Seven packing tips for a smooth trip

Put you shoes at the side, match them the heel-to-toe way, and stuff socks inside them to save space and time


Fold suits and lay them flat on the top, and pack small things in a travel pouch. Photo: iStock.
Fold suits and lay them flat on the top, and pack small things in a travel pouch. Photo: iStock.

Dump-all packing might be a cool way to go on road trips, but packing for a business or work-related trip requires a strategy. Here are some tips to make your tours hassle-free.

Alternate between two cases

If your small, rectangular rolling suitcase or carry-on with stiff sides does not hold suits well, experiment and pick an additional type, size and colour (charcoal grey or navy suitcase), says Gurgaon-based Debashish Basu Chowdhury, a senior business consultant with the consultancy firm DNTK Services, who travels at least once a month. “I carry a 22-inch cabin case that allows three shirts, three pairs of trousers, and a toiletries’ kit. But if my trip is more than seven days or anytime during winter, I switch to a hard-back.”

Pack your shoes first

“Not your clothes, but pack your shoes first, or at least make space for them,” says Bengaluru-based Siddharth Upadhyaya, head, business development (country lead) of My Fitness Wallet, a health start-up. Put them at the side, match them the heel-to-toe way, and stuff socks inside them to save space and time. Upadhyaya carries two pairs of shoes for his travels—loafers and slip-ons—apart from his formal lace-ups.

Pack upright and reduce volume

According to Japanese decluttering specialist Marie Kondo’s illustrated book Spark Joy, “Packing a suitcase for business or leisure trips follows the same basic principle as those for storage in the home. Clothes should be folded and packed upright. Fold suits and lay them flat on the top.... Pack small things such as underwear in a travel pouch, and transfer lotions and toiletries in smaller bottles to reduce volume.”

Think uniform-like concepts

Adopt the strategy of Star Wars actor Adam Driver—be repetitive and minimal. Driver travelled extensively for the promotion of the movie this year. To avoid luggage issues, he stuck to a pair of black or navy jeans, and a black or navy blazer with a different solid-coloured crew neck. You could stick to neutral trousers and jackets or monochromatic looks. Highlight them with coloured shirts, ties and pocket squares as accents.

Experiment with packing cubes, sacs, or folders

These ripstop, nylon or cloth travel storage bags and organizers come in sets of twos, threes or more, and in different sizes. They are an alternative to zip locks and are colour-coded with mesh or see-through covers.

The trick, however, is to grab a few and not overdo this precision packing. In India, online retailers like Amazon or eBay stock a few brands (for example, AmazonBasics, BagAge and Urban Living).

Roll-pack your suit jacket

Kolkata-based Nil of the fashion label Dev R Nil (Debarghya Bairagi and Navonil Das) suggests an easy way to pack a suit jacket into your suitcase. “This is more of a rolling technique than horizontal folding. Turn one suit jacket sleeve inside out. Now, tuck this sleeve into the other (right-sided) one. Then gently roll the jacket lengthwise into half without applying pressure on the shoulder pads. Place this on top of your clothes, right under the suitcase cover,” he says, suggesting that you should hang out the jacket as soon as you reach your destination.

Use the Ranger method wisely

Yes, the military or Ranger (burrito roll) packing is famous. But Gurgaon-based Sudeep Ahuja, a former Indian Army officer and chopper pilot, says, “I do it on hikes or adventure travel for a rucksack. Otherwise, I only roll and tuck softer clothes into every nook and crevice of the suitcase after I flat-pack my other clothes.”

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