Travel Tips

How to Get the Most Space from Your Suitcase

A woman smiles while she packs up her suitcase.

Traveling efficiently is not just about packing light; it’s also about packing smart.

Whether you’re embarking on a weekend getaway, a hiking adventure, or a long vacation, maximizing the space in your pack can save you from unnecessary stress. Learning how to pack a suitcase to maximize space is a life skill that will reward you time and time again.

The best part about it? You don’t have to sacrifice your essentials, style, or comfort.

Table of Contents

Roll Your Clothes
Take Advantage of Packing Cubes
Use Vacuum Seal Bags for Bulky Items
Use Packing Folders for Wrinkle-Prone Clothes
Stuff Your Shoes
Layer Clothes Strategically
Minimize Toiletries with Solid Alternatives

Roll Your Clothes

A packed suitcase full of rolled up clothes.

If you want to master how to maximize suitcase space, then you must stop folding your clothes. Rolling your clothes is a space-saving technique that minimizes wrinkles while making better use of your space.

Fold each item as close to a rectangle shape as possible and then roll it up. You might be surprised at how many more items you can fit into your suitcase when they’re rolled up rather than folded items piled on top of one another.

Take Advantage of Packing Cubes

Blue packing cubes with clothes rolled inside.

When you’re figuring out how to pack a suitcase in a way that works for you, don’t underestimate the power of packing cubes. Packing cubes not only keep your belongings organized but also help you make the most of your suitcase space.

Categorize your items and pack them into separate packing cubes. These cubes are available in various sizes and are designed to fit neatly into your luggage. This will allow you to keep your belongings neater throughout your travels, make it easier to find things during your trip, and allow you to bring more essentials.

Use Vacuum Seal Bags for Bulky Items

A person vacuums the air out of a bag with clothes inside.

If you’re trying to figure out how to maximize suitcase space for a long, extended trip, you definitely want to use vacuum seal bags. This is also the case if you need to bring bulky items like winter coats, blankets, or towels.

Vacuum seal bags might be your new travel besties. Place your items in these bags, seal them, and use a vacuum cleaner to remove excess air. The result is a compact and space-efficient package that can easily fit in your suitcase.

(One thing to keep in mind: you will need a way to suck out the air again on your return journey unless you aren’t bringing those items back.)

Use Packing Folders for Wrinkle-Prone Clothes

A neatly folded dress shirt with a tie on top.

For clothes that wrinkle easily but you need to keep neat, packing folders are a great packing hack. Fold your shirts, blouses, and trousers neatly and place them in a packing folder.

While using a packing folder might not immediately seem like a space-saver, when you think about the alternative—such as traveling with an extra garment bag or laying your clothes flat in your suitcase to avoid wrinkles—these folders save a lot of space.

These folders have folding boards that help maintain the shape of your clothes and minimize wrinkles. You’ll be amazed at how much space you save while keeping your attire looking sharp.

Stuff Your Shoes

A person puts shoes stuffed with socks inside a suitcase.

When you look at your suitcase and wonder how to pack to maximize space, don’t be afraid to get creative. What are some ways you can make use of dead space?

Try stuffing the empty space inside your shoes with smaller items. Socks, underwear, and accessories can be rolled and tucked inside your shoes.

Not only will this help your shoes keep their shape through travel, but you can also prevent other items from getting crushed while freeing up other valuable space in your suitcase.

Layer Clothes Strategically

Open suitcase with folded clothes, shoes and accessories on a bed.

The key to mastering how to pack a suitcase is strategy. You can’t just add your items randomly. When packing your suitcase for any type of trip, layer strategically.

Place your most wrinkle-resistant items, like jeans or T-shirts, at the bottom of your suitcase. Use packing folders with compartments to separate delicate fabrics and prevent them from creasing. Fit small items into the nooks and crannies left by bigger items.

This way, you can optimize space while keeping your clothes looking fresh.

Minimize Toiletries with Solid Alternatives

A girl with wet, sudsy hair stands holding a square bar of shampoo.

Instead of packing bulky liquid toiletries in an awkward plastic bag that might leak all over your suitcase, opt for solid toiletries instead.

Solid shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste can save valuable space in your toiletry bag because they don’t need any careful handling. Invest in a set of solid toiletries, and you can travel worry-free.


By implementing these space-saving tips and using clever packing tools, you can learn how to pack a suitcase to maximize space in no time. No matter the trip you’re about to take or the bag you’re using, a little bit of packing strategy and planning will enhance your travel experience. Happy travels!

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