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Always on the Go? Packing Tips and Tricks

We've all experienced the poorly packed suitcase. Whether in a time crunch or simply unmotivated, sloppy suitcases don't benefit you, the traveler, in any way. By not properly packing your suitcase, you experience wrinkled clothing, shoe-print shirts (from dirty shoes resting against clean shirts) and are actually packing fewer items than you could be if you took the time to pack them right.
Take some tips from the pros. Flight attendants, travel nurses, and entrepreneurs are always on the go — forcing them efficiently and effectively to pack their suitcase.

Roll

Using the roll technique allows you to get more clothing in a suitcase and minimize wrinkling. Tightly roll jeans, shorts, cotton dresses, shirts and other wrinkle-resistant clothing and layer them in the suitcase from heaviest items on the bottom to lightest on top. Heather Poole, a seasoned flight attendant from Los Angeles demonstrated to the New York Times on how she uses the roll technique to pack enough clothing for a 10-day trip ... all into one single standard carry-on.

Shoes

Place the shoes along the edges of the bag, soles out. This works well with sneakers, flip flops and sandals. Another technique to use is to layer the shoes in the middle of the bag, with each individual shoe inside a shoe cover. If you don't have a shoe cover, plastic bags from the grocery store or shower caps work well. This prevents your shoes from getting your clothing dirty and keeps everything clean. In general, you should pack two pairs of shoes in the suitcase but can squeeze in one more pair of flip flops if needed.

Dress Clothes

If you have clothes that need to be as wrinkle-free as possible, place the clothes along the bottom of the suitcase and leave half the item hanging out on either side. Place all non-wrinkled clothing in the middle of the bag, then carefully fold the dress clothes over the top, creating a "bundled" look. Haven't you ever noticed how well dressed flight attendants and travel nurses are not in uniform? Perhaps their travel nurse salary and flight attendant benefits help them buy more. And with their spacious luggage, they're able to pack more!

Accessibility

You want to leave the items you need to access immediately towards the top. For example, if you're arriving at a beach destination with a few hours to kill before checking into your hotel, place your beach bag, towel and bathing suit at the top of your suitcase, so it's easily accessible.

Fragile Items

Chances are you'll be flying back with some fragile items. To best protect them, pack these items in the center of your case and surround them with your clothes.

Undergarments

The best place to store your undergarments like socks, bras, and underwear are in the zipper compartment of your suitcase. If you don't have any zippered storage, then you can roll your socks and stick them into your shoes. For your underwear, roll them and stick them around the walls of your suitcase.

Toiletries

When packing your toiletries, keep in mind you might need to pull them out at a security check. Use a hanging organizer to store your toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, contact solution, hair brush and shower necessities and place it on top of your clothes.

Photo by Flickr user UggBoy♥UggGirl

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