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How to pack luggage quickly

Getting your luggage ready for a trip can seem like a massive undertaking, but it’s possible to pack a suitcase in under 30 minutes. Perhaps you’ve woken up late and are in a rush to pack or maybe you travel so regularly that you don’t want to waste precious time packing. Whatever your reason, packing a suitcase needn’t be time-consuming.

Picking the right case to pack your clothes in and having a clear head about what you need to bring with you makes the process easier. With a little organization, packing a suitcase in under 30 minutes should be no problem.

Pick your suitcase carefully

Start with a suitcase that’s the correct size to fit everything you need. If you choose a case that is too compact, you’ll need to repack in a larger one or make difficult decisions about what to bring and what to leave behind, which costs time. If you pick luggage that’s larger than you need, you’ll spend more time filling it with unnecessary items. Consider the length of your trip and choose a suitcase size accordingly.

Consider what you’ll need

Make a mental note of the types of clothes and other items you’ll need so you aren’t in a panic when confronting your closet. If you’re going on a beach vacation, pack bathing suits, tank tops, shorts and other casual clothing, sunblock, shades and so on. However, your wardrobe and other packing choices will be very different for a city break in the winter or a business trip. This might seem like a basic piece of advice, but it’s easy to get flustered when you’re in a hurry, so taking a calm minute to think about what you need before you get started packing can really help.

Make a quick packing list

When you’re packing quickly, you won’t have time to make an exhaustive list (unless you’re preparing in advance), but you can quickly jot down the essentials you can’t afford to forget, such as your passport and medication. Pack these essential items first. Unless you’re heading somewhere extremely rural, you should be able to buy most things you might forget to pack, so don’t stress too much.

packing list notebook

Of course, you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new wardrobe when you get to your destination, but if you have to buy toothpaste or a new bathing suit, it’s not the end of the world. If you travel regularly, you might want to make a general packing list to refer to each time or buy a packing list notebook.

Choose multifunctional pieces

The fewer clothes you need to pack, the less time it will take you to gather and fold them. Try building your wardrobe around garments you can wear a couple of times during your trip, such as shorts or pants you can wear with different tops, or a sweater that works with a few different outfits. A decent pair of jeans go a long way, assuming the weather’s right for them wherever you’re headed.

Lay out everything before packing

Before you pack everything, lay it out on the bed, table or sofa. This helps you make sure you’ve got everything you need. When you shift tasks quickly, such as getting one item of clothing out of a drawer, folding it, then packing it, it takes longer than when you group the same tasks together. So get everything out, fold them all up, then pack them into your suitcase. You should get in the swing of the job at hand and end up moving quicker than going back and forth between tasks.

Try not to overpack

Most people do it at one time or another, but there’s really no need to pack 10 tops for a five-day trip, multiple pairs of pants of the same cut or several pairs of smart shoes—just in case. Think carefully about what you’re packing because the less you bring, the faster you can pack your case.

Have toiletries ready to go

small travel bottles

If you travel regularly, keep a small bag of toiletries ready to go. Travel-size toiletries are handy, both to save space and for meeting liquid rules when flying. If you don’t want to buy travel-size toiletries every time, you can buy small travel bottles to decant into. Remember, if you’re flying with a carry-on only, all liquids must be packed in a small, clear bag and taken out of your luggage prior to going through security, so don’t pack them deep inside your bag.

Best travel products

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage

This top-quality hard-sided luggage is an excellent choice for anyone who regularly travels. It’s available in a range of colors and sizes to suit most individuals.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond

Packism Clear Toiletry Bag

Packism Clear Toiletry Bag

If you want the perfect bag to pack your toiletries in, look no further. It’s clear and TSA approved, so you can use it for liquids when flying; there’s no need to unpack and repack your toiletry bag at security or fly with your toiletries in a plastic baggie.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Amazon Basics 4-Piece Packing Cubes Set

Amazon Basics 4-Piece Packing Cubes Set

Some people find it easier to pack with them and some don’t, but if you’re on team packing cube, these are lifesavers. When you have time to prepare in advance but want to pack quickly on the day of travel, fill your packing cubes the day before and simply transfer them to your suitcase.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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