Sure, we could tell you to just pack less. But sometimes you want to have wardrobe options when you travel -- whether it's for an unexpected weather change or a fashion emergency. Read on for seven ways to fit even more stuff in your suitcase.
Save Room With Travel Space Bags
You've probably seen the infomercials for the magical space-saving bags that can shrink bulky clothing (like sweaters and jackets) into a small, compact unit. Get the travel version of these bags and you'll save space and keep your clothes organized and wrinkle-free. These Travel Space Bags don't need a vacuum to operate. Normal zip-lock bags in various sizes can also be used to achieve a similar effect for much less money.
Put Things Inside Your Shoes
Shoes take up a lot of space inside a suitcase. Make them do double duty by stuffing them full of small items like jewelry (in a zip-lock bag), ties (rolled up), or socks and underwear (in a plastic bag). Pack your shoes on their sides to maximize space.
Employ the Bundle Packing Method
Fit more in your luggage and avoid folds, creases, and wrinkles by employing the "Bundle Wrapping" method from OneBag.com. This packing strategy involves filling a small pouch with soft items (like socks, underwear, etc.) and then wrapping larger clothing items around the pouch to form a bundle. (Click here to see a helpful diagram of the Bundle Wrapping method.)
Zip and Then Add Extras
Have a few overflow items that just don't seem like they'll fit? Try closing and zipping your suitcase completely (even if you have to sit on it to make it work). Then reopen your bag and try adding the items in any available spots (think corners, spaces between larger items, etc.). Often, once you've compressed the bag by zipping it shut, you'll find just a bit more room once you open it again.
Roll Your Clothes
Everyone from flight attendants to military members knows this trick: Rolling your clothes is the best way to fit the most in a suitcase. Plus, rolled clothes tend to wrinkle less than folded clothes.
Buy an Expandable Bag
Okay, this might be cheating a little, but the best way to fit more into your bag is to have a suitcase that grows with your packing needs. Expandable suitcases double as two bags in one, often starting out carry-on size but expanding to a larger bag when needed. We love the Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On Expandable Upright, which grows by 25 percent with the pull of a lever. If you're packing for a big trip (or need extra souvenir space on a return flight), simply expand the suitcase.
Use Packing Folders
An alternative to space-saving bags and packing cubes, packing folders are pretty much what the name implies -- folders for your clothing. They usually come with boards, which help you fold your clothing efficiently and compact multiple items to save space. Check out the product video for Eagle Creek's Pack-It Folder 18 to see how it works. The 18-inch folder holds eight to 12 items, including bulkier garments. Your bag will be neater and seem emptier!
--By Caroline Morse