How to Pack Your Bags for Your Trip

Not sure how to pack your bags so your clothes arrive at your destination relatively wrinkle-free? How do you get everything you need into one bag without spilling the shampoo - or wrenching your back?

Our travel tips for packing luggage will guide you to easy, wrinkle-free clothing right out of the bag!

- Start with the best travel luggage. It could be soft or hard sided, but it should be lightweight and have sturdy wheels. The wheels make it a bit heavier, but much easier to transport through the airport.

- Large plastic bags designed for packing are a great help. You can put quite a few items in the bag, then roll it to remove the air and zip it closed. The bag takes up less space, and if the clothes are placed in the bag carefully, they won't move around and may be less wrinkled.

- Knits can be rolled tightly and packed at the bottom of the suitcase, along with heavy items like shoes and toiletries.

- Woven items should be folded carefully and placed on top of the rolled knits. Place each item flat, and layer them with collars and/or waistbands alternating (sleeves and legs are NOT folded yet). When all of the items are layered, fold the extending sleeves or legs over the top of the whole pile, so there are no sharp folds to crease the fabric.

- Roll underwear and socks and stuff them into shoes to fill empty space and maintain the shoe's shape.

- Stuff more socks, underwear, and other small items in corners and the perimeter of the bag.

- Don't bring too many books with you (you can buy another novel at your destination!). Make copies or tear out pertinent pages of your travel guide, unless it is very small.

- Do NOT pack travel documents (tickets, passport, car rental and hotel confirmations) in your checked luggage. These documents, along with prescription medications, expensive jewelry, keys and other valuables must be carried with you.

- Make sure your luggage is tagged properly, and put a colorful tag or yarn wrap on the handle for easy identification at the baggage claim. Place a piece of paper with your name, home address, and hotel information INSIDE the bag as back-up in case the tag is lost. A copy of your passport photo page should be tucked inside your bag also. It's easier to replace a lost passport if you have a copy of this page.

- Once you've arrived, unpack as soon as possible and hang garments to reduce wrinkles. A small spray bottle with plain water can help relax wrinkles in cottons. Spritz the wrinkles lightly with water and let the garment hang to dry.

Now that you know how to pack, our Packing List and "What to Pack" will help you decide what you need to bring, and what you don't.

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