Travel + Leisure

How to pack like a pro

There are two types of “packers” in the world: those who pack days in advance and those who do it the night before. Independent of when you start packing, the goal is the same — to show up wrinkle-free for a memorable first impression. Use the following techniques to make sure your clothes arrive as ready as you are.

Rolling vs. folding

Difficult creases, such as the ones you get on your jacket, shirt or dress, are public enemy No. 1. You can reduce wrinkles simply by altering the way you fold. Typically, people will fold their clothing items in half or in thirds and then stack them in the suitcase (left). Upon arrival to their destination, travelers who do this will find gridlines on all of their items. Try rolling to reduce the number of folds (right). This also saves space in your bag.

Bundle wrap/burrito 

An alternative to the simple fold is the “bundle wrap” or the “burrito.” This technique revolves around a “core.” The core is made up of socks, undergarments and t-shirts, wrapped by items you want wrinkle-free. Start by laying out your jacket or most wrinkle-prone item with the front facing down. Then lay on the next item, face down but rotated 180 degrees. The pattern continues for all wrinkle-prone items. If you are a visual learner, this video further explains the process. A major downside to this technique is if you need items from the middle, you will have to unravel the whole ball for fresh socks or an undershirt. In addition, it is not the most TSA-search friendly method.

Plastic, not paper

Friction causes wrinkles. Reduce the friction, reduce the wrinkles. A cost-effective method is using dry cleaning bags. They may be sitting around your apartment, or you can ask for extras from the cleaners. Place each item in a separate bag and stack them at the base of your suitcase. Even though items will be folded to a degree, the plastic will reduce any friction, leaving them almost wrinkle-free. However, your suitcase will be full of plastic bags, potentially leading to a suitcase of bunched up items. Try this when packing a few items, and alternate layers of plastic with other clothes to prevent the bags from moving in transit.

Garment bag

Features of a garment bag can vary significantly; it could include wheels or pockets and can differ in color, length and more. A garment bag allows you to lay your clothes flat and collapse the bag in half. The bag circumvents the need to fold or roll clothing and can be checked for flights. If rolling laundry or the bundle wrap sound troublesome, invest in a garment bag. Although it is great for shirts, jackets and short dresses, the bag can cause creasing in pants and long dresses.

Travel steamer

Even the most seasoned travelers will tell you that wrinkles are simply unavoidable. A solution is the travel steamer. This travel-ready product fits in your checked bag and addresses those pesky creases. While it takes up space in your suitcase, it will ensure you arrive to events looking sharp.

Whether you find yourself packing three days or three hours ahead of your departure, the way you do it makes all the difference. Remember that wrinkles are caused by friction. Anything you can do to reduce the friction in your bag will mean fewer wrinkles when you arrive. From plastic to garment bags or simply different folding techniques, you have options at varying price tags. If a travel steamer is outside of your budget, call your hotel and ask if rooms include irons or if they can be rented.

Good luck with your future travels. I hope to see you wrinkle-free at the next ASDA meeting.

~Ryan Twaddle, Marquette ’19, chapter legislative associate

Ryan Twaddle

Ryan is a member of the class of 2019 at the Marquette University School of Dentistry. He pursued dentistry after volunteering in a refugee camp and has never looked back. His involvement in the community, history of lobbying in Washington, D.C., and passion for ASDA legislation launched his advocacy career involving access to care. His post-graduate plans include serving in the U.S. Navy and focusing on public health.

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