The Best Way to Efficiently Pack a Carry On Bag for a Long Trip

Best Way to Efficiently Pack Clothes

How to Pack and Roll Clothes in a Travel Backpack or Small Suitcase 

When it comes to traveling, it can be hard to find a balance between packing clothes that are stylish and clothing that is functional. The key to fashionable and functional travel is to pack garments you can layer, instead of packing outfits. What does this mean? It means picking fabrics in different weights to layer over one another in order to avoid over packing. When selecting items to layer, there are a few questions you should ask:

  1. Will this fabric wick away moisture and keep me dry?
  2. Is it strong enough to hold up against multiple washes?
  3. Is it able to worn as a layer in colder weather or by itself in warm weather?
  4. Is it a dark, neutral color like black or navy?
  5. Is it something that dries quickly?
  6. Can I wear it multiple times?

Fabrics such as nylon and wool are extremely important when it comes to travel, especially for undershirts, socks, and underwear. They stay dry and warm while also being cool enough not to heat you up in warmer weather. Wool and nylon can also stand up to multiple washes while retaining shape and color. If you are planning a trip for two or more weeks, you will likely have to get your garments washed or dry cleaned at least once. Ensure you have a stuff sack to store dirty items for washing, this way they won’t foul other clothes.

Dark and neutral colors are the best choice for traveling because they easily blend in with other cultures and don’t show stains. Clothes in black, navy, grey, and khaki will serve you the best and they easily mix and match with other pieces. Focus on neutral colors for all your layers and select items that add a little personality for your main pieces, like dress shirts, dresses, and jackets.

Efficient Packing: Tips for What to Pack in Your Suitcase or Bag
How to Pack Clothes for a Carry On Suitcase

Travelers who are planning for two weeks or more should stick to the following list as a guideline:

  • Shirts/blouses. Bring five short sleeve shirts/blouses and two long sleeve shirts/blouses for the Summer and Spring. For Winter and Fall bring three long sleeve and three short sleeve. Long sleeves can always be rolled up and used as short sleeves, sleep in, or layer.  Cotton and polyester blends are the fine but synthetic fabrics that are easy to wash and dry over night are the best.
  • Pants. This depends on the country and time of year. Pack one pair for warm climates and two pair for mild or colder climates.
  • Shorts and Skirts. Shorts aren’t very popular outside of the USA and tropical countries. Pack a pair of shorts fro hot weather and an extra skirt for women.
  • Underwear. A lot of guides will say 5, but this generally means wearing a pair of underwear multiple days. If that grosses you out bring eight to ten.
  • Shoes. One pair of walk around shoes, one pair of going out shoes, and sandals.
  • Sweater and Hoodie. A light sweater for warm and mild climates is fine. For colder climates bring two, but nothing that can’t be worn under a jacket.
  • Socks. Having cold wet socks will make you miserable real quick. Bring six pair of socks, three wool and thee polyester blend.
  • Jackets. Investing in a decent jacket will pay off in the long term. Not only will you wear them traveling but casually around your home country as well. Leather and denim styles never go out of style. Bring one.
  • Scarf. A diverse piece of fabric that can be used for multiple things.
  • Swimsuit. Men should wear stylish board shorts, women should bring a bikini as well as board shorts.
  • Sleepwear/Thermals. One to two pair for sleeping in and cold climates.
  • Hats and Beanies. One snap-back hat and a beanie.
  • Going Out Clothes. Guys bring two to three button ups; two casual and one nice one. Women pick three of your “go to pieces” that can be layered over other pieces. If you bring a dress consider a pair of stockings or leggings to keep warm.

Best Method for Organizing Clothes: Rolling or Folding?
Rolling Clothes instead of Folding for Packing a Bag

The trick to packing efficiently is rolling clothes instead of folding. It will give you more room, cause less wrinkles, and keep you more organized. Load heavier pieces at the bottom with lighter clothes toward the top. Ensure socks, bathing suits, and underwear are easily accessible near the top.

How to Pack Clothes Summary 

When packing for travels ensure to pack layers instead of outfits. It will allow you to be more nimble, provide room for souvenirs or camera gear, and keep your pack light. If there is an outfit. Always roll your clothes together instead of folding. This will save you a ton of packing space!