3 Packing Essentials to Maximize Suitcase Space

Living out of a suitcase isn’t exactly the dream. But for those of us with jobs in the travel industry, it at some point becomes the norm for short or extended period of time. There are always options to vacuum pack and seal, but who has the patience or inclination, let alone space? If you’re looking to build more space into a fixed bag [read—no add-on straps, expanders, air-tight packs, or extra luggage], here are some inexpensive space-savers we’ve found useful:

  1. Packing Cubes of Various [Functional] Sizes

    These much-touted mini-bags are actually a pretty practical purchase. It keeps like, and like-sized, items together in your bag so your gym clothes stay free from your uniform, and your socks and pjs are always easily found. Roll your clothes [not fold] to save even more space, with the exception of collared shirts which don’t retain their unrolled shape as nicely. [See below on our tip for these].

  2. Cord Pouch

    Mine is about the size of a business envelope, but mesh. It holds my step-down converter + adapter, computer and phone cords, headphones, and dongle. This arrangement also means that when I pack a bag for work in the morning to work in a cafe, the airport, wherever, I only have to grab one pre-packed bag to walk out the door and don’t have to rip apart my bag to find a cord I misplaced.

  3. Hanger Inserts

    If you’ll be packing a collared shirt or similarly bulky or stiff item, a hanger insert, while not exactly space-saving, means you won’t have to iron at the hotel. These little tabs affix to the inside interior of your bag and allow you to “hang” a shirt [fold the sleeves] so it stays looking pressed in transit.

  4. *Bonus: Travel Jewelry Case

    There are a number of articles that suggest layering in your jewelry with your clothes to minimize tangling/conserve space. I’m of the opinion that layering it is a good way to lose it. My advice is to purchase a hard-shell travel case [about the size of a bar of soap] with slots for rings, earrings, and a necklace/bracelet. Yes, it limits what you can take, but it also means that it has a dedicated place in your bag to minimize losing it or snagging it on fabric. This small case can then be rolled into a sweater or packed in one of the above packing cubes for easy storage and access.