A guide for travelling with a suitcase

Have you ever found yourself with an empty bag five hours before your plane leaves? Or had trouble zipping up your overflowing suitcase? If you’re anything like me, chances are, you have.

Over the years I’ve learned a handful of tips for travelling with a suitcase: from the obvious to the more unusual, I’ve got you covered.

My number one packing tip is to keep a checklist. I know what you’re thinking – who writes packing lists? Well, I do, and it’s super helpful! You can keep an ongoing list in your phone, so that you’ll always have a reference if you need to do last-minute packing. It really does make it less stressful.

On to the actual packing, I’d recommend for you to roll your clothes (if you haven’t already) instead of folding them. Not only does it save space, but your clothes will have fewer wrinkles; you can watch tutorials on how to roll up your clothes on the internet. After this step, it’s time to vacuum them. Vacuum packing is a method which removes air from the package, compressing your clothes into compact and smaller packs. I personally have never done this, but I’m sure it’s worth a try!

Alternatively, you can use packing cubes to store your clothes. I must admit I was a bit sceptical at first, but once I started using packing cubes, I always travel with them; they truly are lifesavers. These cubes can keep your clothes organised in addition to saving space in your suitcase.

The next tip is how to avoid overpacking. Obviously, you need to consider what to pack depending on the purpose and destination of your travel, but there are also a few essentials. Don’t forget to pack the right amount of underwear and socks, toiletries, a good pair of shoes, and a nice coat if you’re going somewhere cold. It’s a good idea to plan your outfits and avoid bringing clothes you won’t end up wearing, and make sure you pack neutral and versatile pieces. This way, you can mix and match to create different looks from the same pieces. Also remember to have your passport and boarding pass (or tickets) at hand, which sometimes you can even access on your phone.

Moreover, the general rule of thumb is not to pack what you can buy there. Of course, you don’t have to take this literally, but think about all those extra toiletries and the mini-library in your bag. Are they worth lugging a heavy suitcase through the streets of Paris for? Besides, going to local shops is a great way to practise the language and immerse in the culture. Additionally, unless you’re attending a wedding, leave your jewellery and valuables at home. Not only will you risk losing them, wearing expensive accessories can also make you a target for crime. Lastly, you might want to consider packing light microfiber towels instead of the bulky ones you use at home – they even absorb and dry faster!

When travelling with a suitcase, an important thing to remember is to label them. Decorate your suitcase with brightly coloured luggage tags, ribbons and stickers. This will make it instantly recognisable and save you time when searching for them. Even better, pack a carry-on suitcase and don’t check them in – you can immediately leave the airport upon landing.

These are some of my favourite and foolproof tips that make travelling with a suitcase an enjoyable experience. So, what are you waiting for? Pack up and explore!

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Erica Thejab