How to pack a suitcase: complete guide to pack like a pro

how to pack a suitcase

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Comprehensive guide on how to pack a suitcase outlines preparation, packing order, how to pack particular items and garments, and tips to arrive crease-free.

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Randomly pulling clothes out of the closet, because it could be that you might wear them during your trip – and then find out that the suitcase no longer closes. Or you can be done packing your suitcase in no time and then, when you arrive at your holiday destination, find that half of it is missing. Everyone has probably had situations like this before.

But you can easily avoid this stress. And start your vacation so relaxed. Because there are also how to pack suitcase rules to help! Those who pay attention to them can relax and prepare for the upcoming vacation.

How to pack a suitcase: the pro rules

The right order when packing is essential

Right at the beginning is the first rule for how to pack a suitcase: Start packing in good time. If you postpone everything until shortly before, you cannot enjoy the start of your holiday. In addition, it is easy to forget important things for your vacation. Just write a suitcase checklist so that doesn’t happen. This gives you an overview of your luggage and you won’t have a rude awakening on vacation because something important is missing. 

Lay everything out first

The next important step in how to pack a suitcase is to lay out on your bed all the items of clothing that you should take with you and that you have noted on your checklist. In this way you can see exactly what will be available to you later on, and what you might prefer to sort out and leave at home.

 When packing, choose clothes that are easy to combine . If you pack a pair of pants that you can easily combine with several shirts, you save a lot of space. You really want to take this beautiful dress with you on vacation that you haven’t worn a single time in the whole summer? Then you shouldn’t take it with you on your trip either, because it is very likely that it will gather dust in your suitcase.

Families also tend to pack way too much. The best thing to do is to explain to the offspring at an early stage that only a limited number of toys can be taken with you: a cuddly toy, a book, a game.

Don’t make the suitcase too big

Do not choose a suitcase that is too large – after all, you are usually the one who has to transport the suitcase from A to B on vacation. A bulky suitcase is not exactly practical. In addition, the more compactly everything is stowed away, the less the items fall around and the smoother your laundry stays. Tissue paper, which you can get from office supplies, also helps. 

Be careful with liquids

The cosmetic bag should also be on the side with the rollers at the bottom of the case. Also put the pouch in a bag or waterproof bag. If something leaks, your clothes are definitely safe from the liquid. And remember: If you are traveling with hand luggage, you are allowed to carry a maximum of one liter of liquids with you, packed in 100 milliliter containers. The general rule for air travel : do not take too full bottles!

If you don’t want to invest extra in small plastic jars, you can simply wash out the sample bottles and jars (which you might still have standing around from your last vacation at home), take off the brand label and voilà you have your own travel container – but be careful that you take it with you Do not use containers with a volume greater than 100ml.

If you use contact lenses, you can save the small containers and fill them with creams and make-up remover.

What to pack in the bottom of the suitcase

Heavy objects such as books or shoes should always go all the way down in the suitcase.

Pad your shoes with socks

Do you stow pairs of shoes in plastic bags? Not a good idea, because firstly, shoes are quite bulky as a pair and secondly, they dent more quickly. There is another way to pack optimally: We recommend always placing sneakers & Co. individually in the case. Then you should fold your socks up and use them or other small items to pad your shoes – this not only makes optimal use of every space in your flight baggage, the shoes also keep their shape. Extra tip: Disposable shower caps (available in almost every hotel) are the perfect alternative to plastic bags as a hygienic cover for the soles of shoes.

Then the non-iron clothing

Underwear, nightwear, socks and rolled up T-shirts then fill the rest of the bottom layer. Because with these parts it doesn’t matter if it wrinkles a little. It is best to cover this position with a towel. This serves as a cushion for the next layers.

Light clothes or blouses should go further up. If you take this packing technique to heart, you not only prevent crumpled outfits, but also save space.

Roll clothes instead of folding them

Sensitive fabrics such as silk or linen in particular can quickly crease in the suitcase. But packing without creases is possible: If you roll your tops, pants & Co. tightly instead of folding them, you can prevent them from creasing. Nice side effect: The technology also saves space in your luggage for your vacation. For insensitive fabrics such as wool, vacuum bags or special panniers for clothing are of great help because they reduce the volume.

If you insist on folding, do it like this

If there are clothes you want to stick with foldig rather than rolling, do it intelligently. Fold the trousers together along the crease. Wrap up with the waistband down and let the legs hang over the edge of the suitcase. Long skirts also hang over the edge.

Put clothes on it until the height of the suitcase is reached. Only then fold the legs and skirt lengths upwards. Short skirts go unfolded in the suitcase.

Stack the tops so that the collars alternately look to one side or the other.

Stow a belt in the shirt collar

If you are traveling for work or like to wear collared shirts or blouses on vacation, you can use a simple trick to ensure that the collar stays nice and stiff: Simply place the belt under the collar. This not only saves space, but also ensures that the shirt is well received.


We also have a trick for you if you want to transport jewelry without it getting tangled or lost. Use straws: thread your necklace through a straw and close the clasp. You can put earrings in the holes of a button and close them.

Pack crosswise as a couple

There is always the risk that a piece of luggage will be lost and then arrive a day or two late. If the traveller then has nothing to wear, that is of course annoying. Couples can defuse this situation: If you travel with your partner, you can simply distribute the luggage between both suitcases. If a piece of luggage is lost, everyone has enough for the first few days. It also makes sense to put underpants, socks and swimming shorts in your hand luggage.

Don’t go to the weight limit

Never pack your suitcase completely to the weight limit – especially when you go on vacation. Anyone who scratches the maximum weight allowed on the outward journey and has problems locking is guaranteed to pay excess baggage on the return journey, because one or the other souvenir always ends up in the suitcase. The alternative: Take a foldable, space-saving and lightweight travel bag (e.g. from Longchamp) with you: You can fill it with holiday souvenirs if necessary and use it as hand luggage on your return journey. 

Secure the luggage

We advise a TSA lock for the suitcase. If in doubt, airport employees can open this with a universal key. Otherwise they’ll break open the suitcase if they want to open it. So that the baggage can be found more quickly if lost or not taken off the belt by someone else, it should be individually marked, for example with a strap. Basically, of course, a pink suitcase is more noticeable than a black one.