Travel tips: How to pack to avoid wrinkles

Packing to avoid wrinkles is easy if you use these tips.

Packing to avoid wrinkles should be the goal of every traveler, but many people believe this is one thing that is easier said than done. Numerous travelers have packed neatly pressed garments away in suitcases, only to have to send them all out to hotel laundresses or drag out ironing boards after unpacking. What are the best ways to minimize arriving at a destination with wrinkled clothing in your suitcase? Let’s look at some suggestions.

Travel tips: How to pack to avoid wrinkles

Using a garment bag to pack your clothing is one way to avoid wrinkles. Garment bags accommodate clothing on hangers, and the entire bag can be hung on a clothes rod on a plane, in a closet, in the car, or elsewhere. Clothing such as suits or dresses is easy to transport in a garment bag, and packing is simple since folding the garments is unnecessary. Most garment bags have inside or outside pockets for shoes, underwear and other small items you might need to complete your wardrobe. The bag can remain hanging until travel begins, then it can be folded over and carried with a handle.

Choosing clothing made of certain fabrics can also minimize wrinkling. Knit clothing made of synthetic fabrics or blends wrinkles less than 100% cotton fabrics or other fabrics that have to be pressed to be presentable. If you are traveling for business and need a starched shirt, you may not have a wide choice of fabrics, but many travelers should be able to choose clothing in fabrics that will travel well. Knits are also easier to pack and take up less space in a suitcase.
Another way to avoid wrinkles while packing is to use the method of rolling your clothing. Rolling, instead of folding, both minimizes wrinkles and saves space in your suitcase. Here’s how to roll a shirt and pants: Place the shirt on a flat surface, front side up, collar facing you. Smooth the wrinkles out of the shirt. Fold the sleeves in against the front of the shirt. Beginning with the collar, roll up the shirt, making sure to smooth it as you roll. To make a smaller roll, fold the shirt in half lengthwise after you fold in the sleeves, and then roll. To fold pants, place them on a flat surface, smooth out wrinkles, and fold in half, putting one leg of the pants over the other leg. Roll up, beginning at the waistband of the pants. Other pieces of clothing can be rolled in a similar way and then put into the suitcase.

A packing aid that can also reduce space in your suitcase is a plastic bag that allows it to be flattened by removing the air inside. Different types and sizes of bags can be purchased in luggage or home storage departments; these bags are also useful for condensing dirty clothing as your trip progresses. Several items of clothing can be put inside each bag. Smooth away wrinkles first and stack clothing neatly before you put it inside the bag. Then seal the bag and suck out the air, either with a vacuum cleaner through an outlet hole, or by rolling the bag, depending on the type you have purchased. The bag deflates, making a flat package that you simply place in your suitcase. If your clothing is put into the bag unwrinkled, it will be unwrinkled when you reinflate the bag. To reinflate the bag after you unpack, simply open the end and remove the clothing; the bag opens like a Ziploc bag.

The easiest way to avoid wrinkles is to take an empty suitcase and purchase clothing on your trip, but that, of course, would not be an ideal situation for everyone. With a little preparation and practice you should be able to learn to pack to avoid wrinkles. Choose fabrics carefully while shopping; wrinkle-free clothing specifically for traveling is sold in some stores or can be ordered from travel catalogs or over the internet. If you are taking more formal clothing, choose a garment bag; for more casual clothing, practice rolling or use the stacked plastic bags. As you gain expertise in packing, your wrinkles should all disappear.

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