Why wrestle with your stuff? Line, lay, roll, and fold your way to a well-organized bag.
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A suitcase looks spacious enough -- until you begin filling it. To learn how to pack like a pro, we enlisted three seasoned travelers. Martha Stewart, for one, protects shoes and loose items with felt bags. To keep dresses and suits wrinkle-free, Heather Poole, a flight attendant, lays them flat, then rolls shirts and sweaters to save space. And Brad John, co-owner of Flight 001, stows toiletries in accessible containers and places them on top. Use these ingenious strategies, and your zipper will thank you. "When you travel with just a carry-on, always use a hard case," says John. "It can't expand, so you won't overstuff it, and it will always fit the requirements." Rimowa "Salsa Deluxe 29" suitcase, hidesinshape.com.
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Line the bottom with shoes and tech gear in bags. Fill the center with rolled-up jeans and jackets.
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Lay dresses and pants lengthwise on top of the first layer, letting the ends hang over the sides of the luggage.
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Roll shirts and sweaters. Place them on top of the second layer. Cover them with the ends of the dresses and pants from the layer underneath.
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Things to Keep in Mind
- Liquids should be poured into 3.4-ounce containers and stored in 1-quart resealable bags.
- Every bag is inspected, so your luggage lock must be TSA-approved. Find one at safeskieslocks.com.
- Each air carrier designates its own size restrictions for carry-on luggage, though most draw the line at 40 pounds and an outside dimension of 45 inches (the sum of the bag's length, width, and depth). Check your airline's website before embarking.