Woman traveling with carry-on suitcase
Packing Tips

The Best Packing Tips, According to Luggage Experts

No one knows packing better than those whose careers revolve around it—so we talked to suitcase designers, luggage brand founders, and travel merchandisers to find out a few top tips for future getaways. Here, the 10 best pieces of packing advice, according to the experts.

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Get rid of the excess

“Plan your outfits ahead of time so that you're bringing exactly what you need and nothing extra. People always pack too many shoes. In the summer, I pack my running shoes, a pair of dressy sandals to wear at night, a pair of casual sandals that I can wear all day and double as beach shoes, and then I wear sneakers on the plane. No one ever had a better trip because they brought more pairs of shoes.

Here Magazine's digital editor once told me that she packs old underwear and throws them out as she goes so that she's not bringing dirty laundry back home with her and has more room for souvenirs. I think that's genius.”

— Ally Betker, Editorial Director at Away and Editor-in-Chief of HERE Magazine


Keep ‘travel kits’ at the ready

“The key to making sure you have everything you need, as well as making sure you're not bringing extra crap that weighs you down, is maintaining what I call ‘travel kits.’ I have a small sleep kit for long flights with things like ear plugs and an eye mask, a tech kit for all the small do-dads, and a toiletry kit. Keeping these items well-stocked means that all I have to do is throw those—plus the appropriate clothes/gear—in a bag, and I'm out the door.”

Art Viger, Chief of Design for Peak Design soft goods


Consider how you hang and fold clothes

“The way you hang and fold your clothes when packing will make all the difference when you get to your destination. Hook & Albert’s Garment Weekender Bag offers garment-first functionality in a high-quality, fashionable piece. We spend the time to make sure your most delicate items are given the proper attention and care that they deserve along your journey.”

Cory Rosenberg and Adam Schoenberg, Co-founders of Hook & Albert

RELATED: 12 Packing Hacks To Live By


Splurge on a functional backpack

“Invest in a bag you love. You’ll have it for a long time, and after carrying it through airports and train stations, you’ll be glad to have something that improves your travels rather than makes them more challenging. NOMATIC bags have over 20 features including a patented strap system, a TSA-ready flap so you don’t have to take your tech out during airplane security, and plenty of pockets to keep you organized and help you fit more in less space.”

Jacob Durham, Co-founder of NOMATIC


Bring an extra set of clothes in your carry-on (and don’t forget your style)

“In your carry-on, pack all the things you can’t be without, like medications or contact lenses. It’s also nice to have an extra set of clothes and a few toiletries for emergencies.

Also, remember that similar to your clothing, your luggage is an extension of you and a way of expressing yourself. Traveling should be a memorable experience, so why not take it up a notch with memorable luggage!”

Jennifer Kwon, President of CALPAK


Look for convertible luggage

“When looking for a bag to use for your trip, find something that’s going to suit more than one need. Oftentimes, people are so focused on cramming everything in and aren’t strategic about what the trip will require. Streamlining the process starts with getting a bag that can flex with you throughout the trip. That’s why, at Timbuk2, we make bags with more than one way to carry—you can wear them as backpacks, as crossbodys, or slipped through your roller luggage for easy strolls through the terminal.”

Brandon McCarthy, Global Merchandising Manager at Timbuk2

RELATED: The Carry-On Luggage You Need Now


Pack essentials within reach

“We’ve all seen it—you get to the security line and the person in front you has to search through their bag to find their toiletries and laptop, or they’re rummaging through their backpack for their I.D. to get through the checkpoint. It’s so important to have these items at your fingertips for easy access at any time.

With Barmes luggage, travelers can efficiently reach items such as passports, chargers, electronics, and toiletries by using the upper compartment and supplied accessories, while perfectly fitting the included leather laptop satchel in the lower compartment for easy removal during security checks.”

Paul Barmes, Designer and Founder of Barmes


Make the most out of accessories (in outfits and luggage)

“I tend to travel with black, white, and gray items that I can mix and match, so accessories are my best friend. A colorful scarf, a piece of statement jewelry, or a great clutch can completely change the look of a base outfit.

Ebby Rane's Quartermaster bag is the only carry-on on the market designed specifically for the way women travel. It comes with packing accessories included, which not only guide the packing process but enable you to stow your essentials in an organized way. There are carryalls for jewelry, cosmetics, liquids, tech accessories, shoes, swimsuits, lingerie, and laundry. It also comes with an Italian leather clutch, which is perfect for cocktail parties on arrival and a great place to tuck away a silk scarf or camisole.”

Aynsley Wintrip Harris, President of Ebby Rane


For outdoors trips, keep it lightweight

“It definitely takes a few times carrying your pack to figure out your sweet spot in terms of weight, but try to opt for just the necessities. Aim for only two to three sets of clothes on a multi-day trip. Then take less on your next trip.

Also, always pack a second, smaller bag for a daypack so that you don't have to carry all of your gear all of the time. The lightweight, waterproof, and modular design is where it’s at with Kammok's new packs. They make sure your gear stays organized and dry while saving tons of weight and space on the pack itself.”

Greg McEvilly, Founder and Product Chief of Kammok

RELATED: 10 Pro Tips for Packing Lighter Every Time


For ‘bleisure’ trips, be prepared for everything

“When you have a trip that’s both for business and leisure, you need functional pieces that can go from day to night and from the office to dinner with your friends. Be sure to pack utilitarian layers that can be used in a number of scenarios, whether you’re just a few hours from home or halfway across the world. And always be prepared! You never know what experiences will arise when you’re traveling—there might be a last-minute client meeting or an opportunity to visit a hidden beach in Hawaii.

Rachele Gillmar, Senior Marketing Director of Speck Travel

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