Not keen on sharing a suitcase with your man? We tapped a couple of organization experts to help you breeze through the packing process and end up with an organized selection of gear — not a rumpled mess.
In a perfect world, we’d be able to check free unlimited bags on airplanes… and someone else would have to lug our giant suitcases around from taxi to car to hotel. (We’d also bring a hatbox in fantasy-land, too, just because.) But the reality is that space, money and human strength is limited, so sometimes we have to share a suitcase… usually with the man-beast we’re committed to. Inconvienent as it seems, there are major perks for you, including cold, hard cash:
“The less you pack, the less the airline is likely to lose, so packing in one suitcase is smart,” says Stephanie Goldberg Glazer, a travel agent and professional organizer. “It will also save you on baggage fees — more margaritas for you!”
One suitcase, two people, however, doesn’t have to result in a giant mess of balled-up clothes and dirty shoes. Here are a few tips on how to pack for vacay and feel great about the space and cash you saved:
Get real about what you’re bringing — then edit
“Be honest with the amount of space you are each going to take up,” says professional organizer Bonnie Joy Dewkett. “Are you dividing 50/50?”
We’ll guess probably not. But even if your guy lets you take up a little more room (or you concede to his clothes-horse demands), don’t toss in seven evening gowns just because.
“Only take what you need,” says Glazer. “Be thoughtful about your clothes. Pick and choose your outfits ahead of time. You don’t need to bring everything ‘just in case’ you feel like wearing something else.”
Invest in packing cubes
Using portable zippered containers called “packing cubes” will save you a world of hurt, syas Dewkett.
“These give you divisions so you contain all of your shirts, pants, socks, panties, etc.,” she says. “They’re great for packing with someone, as your stuff can be packed together but stay separate. They also make it easy to separate on the destination end when you unpack. On the way home, pack clean clothes in cubes together and dirty clothes in cubes together.”
Be ruthless about shoes
“His shoes likely take up more room than yours,” says Glazer. “That does not give you license to pack more shoes. Rather, it gives you incentive to make him limit to one pair to pack and one on his feet. The same should go for you, too, unless you are going on a cruise or to a wedding and need an extra pair of dress shoes.”
And about those giant man-loafers we mentioned earlier, on the way back home, use this trick for shoes: “Grab the shower cap from your destination to protect clothes from dirt,” says Dewkett.
Secret weapon: dry-cleaning plastic
Wrinkling is a big-time concern when you’re packing — especially if you want to go to a nice restaurant or event while you’re away. But now you’ve got an ace up your sleeve:
“If you need your shirts fresh-from-the-iron crisp when you arrive, fold them carefully in between dry-cleaning plastic and lay them gently on the top of the bag, horizontally, so they’re the last thing to go in. There is a reason the dry-cleaners use that stuff!”
Another de-creasing tip: “Roll clothes. They wrinkle less,” Dewkett says. “Then hang them in the bathroom when you arrive. The steam releases wrinkles.”
Shell out big bucks for carry-ons, and save on big suitcases
“Buy a carry-on that is made well, so you don’t have to keep replacing it,” says Glazer. “On the other hand, I buy cheap bags to check because, let’s face it, the airline luggage people are not so nice to our bags. I like the rolling duffel bags. You can fit a lot of stuff in them, and there is usually an upper and lower compartment — perfect for ‘his’ and ‘hers.'”
And remember: If you forget something, take it in stride. After all, you’re on vacation! Whatever you left behind or decided not to bring to save space, you can probably buy where you’re going.