Packing suitcases could be exactly what nightmares are made of, especially if you are trying to fit your whole life inside a carry-on luggage (don't act like you don’t ever do it – we all know you do). Whether you are an expat going home, or an Erasmus student trying to fit all your memories in one suitcase (sad story), you should not let your suitcase intimidate you. You only have to find what works best for you.
In Eurosender, we consider ourselves packing experts: as an international team, most of us travel regularly. We want to share our packing tips and show you what works for us. You will become a packing expert in no time!
First of all, are you having problems remembering all the items you need to take with you? We have the solution! Download our free Packing Checklist: it will remind you of everything you need to take with you. You can also add the quantities of each item. Whenever you have already packed a specific item, you can easily check it out of the list. In case something is not on the list, do not worry! There is also space to add a couple more.
So, before you start putting everything inside the suitcase, try to be rational about the process – it will save you some time in the long-run. Packing suitcases last minute is also not the best idea: there is a high chance of leaving something behind. Find the step by step manual with pictures below.
Here are some things to consider before packing suitcases:
- First, you need to consider the duration of your trip. If you are staying abroad for a semester or two, probably it’s better to take with you a larger suitcase. However, if you are going to travel by airplane, check beforehand if there are any extra luggage fees. In most low-cost airlines, you have to pay for your luggage (but if you are not willing to pay extra, why don't you consider sending it through Eurosender? Check out our blog post on why shipping your suitcase might be the best option).
- Do your research about the weather in that specific location – You should take with you only weather-appropriate clothes and shoes. This also depends on the time of the year you will be there. If you are traveling in winter, you will probably pack heavier. For bulky items, vacuum/compression bags could become your best friends.
- Make a list of indispensable items (REALLY indispensable ones) – Check the gadgets that will be useful during your trip (while you’re at it, you might want to check out our list of the best travel gadgets). Do not forget your chargers, adapters, and things that could be useful, like a medium towel and flip-flops.
- In case you are taking more than one bag with you, it is also useful to note in your list in which bag you put what items.
- Avoid taking things that you can easily find once your reach your destination. For personal hygiene, for example, take only small samples of shampoo or body wash, and buy full-sized ones once you get there.
- When it comes to clothes and shoes, try to take with you mostly colour-neutral ones. Taking clothes that are easier to combine will allow you to make several outfits. Your clothes should also be wrinkle-resistant. Of course, don't forget to choose at least one fancy outfit for special occasions.
- Pack more shirts than jeans. Jeans are multifunctional and could be worn up to 4 times before being washed, while shirts usually need to be washed after every wear. With 4 pairs of jeans and 8 shirts, you can make up to 30 different outfit combinations.
- Remember that you will probably want to bring back some souvenirs too, so don't over-pack.
Packing suitcases – Step by step
For demonstration purposes, we are using a small carry-on suitcase (about 50 cm x 35 cm x 20cm). However, this technique works with larger suitcases too. In this suitcase, we were able to pack 5 pairs of jeans, 7 shirts, 1 pair of heels, 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of flip-flops, 2 jackets, 1 packing cube with underwear and personal hygiene items.
1. Have your suitcase ready. Make sure it is in good condition before using it.
2. Fold your jeans in half and place them on the bottom of the suitcase. Only one-third of each pair should be inside the suitcase.
3. Before putting your shoes inside, put your socks in your shoes. This will help maintain the original shape of the shoe and should save you some space.
4. Put your shoes inside plastic bags and place them on the corners of the suitcase. The corners are usually more protected against impact.
5. Fold in the sleeves of your shirts and then roll them. This will save you a lot of space in the suitcase.
5. Place your shirts and packing cube inside your suitcase. Use the zipper spaces to put other items, like shoes and chargers.
6. Place your jackets on top of your shirts. Using compression bags will help.
7. After placing all your items inside, you can fold in your jeans.
8. If you want to pack books, place them inside before dealing with your shirts, or put them on top of the folded jeans.
9. Done! You are ready to go.
10. Now, are you planning to ship your luggage using courier services? Suitcases are usually solid enough to be sent without being put into a cardboard box. However, your suitcase must be properly closed and sealed, and then wrapped in stretch film. You can find more information here.
Packing suitcases is an easy task if you do it the right way. Our technique should help you make the most out of the space available in your suitcase and get your luggage ready for shipping. After knowing how to correctly pack and transport your suitcase, your only concern will be your adventure. Enjoy!
Last modified: October 24, 2018