Think you’ve read about every packing hack under the sun? Think again. We took a peek into the suitcases of the world’s most well-traveled jet-setters to learn their best tricks and tips for packing. Some ideas left us wondering “why didn’t we think of that?”, while others were downright genius. Beyond the typical advice of “roll clothes” and “store earrings in a pillbox,” here are the most usable, useful and “ah-ha” packing hacks for your next adventure.
1. Cover It
With every mile I log at 35,000 feet, I grow more and more fond of the plastic shower cap because it always has me covered. Get it? Pun aside, I place hotel shower caps over my shoes (or anything with mess-potential) so my soles don’t soil my garments.
2. Stack It
Ever since you started packing you’ve probably been told to roll your garments, right? Forget it! One of the best pieces of advice we gleaned on the topic comes from Shaun Huberts, a Canadian singer-songwriter who spends his life living out of a suitcase. His packing epiphany, which he writes about in his book, How to Pack like a Rock Star, involves assembling clothes in your case as if you’re laying bricks. (Think of it like a fold-roll hybrid.) This way, garments stay ultra-compact, and you can see every single item in your suitcase – no rummaging under five layers for “that” top you packed.
3. Stuff It
Think of your suitcase like New York City real estate – every available inch of space needs to be maximized. With this, wait until the end of your packing process to find a spot for your socks and undergarments (or anything small and malleable). Whether you fill a fist-sized free space with your small stuff, slot a few extra items into your shoe, or cram essentials in your clutch, wait until all your big items are in your bag first.
4. Wash It
When you’re on the road for more than a week, and need to launder a few garments without doing an entire load, skip the sink in lieu of your own washing machine as you wander around. Armed with a freezer-sized Zip-Lock bag and soap, all you need to do is throw in your garments, add water and dash of soap, seal the top, gently swirl and then give the occasional knead, and rinse. This method is quick, easy and there’s no mess. Here’s a 15-second tutorial. Bonus: If you happen to swim on the last day of your trip, and need to store your wet swimsuit in a no-leak pouch, your wash-bag does the trick.
5. De-crease It
Sometimes an iron is necessary for stubborn creases, but when your apparel is only lightly wrinkled, hang it in the bathroom while you’re having a shower to loosen the fibers. Once you’ve dried off, place your getup on top of your partially damp towel, loosely roll it closed, and leave it. Three minutes later, unravel your once-rumpled garment for smooth success.
6. Assemble It
Whether you’re flying private, in a suite aboard a commercial jet, or in seat 75D, you know what products will make you feel good. Sure, the Jurlique amenity kits on Cathay Pacific, or the Godiva chocolates on Emirates help ease you into your journey, but nothing can replace the things that bring you comfort on cloud nine. So to feel really comfortable in-flight, assemble your own small kit to slot into your first-class cubby or the seat-back in front of you. My high-flying favorites include: a pen, a toothbrush, a travel-sized hand or face lotion, eye cream, wipes or sanitizer, a face mask, lip conditioner, and a tiny notebook.