How to pack a suitcase to maximize space

Nicole Tj
March 2, 2022

Don’t stuff your suitcase; pack it with purpose. Get the strategies and hacks you never knew you needed to make the most of your available space. Read the Travis blog now.

Whether heading to another state or another country, packing can be challenging for anybody. How many times have you struggled to close your suitcase no matter how much you sit on it? Or, even worse, have you ever suffered the inconvenience and expense of excess baggage fees at the airport? Look, we’re all guilty.


The very first tip is to plan your packing well in advance. Shovelling everything into your luggage at the last minute is a recipe for disaster. When you’re in peak disorganization mode, you’ll likely forget things, and you won't be maximizing the space you could be using for more essentials. 


But we're here to help. Follow this guide, and you will be able to pack everything you need – with ease. 


What to pack in advance

We recommend packing everything at least two weeks out from your trip. This will give you peace of mind that everything will fit and a vital chance to think about what you are packing.


Doing this also allows you the time to remember items you may have overlooked and to consider those you may not actually need at all. No stress, no pressure – we promise it will make things undeniably easier on yourself.


Choose the right suitcase

When it comes time to pick a suitcase getting the right size and style is essential. If you are going to use packing cubes, hard-body bags are best. Inspect the inside and ensure there are no pointless accessories or extras, but make sure there are packing straps.


Maximize your carry-on luggage by checking their regulations with the airline in advance. Additionally, keep your electronics, devices, and charging cords in your carry-on bags.


Finally, keep your identification and cards on your person or in your carry-on, so you know it will all reach the destination. When you strategize, you would be surprised how much you can fit into your bags, primarily when you invest in baggage with added compartments to keep you sorted and organized. (More on this later.)


Plus, for shorter trips, you may not even need to check in a bag at all.


Maximize space in your suitcase

We have a few favorite tips here, so let’s lay them all out for you:


  • Stuff socks into shoes. Free up room with this space saver! Also, shoes are the biggest space hog so try not to pack too many pairs. 
  • Roll your belt up around your shirt collar. Also this helps keep it in shape.
  • Pack toiletries and makeup in snap-lock bags. A) This prevents leaking. B) You can see what you’ve packed. Even better, use travel-sized toiletries and makeup where possible.
  • Choose clothes you can re-purpose. Activewear is an excellent choice because you can wear it almost anywhere these days. Sarongs are also light, versatile, and perfect for vacation. 

Packing your clothes: rolling vs. folding

Cold, hard maths dictates that rolling will allow you to pack more. But this is limited – you can't roll up jackets or heavy sweaters without taking up bulk space. Rolling also adds heavy creases to your clothing, always a nuisance to iron out.


But, hear us out.


All this doesn’t mean folding is the go. Folding is more likely to crease your lighter clothing items and isn’t necessarily convenient for fitting essentials into any gaps left. 


So what’s our verdict? We say don't roll or fold. Invest in packing cubes instead. Wait for it.


Packing cells/cubes and other hacks

It's really easy to organize your outfits and clothes with packing cubes. Honestly, they’re a god-send, with so many sizes to choose from. This versatility lets you arrange your clothes in various ways without any hassle.


Plus, you can move things around in your bag and find what you want without worrying about your clothes falling out. Some options also let you compress your clothes, giving you more room in your suitcase and the ability to bring even more goodies with you. For this, we recommend July packing cells.


And here are some bonus packing tips:

Want some more travel hacks? Okay, here we go!


  • Include three tops for every bottom. You can get away with washing and re-wearing shorts and skirts better than you can manage with minimal tops. 
  • Try to pack layers rather than heavy jackets and sweaters. Pack your shoes first and then all tiny bits and pieces around them.
  • Get a tech kit that will keep all your cords, chargers, earbuds, and other knick-knacks organized and untangled. We recommend the Bellroy Tech kit and Moment Tech Kit.


Avoiding overpacking

Planning is the key here. Write down your plans for each day of your trip and the clothes that will be required. Additionally include multipurpose shoes.


If you wouldn't wear it at home, our go-to motto is not to pack it. You won't use it on the road either. 


Additionally, ensure your accommodation has laundry services so you can wash clothes and re-wear them. Finally, choose a small suitcase, to begin with. If you purchase a bulky one, you will fill it. And that could end up in added baggage weight fees.


Leave room for your return trip

Last but not least, make sure you allow yourself to bring back all the awesome things you picked up along your adventures. After all, what’s travel without shopping? Remember to leave extra space for those holiday splurges, so there is no rude shock at the check-in counter on your way home.


Ready to jet off? Plan with Travis


Travis has a travel essential that will help you make the most of your trip without taking up any valuable real estate in your luggage – our free visual trip planner. Create a mood board to organize and map out all of your bucket lists and places to visit, or share your inspiration with our growing community – the choice is yours. 


Plus, you can:

  • Browse and save travel-loving creators' favorite destinations.
  • Bookmark trusted websites.
  • See all locations on the same map.
  • Share with friends and family (or your social media friends).


And you can try it for free right now! Get access to the beta today.



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