Globetrotters know how to make the most of their little closets-on-wheels. Here are some tricks to help you maximize space and pack like a pro.
Do laundry a few days early so everything will be clean and ready for action. Have button-down shirts professionally laundered, pressed, and bagged at the dry cleaner so you can just pop them in your suitcase.
Start your packing list a week before you leave. Begin early so that you can add items as you think of them and keep an inventory list should the bag go missing.
When selecting your wardrobe, think coordinating solids, wrinkle-resistant microfibers (Lycra, nylon, spandex, and Tencel), and versatile shoes. Also remember that light-colored fabrics show stains, but they are cooler than dark clothes.
To avoid wrinkles, roll or wrap clothes in tissue paper or lay clothes in the suitcase on their hangers and in plastic dry cleaners bags. Roll -- don't fold! -- wrinkle-happy clothes and pack tightly to minimize wrinkles.
Avoid taking shoes or clothes you've never worn before.
Stuff socks and underwear in shoes or purses to help these items keep their shapes.
Pack an extra bag. If you have a luggage set, pack everything inside the second-largest bag, then put that bag inside the largest bag. When you arrive, feel free to stock up on souvenirs and duty-free goods -- you have an extra bag to carry it
all home in! Or, pack an empty duffel to fill with take-home goodies.
Bring items that do double duty: a hair dryer with a curling iron attachment, an alarm clock and radio, a calculator and translation guide.
When you've stuffed your bag to the max, zip it up and tap it on the floor a few times to make extra room.
Don't overstuff! Suitcase zippers may bust en route, or you could exceed airline weight limitations and have to cough up extra dough at the ticket counter.
Unfurl belts and wrap them around the inside of your suitcase.
Share bathroom basics (toothpaste, shampoo, and so on).
Double-bag liquids (air pressure at 30,000 feet can wreak havoc on bottles and tubes).
Pack a suitcase like you would a grocery bag -- heavy items on bottom, lighter ones on top.
Pack all your valuables, one change of clothes, non-perishable snacks, a small bottle of water, and your minimum toiletry needs (at least your toothbrushes and toothpaste) in your carry-on in case your luggage gets delayed.
As soon as you arrive, unpack and hang up your clothes.