Packing advice needed, please - how to get the most stuff into a suitcase

<p>D is studying in China this fall and we are strategizing about how to fit four months' worth of stuff into a single suitcase. I know about putting socks in shoes but otherwise I am a packing novice. Any experts have any other tips?</p>

<p>Compression bags?!</p>

<p>I have started using packing cubes/envelopes, and I love them. They make packing/organizing so much easier. And they compress the clothing, so much more can fit. They come in different sizes/shapes.</p>

<p>The</a> Container Store > Eagle Creek® Black Pack-It® Folders</p>

<p>The</a> Container Store > Eagle Creek® Black Pack-It® Cubes</p>

<p>Great idea--I had no idea that there is such a thing! I had thought about the space-saver bags that you suck the air out of with a vacuum, but D will be in Beijing for a few days before going to Harbin and will need to unpack and repack at least some stuff. The compression bags look much simpler to use, and would help organize. I am slightly worried about weight limits but the suitcase she is using is very lightweight, and even if we have to pay extra because the bag ends up overweight, it is still cheaper than shipping stuff to China.</p>

<p>I love the Eagle Cree packing system too. One small cube for socks, one for undies, a bigger one for T-shirts/shorts/whatever, and the stuff you want to keep nice so it doesn't need to be ironed goes into the envelope. At the destination, you have instant drawer organizers. Un-packing and re-packing are almost painless!</p>

<p>I use the smallest sized cube for all the small office tools (scissors, mini-stapler, roll of tape) and electronic gadget charging cords. Two days ago I was at Target, and saw that they now sell their own version of the cubes which could save a bunch of money.</p>

<p>If she tightly rolls each piece of clothing instead of folding it, she can cram more into one bag. It doesn't look like it will make a difference but it makes a HUGE difference. </p>

<p>I learned this trick from a seasoned world traveler.</p>

<p>Another vote for tightly rolling each piece of clothing.</p>

<p>I fold and pack my clothing (shirts/pants) for my rolling bag vertically. When you open the case it looks like you just opened a filing cabinet drawer. The "tightness" keeps my clothes from moving around and you can compress quite a few items into a small space. </p>

<p>My niece.....well she says the solution is no socks and thong underwear........</p>

<p>When I've packed and needed a lot of space I've rolled things and found that it's worked really well. I've done it for cruises and been really happy with the lack of wrinkling. I would be concerned with space bags on this type of trip, however they do have the space bags that work via rolling the air out as opposed to using the vacuum. Maybe a combination of rolling some items and using a space bags that doesn't require a vacuum would work?</p>

<p>Kajon, the thought of no socks in Harbin made me smile. Harbin is the coldest city in China. I was there for the snow and ice festival in January and it was so cold that my eye lashes were frozen in clumps. I think it was -40.</p>

<p>On the other hand, there is a massive underground market full of cheap clothes and everybody was wearing full length down coats. So I'm guessing your D can pick up extra clothes easily if she doesn't feel like she took enough.</p>

<p>Agree with others about the Eagle Creek cubes, compression bags and rolling clothes (also minimizes wrinkles). Remember that weight matters as well as volume in terms of airline regs/fees and logistics for your student on the ground. Consider very light weight , quick drying items like underwear, shirts for layering, towels, etc. These may be worthwhile and can be found in stores that offer outdoor gear, even if that is otherwise irrelevant to her trip. If she can rinse some things in the sink and hang them to dry quickly, she won't need as many items. Our daughter traveled with very small, sink size foil packets of detergent on her last trip to Asia (the size of Shout wipes). It was helpful when combined with clothes that are fast drying.</p>

<p>If you have the layer closest to skin in a fast drying fabric, then you may get by with fewer of the heavier items like sweaters. Choosing a simple, 2-3 color coordinated approach to wardrobe also helps. Plan the wardrobe carefully and know that it won't be as varied as it is at home. Additionally, check out what a difference a light weight suitcase can make. The newer suitcases can weigh many pounds less in the same size as an older one. It helps a lot. Also, remember to have all vital things in the carry on only (prescriptions, over the counter meds, glasses, documents, phone, camera, etc.). Here's to a great trip.</p>

<p>Another fan of rolling. When I roll my clothes I often end up with so much stuff in the suitcase it's too heavy.</p>

<p>My daughter will be traveling to Africa in January. She is looking at REI</a> MultiTowel Large Towel - 37" x 23.5" at REI.com and REI</a> MultiTowel Lite Large Towel - 37" x 23.5" at REI.com for towels-they come in several sizes as well. Also, she has found Sierra</a> Trading Post - Great Deals. Great Brands. to be a good source for wash/quick dry clothing. However, she, of course, is equipping for a tropical climate.</p>

<p>Puzzled88-so jealous you visited the Harbin Ice Festival. For those of you unfamiliar with this astounding event, google it or watch You Tube clips. Wow. </p>

<p>Former Navy officer told me about military system- the "rolling" method, and have repacked many suitcases when kids couldn't fit their stuff in.</p>

<p>I use the packinglight website's method. It does not involve rolling but is a specific way of layering then bundling the clothes in your suitcase. It works incredibly well (though I have not done the rolling method so can't compare). If you google the site you can find illustrated step by step instructions. </p>

<p>A few years back I did a one month long Girl Scout trip through Europe traveling by train through several countries so wanted to travel as light as possible - I used to be a huge overpacker but since that trip have continued to travel with a small case and use the packing light method of packing.</p>

<p>ditto- roll clothes, wear the bulky shoes and coat, rei towel, color coordinate in same neutral color scheme (browns or blacks, etc), D's have gone for semesters at a time with one suitcase- it can be done. one pair dress, one pair casual of shoes, one dress etc.</p>

<p>If you do get everything to fit.. the trick will be the return trip. You D will likely have new items to bring home too. Consider sending her with some clothes and underwear/socks that she could part with.</p>

<p>agree! or better yet- visit her with half a suitcase full to take some things home</p>

<p>Packing cubes fan, also. After buying the Rick Steves brand, picked up some really cheap versions from Target in the laundry supplies aisle. They are white, mesh, with zippers. As cheap as $1.99 each. They come in two different shapes.</p>

<p>I also roll clothes and put them in the mesh bags.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>You may have more of an issues with weight limits. Check the requirements with the airline website. We went to China this summer and the allowable luggage per person was 2 suitcase with 50 lbs limit each. Domestic airlines in China was one suitcase with 40 or 45 lbs limit depending on the airline. We had a 27 inch suitcase, it was not even full before it exceeded the weight limit. Pack clothing of light material and wear in layers. Wear/carry the heavy item on carryon, if possible. I also suggestted getting a travel scale (less than $10) so that she does not get hit with surcharge for overpacking when coming back. I am sure she will have more stuff coming home.</p>