The Best Way to Pack a Suitcase

Experts reveal their trusted, time-honored solutions.

By Theresa O’Rourke
Tumi suitcaseAlison Gootee

Your Shoes

Step 1: Follow the rules of three. Consider one casual sandal or loafer, sneakers, and an evening shoe to be your holy trinity. “Because of their shapes and heels, shoes take up the most room,” says Marybeth Bond, author of 50 Best Girlfriends Getaways ($16, amazon.com). Wear the heaviest pair and pack the other two.
 
 Step 2: Stuff shoes with sunglasses and electronics chargers, says Anita Dunham-Potter, a cruise columnist for MSNBC.com.
 
 Step 3: Slip shoes into one-gallon-size resealable bags. Then set them along the sides of the bag, says Gilford.
 
 

Your Beauty Products

Step 1: Opt for travel-size multitaskers. Choose a tinted moisturizer that serves as foundation, a soap, and shampoo in one, and wipes that clean hands and face. (If you’re flying with a carry-on, check current regulations for liquids at tsa.gov.)
 
 Step 2: Fill empty bottles with your favorite brands. Evelyn Hannon, creator of journeywoman.com, a travel-advice website, swears by Japonesque’s Gotta Go Weekend Travel Bag ($20, amazon.com). A mere four inches high by four inches wide, it’s stocked with eight clear containers for lotions, contact-lens solution, and the like. Fill them three-quarters full. “The storage department on a plane is not pressurized, so items filled all the way to the top will overflow,” says Bond, who learned that the hard way when a sample of Pepto-Bismol exploded all over her clothes.
 
 Step 3: Protect your belongings from ugly mishaps. Denise Boyd, a flight attendant for JetBlue, slips socks over her coarsely bristled brushes that “can tear into clothes and cause snags.”
 
 Step 4: Group similar products in sealed resealable bags. Designate one sack for your cosmetics, one for your hair products, and one for skin-related items. Tuck the bags in the side corners of your suitcase or in a zippered outside pocket.

  
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