Packing Techniques

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Deck yourself out for your next cruise! What clothes should you bring, and what should stay at home. Offer up packing tips, and savvy shopping info, too
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#1
890 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
So, this may be a strange question.....

What do you find is the most efficient way to pack items in a suitcase? Typically, I just fold things into two piles, cram the smaller things where the gaps are, and voila! This also is when I leave locally and have (basically) no restriction on luggage. I take enough clothes for "what if" plus a daily change of clothes, some pants for crazy flaky weather, etc. I can admit I do overpack.

Now, my family and I will be flying for our upcoming vacation - and I am SUPER nervous about getting everything in the bags! We have 7 of us all together, me, hubby, and 5 kids. I am looking to take 4 bags of checked luggage and maybe 1 carry on if necessary?

So my questions are:

1) What guidelines do you use when determining how much clothes to pack? Do you re-wear certain clothes more than once? (I will not have washing machine access). However I am going from warm weather to warm weather, so no pants, sweaters, etc needed.

2) How do tho most efficiently pack everything in your bag? I've heard rolling clothes works well? Does anyone do this? Anyone have any pictures? (crazy I know! LOL)

3) Any other tips to help me? This is our first flight and Im super anxious about it!


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#2
Burlington, VT
6,925 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
For the past few years, we have packed our shirts/tops in two or three clear, sealable vacuum bags.

I lay a number of tops, on hangers, on top of each other on our kitchen island counter. I'm very careful to soothe out wrinkles. When I have about 12 garments in a stack, I fold in the arms and then fold it in thirds horizontally. I then slide the garments into the vacuum bag, remove as much air as possible, then seal using the built-in zipper. I don't extract any more air after this. Onboard, I open the bag, unfold and hang. Have always had very few wrinkles.

It's a quick and easy way to pack. We've done the folding, rolling, packing cubes...the vacuum bag is quicker, easier and we end up with fewer wrinkles. The bags, by the way, are available at Walmart.

Lew
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#3
Raleigh NC
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Joined Oct 2007
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#4
Ontario ~ Canada
2,335 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I'm not sure it these are available in your area but we love them.

http://shop.heys.ca/products/jetpack...-packing-shelf

I hang them up at home to pack. Compress and put in the suitcase.
Take out once we hit the stateroom. Unpacking takes about 2 min.




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#5
17,908 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Rolling is best. The issue with compression bags is that even though you squeeze out the air, your stuff still has weight so your bag may be too heavy.

Roll almost everything..make a couple layers...it works....I sell luggage for a living....

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#6
6,362 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
I pack all my hanging clothing on thin hangers. That makes unpacking easy. The hangers I use came with luggage I had many years ago.
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#7
West Sussex
1,179 Posts
Joined May 2011
My daughter has introduced me to bundle packing and I used it on my last cruise. It was amazing, used much less space and best of all it wasn't creased. I would definitely use it again.

She went on a week's holiday to the Caribbean last year with just a carry on case.
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#8
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
2,761 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Every year I visit my sister in Maine for Thanksgiving. I've been using a method I stumbled across in which they claim you can pack for 60 days in just a carryon. I thought "Yeah, sure..." But I tried it, and it works! I don't skimp on the clothes, either. I pack bulky sweaters, jeans, sweatshirts, etc. Here is the link to a video showing this method. It may be the "bundling" method referred to by Hairymelon.

http://www.packinglight.net/travel_info_depot.aspx
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#9
Country NSW Australia
2,067 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
I have watched quite a few videos on youtube on packing. Some good, and some not for me, but I would recommend you spend a while searching around.

I have been reading some of the threads on here about cruise wear and one had a link to Project 333. While I haven't got that efficient, I have done a lot of cleaning out the wardrobe, and it is my belief that if you try to live with less for a while at home you may feel more comfortable when on holiday that you have actually packed enough.

On a recent clean out I donated a skirt to charity, and realised it had been on 3 cruises with me. It was not comfortable and went with nothing else, so I had NEVER actually worn it!

Be strong, you can do it.
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#10
Green Bay, WI
4,487 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
A couple of additional comments - assuming you will use one of the previously mentioned packing methods that you are comfortable with.

You can have laundry done on board - there is usually a laundry "bag" special. You can also handwash a few things if you have to and hang to dry.

Evening dinner clothes can be worn more than once, and I don't just mean "formal night" - I am thinking long pants/blouses/shirts, etc. During the day I find t-shirts etc.. get pretty sweaty. You may find you just wear swimsuites and coverups during the day - depends on your plans. Don't obsess about having shoes to match outfits, etc.

Try to cross pack so that if one suitcase is lost or delayed you don't lose all the clothes for one person.

Watch your weight on the cases - pack a few heavy things such as shoes in each case.

Remember the TSA rules regarding liquids ...... if you have the time plan to purchase your toiletries (especially for that number of people) on your way to the pier - cuts down on weight and possible spills.

Same thing if you plan on purchasing wine to take on board - has to be in your packed suitcase for flying - can be heavy. Either wrap well in plastic bag or purchase on the way to the pier.

Make sure you remove all tags from your luggage - just have the airline tags on - you should put your RC tags on after you claim your bags at the airport.

You can normally take a carry-on per person - check your airline rules and regulations regarding luggage restrictions. You might prefer to do this rather than just take one carry-on.

Old fashioned tip, but I do it anyway! I put a note on top of each suitcase with the name of the ship, dates, etc. just in case a bag gets lost. I figure that way the airline can forward the bag to me - not send it home!

Enjoy your cruise!
#11
Fredericksburg, va. USA
84,246 Posts
Joined May 2001
I rewear shorts...generally, I'll wear shorts to breakfast, then change into bathing suit....I've only had the shorts on for a bit...so they're fine to wear again! I try not to bring anything to "bulky"..just takes up too much space.

It's not my clothes that are the problem...it's hubby's! His are much larger than mine...along with his big, ole shoes!! I limit what shoes he can bring!
#12
6,621 Posts
Joined May 2009
Statistically speaking 20%- 25% of what is packed is actually never used or even needed. So make a list first and than eliminate 20%-25% of it.

FYI - I cruise only using an 18" carry-on and a small tote bag and even at that several items are never used. All clothing and accessories packed must be interchangable with 2 other items otherwise it does not get pack. Yes I wear items twice.
#13
Burlington, VT
6,925 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by megr1125

The issue with compression bags is that even though you squeeze out the air, your stuff still has weight so your bag may be too heavy.
You're kidding...right?

Your stuff weighs the same whether you pack it in a vacuum bag, roll it, cube it...however you pack it. The bag itself weighs next to nothing.

Am I missing something?

Lew
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#14
Tampa, FL
1,445 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by -Lew-
You're kidding...right?

Your stuff weighs the same whether you pack it in a vacuum bag, roll it, cube it...however you pack it. The bag itself weighs next to nothing.

Am I missing something?

Lew
I think the point is, that when compressing you can fit even more into a bag, so weight sneaks up on you and it's easy to go over the weight limits.
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#15
Tucson, AZ
934 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by jmrothermel
So, this may be a strange question.....

What do you find is the most efficient way to pack items in a suitcase? Typically, I just fold things into two piles, cram the smaller things where the gaps are, and voila! This also is when I leave locally and have (basically) no restriction on luggage. I take enough clothes for "what if" plus a daily change of clothes, some pants for crazy flaky weather, etc. I can admit I do overpack.

Now, my family and I will be flying for our upcoming vacation - and I am SUPER nervous about getting everything in the bags! We have 7 of us all together, me, hubby, and 5 kids. I am looking to take 4 bags of checked luggage and maybe 1 carry on if necessary?

So my questions are:

1) What guidelines do you use when determining how much clothes to pack? Do you re-wear certain clothes more than once? (I will not have washing machine access). However I am going from warm weather to warm weather, so no pants, sweaters, etc needed.

2) How do tho most efficiently pack everything in your bag? I've heard rolling clothes works well? Does anyone do this? Anyone have any pictures? (crazy I know! LOL)

3) Any other tips to help me? This is our first flight and Im super anxious about it!


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A great general rule for cruising that will help with the packing:

Take half as many clothes and twice as much cash.

Seriously, most people (including me) take way too much stuff with them on cruises. As for how to cram the maximum amount of stuff into a bag, rolling everything is the answer (learned that in the military).
Originally posted by -Lew-
You're kidding...right?

Your stuff weighs the same whether you pack it in a vacuum bag, roll it, cube it...however you pack it. The bag itself weighs next to nothing.

Am I missing something?

Lew
Yes, you are. By rolling the clothes, you can fit more clothes into the same fixed space (the bag). 5 shirts weigh the same no matter what. But a bag with 5 shirts weighs much less than a bag with 10 rolled shirts in it.
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#16
France - sometimes UK and USA
1,048 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by hairymelon
My daughter has introduced me to bundle packing and I used it on my last cruise. It was amazing, used much less space and best of all it wasn't creased. I would definitely use it again.

She went on a week's holiday to the Caribbean last year with just a carry on case.
What is bundle packing please?
#17
17,908 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Originally posted by -Lew-
You're kidding...right?

Your stuff weighs the same whether you pack it in a vacuum bag, roll it, cube it...however you pack it. The bag itself weighs next to nothing.

Am I missing something?

Lew

Sorry, shouldn't post before coffee..

Let me clarify...if you save SPACE, you're likely to take MORE stuff, thus adding to the weight....

I have people all the time who buy space bags and then say WOW I had all this room, took more stuff and went over weight. Well...YEAH....of course....

Does that make sense?
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#18
17,908 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Originally posted by sr4mjc
I think the point is, that when compressing you can fit even more into a bag, so weight sneaks up on you and it's easy to go over the weight limits.
Thanks...obviously you're 1) a mind reader, and 2) more caffeinated that I was...
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My Cruise History:
Royal-too many to count, X-3, NCL-2, CCL-too many to count, MSC-1, HAL-1
So many cruises, so little time and money!

illegitmi non carborundum kmt
#20
Orange City, Fl
176 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
I learned a trick in the Air Force many years ago. When I packed my duffel bag I would fold items in third then roll them up. It's was amazing nothing wrinkled. I do that now when packing a suitcase. Seems to get more items in.

Bill
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