streets and haul them up numerous flights of stairs until we decided enough was enough. We had to find another way to get the most out of what we pack. Here are some hints on How to Pack a Suitcase for Travel.

Co-ordinate & Accessorise


When travelling I tend to wear a lot of black, the reason is twofold, for one it doesn’t show dirt and two you can add a splash of colour and change the look with jewellery or scarves. When travelling in hotter climates I will wear white or cream shorts or slacks to cool the outfit down. You don’t have to be limited with black and white, they are just the colours I like, but once you choose your colour pallet stick with it. If you like to wear a lot of different colours, make sure that there is one colour theme that ties all your outfits together, this co-ordination will stretch your wardrobe.

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What I take

I get cold when travelling on the plane so I always wear comfortable jeans, a black T-shirt an uncrushable long sleeve blouse, socks and comfortable shoes. This is especially handy if you are flying into a warm country as you can just take off the long sleeve blouse and you will be instantly cooler in the T-Shirt.

What to Pack for Travel.

Hot climates;

4 T-shirts

3 pairs of shorts (varying lengths depending what Country you are visiting)

1 black dress or either black slacks or skirt for evening wear.

3 dressy blouses if you choose slacks or skirt for evening wear

2 pairs of shoes (the comfortable shoes from the plane and sandals that will take you from daywear to night)

A selection of necklaces, earrings, bangles and scarves




Personal items including a compact good quality First Aid Kit

Rosalind Cuthbertson

Cold Climates;

1 Warm weather proof coat

4 warm long sleeve T-shirts or something similar

2 pairs of jeans

1 black dress or either black slacks or skirt for evening wear

3 dressy blouses if you are wearing slacks or skirt for evening wear

2 pairs of waterproof shoes (the comfortable shoes or boots from the plane and shoes that will take you from daywear to night)

A selection of necklaces, earrings, bangles and scarves for day and night

Thermal underwear and underwear

3 pairs of thick socks


1 black shawl/cape which dresses an outfit up and can double as a blanket if cold.

Personal items

Travel Umbrella

I don’t get bogged down with items such as hair driers, most hotels have them. Where possible travel with crease resistant clothing; a compact travel iron is handy if you need to look smart for business trips. Purchasing items such as cheap beach towels, sun hats, sunglasses and sunscreen etc. at your destination will leave precious space in your bag for more important items.

How to Pack a Suitcase for Travel

We have found the best way to pack jeans, slacks, shorts and T-shirts is to roll them into tight cylinders. If you do this, they have a much better chance of keeping their shape while travelling reducing the need to iron.

For more crushable shirts and blouse we use Space Saver Bags. I don’t know what we did before we discovered Space Saver Bags! Not only do they reduce the bulk of the items being packed by expelling air, they keep items in shape. My husband Alan, recently put on a shirt that has been in a Space Saver Bag for six months and it came out with hardly and any creases ready to wear. 

Slacks, Jeans and Shorts

Gather the outer and inner seams together on both legs.

Smooth out flat.

Roll tightly from the bottom of the slacks to the top making a cylindrical shape.


Place T-Shirt front down.

Fold both sleeves and side inward at the shoulder.

If sleeves are long fold back to the outer edge.

From the bottom of the T-shirt roll tightly into a cylindrical shape.

Shirts and Blouse

For blouse and shirts, button down the shirt and place front down.

Fold both sleeves and side of the shirt inward at the shoulder.

If sleeves are long fold back to the outer edge.

Take the bottom of the shirt and fold in half.

Carefully place into a Space Bag.

Bulky Items

Space Saver bags are a must for packing those bulky Winter coats, after the air has been expelled you will end up with a package almost half the size as when you started.

Shoe Organizer Bags keep shoes separate from clothing.

How we travel now

Last year we decided to leave Australia to discover the World. Our dream is to experience as many different countries as we can, before eventually returning home to Australia. We have managed to fit our life into one medium size suitcase and one piece of carryon luggage each.

Because our life is very transient at the moment, (we divide our time between living in Beautiful Chiang Mai Thailand and doing house sits in different parts of the World), we had to take into consideration the different climates we would be visiting before we left Australia. We have Summer and very bulky Winter clothes in these two small Suitcases.

Alan and I recently travelled to Europe and took one piece of carry on luggage and a backpack each, something I would never have thought possible in the past.

We are very proud of this achievement and have found as long as you pack wisely and in the space saving way you will have more than enough clothing to see you through most activities.

If you have any tips on How to Pack a Suitcase for Travel, please let us know.

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