Travel packing tips: how to pack a small suitcase

Read this article to discover the best way to pack a suitcase to fit in as much as possible.

Updated 6 June 2019

In the middle of packing a suitcase with it lying open

Key Steps

  • Use all available space including socks in your shoes and filling gaps with your phone charger.
  • Try out packing tips like rolling clothes instead of folding them.
  • Zip your suitcase to compress the contents and free up space.
  • Use travel space saver or zip lock bags to remove excess air and free up space.

Whether you're packing light due to hand luggage size restrictions or you're limiting your backpacking supplies to one rucksack, it’s always handy to know how to pack a small suitcase efficiently. This article will share the best way to pack a suitcase by folding clothing to fit in as much as possible, as well as tips on packing light and cleverly.

When packing light it’s best to use a material suitcase or rucksack instead of a hard one. This will allow you to get more in to the small space available.

Top seven packing tips for suitcase and rucksack packing

The best way to pack a suitcase is to make the most of every bit of space available to you. Here are our top seven packing tips for packing a suitcase efficiently.

  1. Plan ahead. Before packing, draw up two lists. One of everything that you need, including medications and sun cream. The second is a plan of outfits. When you’re packing light choose one core piece, such as a pair of black trousers, which you can adapt for both casual and smart occasions with other items.
  2. Roll, don’t fold. Rolling your clothing is the best way to pack a suitcase to make sure that you fit in as much as possible. This will also help to keep your clothing wrinkle-free.
  3. Use your shoes. You’ll probably want more than one pair of shoes on your holiday. Wear the bulkiest pair and use the inside of others to store socks and underwear inside your suitcase.
  4. Zip up to pack more. Even if you think you’ve packed everything you can, you may still be able to get more in. Zipping up your suitcase compresses the contents, meaning you may find some extra space in the corners or between large items.
  5. Bag it up. Travel space saver bags or standard zip lock bags are great ways to compress clothing and other items when packing a suitcase. They remove the air and allowing each piece to take up less space.
  6. Use the bundle packing method. You may have seen YouTube videos of this fun and efficient technique for packing bags. Start with the smallest items such as socks and underwear, wrapping each item around the other to create a bundle.
  7. Fill small spaces. If there are spots in between your clothes, shoes and more, fill them in with phone chargers and other small, more awkward items.

With these top travel packing tips for suitcases with limited space, packing bags for cabin size restrictions and easy travelling will be a breeze. Bon voyage!

Originally published 6 June 2019