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Readers Share Their Best Packing Tricks

This week, we've gotten a ton of additional packing recommendations from readers inspired by our Avoid Fees and Hassles With a Well-Packed Bag photo gallery. Read on to learn additional traveler-tested ways to make the most of limited baggage space.

Divide and Conquer (Lost Baggage)

AuntBev9 has found a smart way to protect herself against lost baggage: "One thing I've learned (the hard way) is that when traveling with your spouse, pack half of your clothes and shoes in one suitcase and the other half in your spouse's. That way, if one suitcase gets lost, you'll both have some clothes in the other."

Make the Most of Every Nook and Cranny

Three readers wrote in to suggest rolling underwear and stuffing them inside the shoes you pack. Not only is it a space-saver, but it helps shoes maintain their shape in a heavy suitcase. If you're not super keen on packing clean underwear in dirty shoes, Dena B. and Lea both recommend sealing them in a plastic baggie first.

Kathy has this space-saving makeup tip that is also great for anyone traveling with only a carry-on: "Take powder make-up and blush, and eyeliner pencils instead of the liquids. It saves a little room."

Terry D. avoids checking baggage with these efficient carry-on packing tips: "Put underwear and socks in the bottom of suitcases in between the ribs where the handle goes when it's down. Put flat things like books and magazines or ponchos in the outside pockets of the suitcase. Not only do they fit nicely there, but they are accessible if you need them. Incidentally, a poncho is always more useful than an umbrella." He also suggests wearing your bulkiest shoes and outerwear so you won't have to pack them, and sticking gloves and scarves in the pocket of the coat you're wearing.

Outsmart Wrinkles

Carol C. suggests a novel way to keep clothes pressed: "After folding shirts that might tend to wrinkle, I wrap each one in thin plastic, the kind that covers your clothes that come from the dry cleaners. This minimizes wrinkles because the garment seems to slide between other packed items."

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Out With the Old ...

Both Evelyn and Patti "Streamline" G. suggest packing older or "disposable" clothes to free up room for purchases on the way home. Evelyn says, "I take older PJs, t-shirts, turtlenecks, undies, socks, jeans, even shoes, and throw them away as they get dirty. I once spent an entire week in London in winter and threw away ALL of my clothes (and filled my suitcase with things from London)." Patti says "old clothes can be left for cleaning staff—just write a note on them. An old pairs of jeans and jammies left behind really permit space for souvenirs."

Patti also recommends bringing a bunch of zip-close plastic bags for everything from toiletries to dirty laundry, and even souvenirs. To pack lighter, she also prefers to "rip out the pages of the tour books, and only take those cities that you will be visiting, and put those in a zip bag."

Do you have more packing tricks? Share them with other readers below!

Read comments or add your own insight!
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