HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO

Hello! Today I’m very excited to be teaming up with 6 of my favorite friends from the Blogosphere to bring you…

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Each of these 7 stylish and talented bloggers will be sharing their own take on travel tips. So I hope you’ll pop on over for a visit with each and every one of them. Here are handy links to their terrific blogs:

“How to Take the Stress Out of Packing When Every Outfit Counts” by Brenda Kinsel

“Steps To Plan An Unforgettable Large Group Vacation” by Classic Casual Home

And, I’ll be sharing…

How To Pack Your Suitcase Like A Pro

As the days grow longer it’s time to start planning your spring or summer vacation. And as a seasoned traveler, for my part in this collaboration I’m excited to share with you “How To Pack Your Suitcase Like A Pro”.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I’ve just finished packing my suitcase for an extended, 3 week trip to Europe where I will be visiting my 48th country, Ireland. We’ll also be making stops in Canada, France and England. These are countries I’ve already checked off my list, but we will be visiting cities I’ve yet to see including Saint Malo & Mont Saint Michele.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 73 | Mont Saint-Michel, France | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Mont Saint Michele

We’ll be traveling by cruise ship for 14 of the 21 one days of our trip, and the weather forecast will consistently be in the low 50 degrees during the day, and 40’s during the evenings. I’ll need smart casual clothing for the days, and Country Club attire for the evenings. Thankfully our cruise line has done away with formal nights. So although it’s spring, I plan to pack cool weather clothing. And, so that I may dress in layers, I also plan to establish a color palette that will allow me some flexibility to mix and match.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 73 | Oceania Cruise Lines, Marina | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Plan Your Wardrobe To Mix & Match, Layer & Accessorize

When planning my wardrobe for this trip I was able to take advantage of some sales. Since I was shopping for cool weather clothing I was able to catch some end-of-season winter sales on things like turtleneck sweaters from Chicos.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I decided to pack 7 complete daytime outfits that would allow me to wear something completely different for a full week of our 3 week trip. So, I selected 7 Coolmax Turtleneck Sweaters on sale now at Chicos for $49.99. I folded them all into the exact same width and length so they’d fit well into my suitcase.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Next I selected 8 pairs of pants. One fancy pair was strictly for evening wear, so it didn’t count as part of my 1 week daytime wardrobe. To get them ready for packing they were freshly laundered, ironed and folded in half.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For layering, and to give me the extra warmth I’d need, I added 3 quilted & lined vests in Black, Navy and Green. They are the Barbour label, a very popular UK brand, so I’d look right in fashion while in Ireland and England. This brand can be found at Nordstrom and at Orvis.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Next I selected scarves that would accessorize all of my mix-and-match outfits.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It’s amazing what a scarf can do to complete an outfit, make one look put together, and speak volumes for your taste and sophistication. Here’s my Barbour Vest paired with a sweater, scarf and a jeans, the perfect travel ensemble.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Mesh Laundry Bags Make Perfect Packing Bags

To keep my scarves neat and together in my suitcase I zipped them up in one of my mesh lingerie laundry bags. It also prevents them from wrinkling. You can purchase an inexpensive set like mine here.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In addition to scarves I added a reversible cashmere wrap. This J. McLaughlin Wrap in Black/Gray goes from day to night and from casual to fancy. It is the perfect neutral accessory that keeps one warm as well as looking chic. It’s great for throwing in your carry-on luggage for a long-haul flight when you might need extra warmth in transit. I LOVE MINE. You can get a similar one by clicking here. They are available in 6 colors. Thank you Mary Ann from Classic Casual Home for telling me about this timeless accessory.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Mixing & Matching Outfits

To insure I was packing just the right things to take me through a 3 week cruise and land vacation I started laying out my outfits, mixing and matching to really see what I’d be ending up with. Smart blue jeans in a dark wash are perfect anywhere. Mine are NYDJ Ami Skinny.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

By simply changing the sweater and scarf I could create a whole new look.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In the photo below I’ve repeated the scarf and green sweater but changed the pants and vest. Here the pants are NYDJ Skinny Chino Pants with zippered pockets in Dry Sage, currently deep discounted at $58.98.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In the photo below I’ve created 2 outfits using either a black or gray sweater paired with my NYDJ Alina Skinny Jeans in Black (on sale now for $78.98) and my black vest.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For the evening I’ve added a longline vest trimmed in leather & black NYDJ Ami Skinny Pants in coated denim that looks like leather, on sale now for $98.98. These are some of my favorite pants! Here I’m using the same black or gray sweaters used previously.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Here I’ve added a 4th vest in gray that pairs with both a light gray or pink sweater and a coordinating scarf. The pants are NYDJ Skinny Chino Pants in Mineral with Zipper Pockets. They come in 3 other colors as well and are currently on sale for only $58.98, a real bargain for NYDJ! 

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For a bit of a dressier look I can use the same sweater and scarf with my NYDJ Ami Skinny Coated Pants in a pretty shade called Current. They are on sale at NYDJ.com right now and can be had by clicking here. They fit great, have the look of expensive leather, and are one of my favorite pairs of pants.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

To go with my neutral colored NYDJ Ami Skinny Jeans in a color called Pale Oak, (also available in 9 other colors) I added another neutral colored beige vest by Orvis, an off-white Chico’s Turtleneck Sweater and a Burberry Cashmere Scarf. These neutral colored pants, vest and sweater would also pair up nicely with many of the other items I’ll be packing for this trip.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Now you can’t pack just sweaters so to round out my wardrobe I also added several solid colored blouses that would pair nicely with many of the pants I’ve packed. They would look great with blue jeans but could also be dressy when paired with my NYDJ black coated pants or current colored NYDJ coated jeans.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The white blouse has a charming tie cuff and tie-front. I loved it so much I purchased it in 3 colors. It’s currently 50% off at Nordstrom for only $34.49. Get it by clicking here.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 76 |Tie Front Shirt $69.00 | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

To round out my wardrobe I packed my Polo Crest Wool Blazer that dresses up jeans so well and pairs perfectly with a crisp white shirt.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

When cruising there is always a Spa, Jacuzzi and Saunas involved which means it’s essential to pack a bathing suit, coverup and thongs. You may also wish to include some workout clothing as well.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

To pack those three items I place them together in another one of my trusty mesh lingerie bags for easy packing. I can also use these bags for delicate items when I do laundry during my travels.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So, now that I’ve gathered everything I plan to pack it’s time to get down to the important part, how to pack your suitcase like a pro.

Use Packing Pouches & Cubes

So, lets take a look back at those sweaters. They come in 11 colors at Chicos for $49.99. After carefully folding my sweaters, all to the same size, I placed them in 2 even stacks inside my packing pouch.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

This handy-dandy packing pouch is wonderful because it keeps things like sweaters or shirts all together and prevents them from wrinkling. It folds closed and stays closed with velcro and then the compressed package pops neatly into the suitcase taking up less space then if they were not contained in a pouch. You can get one like mine by clicking here.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Next I folded all of my vests and placed them into a second packing pouch.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Label The Interior Of Your Suitcase

Now, let me show you my empty suitcase. As you can see, I’ve taped my business card to the interior. This is an extra precaution in the event my bags were lost and the exterior tags were somehow lost, there would still be identification inside the bag. NEVER PUT YOUR HOME ADDRESS ON YOUR SUITCASES! Unsavory people will know you’re away from home and burglaries have been known to occur because of this. Add the cell phone number you’re using while traveling, an email address and a PO Box address if you have one.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Place Heaviest Items In First

The two pouches then fit perfectly into the bottom of my suitcase, and are the first thing that I put in because they are the heaviest items.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

On top of the packing pouch I place my folded stack of pants.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

My suitcase has a built-in zipper pouch. I like to use this pouch to house my bras, panties, shape-wear and socks. For a trip this long I’m packing a 7 day supply and will hand wash my intimate apparel in the bathroom sink during my trip.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Fill Empty Spaces In The Suitcase To Prevent Shifting

The next thing I do is fetch the zippered bags of scarves and bathing attire and tuck them vertically around the sides of my bag. There is just enough room at the foot and sides of my pants to do so. This also fills up the empty space around the bag, securing the garments in place to keep them from shifting and crumpling in the suitcase. Never under-pack your suitcase or you’ll end up with a wrinkled mess.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Pack Last What You’ll Wear First

On top of the pants I placed my reversible wrap, since I’m cruising and don’t need it in my carry-on luggage. My J Crew Vintage PJ’s, 33% off right now at Nordstrom, go in next because I want them to be accessible. That’s because they will be the first thing I’ll need to access from my suitcase when I arrive at my destination.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Pack Shirts on Hangers Covered In Plastic

Remember the blouses I showed you earlier? I have found that if I pack blouses on hangers, covered in those plastic bags from the dry cleaners, and then fold the sleeves over themselves, the blouses stay nice and don’t wrinkle.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In addition I added a black, Tie-Front Jumpsuit by Karen Kane to wear as evening attire. It too went on a hanger covered in plastic along with my Polo Blazer.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

When I arrive at my destination I simply hang these items up, no ironing required.

My clothing on hangers is always the last thing that gets carefully folded in half and placed on top of everything else. I tuck the loop of the hangers down into the side of the suitcase, holding the clothing into place.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Prepare Your Travel-Day Wardrobe

Finally I select what I’ll be wearing on travel day. I hang it along with my undergarments, accessories, a coat and shoes, all ready to go on a valet hook in my closet. I lay out my jewelry and pack my purse and carry-on bag as well. This way I don’t need to think or worry about a thing on a busy travel morning.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Pack Shoes In Inexpensive Drawstring Bags

Lastly, let me address how I pack my shoes. First off, thanks to Mary Ann of Classic Casual Home I discovered these super comfortable and practical Vans Classic Sneakers in Black Leather, $59.99 at Nordstrom. I will be wearing them on travel day and for much of the trip, as they will look good with many of my daytime outfits and are comfortable walking shoes for touring.

I’m also packing a pair of healed black booties to wear with pants in the evening. I’ve included another pair of heels to wear with my dressy jumpsuit, a pair of leather boots and some penny loafers. I pack each pair of shoes into an individual shoe bag. It protects the shoes as well as keeps my other clothing from coming in contact with my shoes. Sometimes I tuck my socks inside my shoes. Shoes can also be a handy place to tuck small trinkets I purchase during my travels.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Finally I slip all my shoes into the zippered mesh section on the flap closure of my suitcase. You see that part hanging down in the photo below? That’s where the shoes go.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Weigh Your Luggage With A Suitcase Scale

I like soft-sided luggage because it’s expandable. When we travel internationally we fly Business or First Class using our AMEX points and therefore can pack 70 lbs of luggage free of charge. Coach passengers may not exceed 50 lbs on most carriers. Soft-sided luggage can also often weigh less than hard-sided luggage. When selecting which luggage to purchase you’ll want to take into consideration how much the suitcase itself weighs. That’s because the weight of the suitcase takes away from how much you can pack inside it. Once your suitcase if fully packed use a suitcase travel scale to weigh it, just to be sure you are not overweight. Paying for overweight luggage can actually cost more than paying for an extra checked bag.

HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Tie A Ribbon On It

I tie the same bright colored orange grosgrain ribbon on the handles of all our family’s luggage. This way we can identify our luggage from all the rest as it comes along the conveyor belt in baggage claim. One time I saw my luggage from afar coming down the belt and watched as a man grabbed it from the belt like it was his. I immediately ran after him to retrieve it and then asked him,” Didn’t you see the bright orange ribbon?” He said, “Oh yes, mine has orange ribbon too.” No, I don’t think so, not like mine anyway. Thanks to my ribbon I saved my luggage from walking away with someone else.

Pack A Collapsible Duffle Bag

Finally, see the exterior zipper on my suitcase? In there I place a lightweight, collapsible duffle bag. I like to have an additional bag in case I purchase items during my travels. Then I usually end up packing dirty clothes in the duffle bag which allows me extra room to pack travel treasures in my suitcase.

Please stay tuned and I’ll soon be sharing: How To Pack Your Carry-On Suitcase Like A Pro

Now, it should also be stated that I always travel with a carry-on suitcase in addition to a large suitcase that gets checked. In my carry-on goes all of my makeup, toiletries, medicines, jewelry, etc. Thus, I did not mention any of these items in this blog post.

Don’t Forget To Visit My Blogging Buddies For Lots More Travel Advice:

“How to Take the Stress Out of Packing When Every Outfit Counts” by Brenda Kinsel

“Steps To Plan An Unforgettable Large Group Vacation” by Classic Casual Home

So there you have it: HOW TO PACK YOUR SUITCASE LIKE A PRO

Thanks so much for dropping in!

Express Yourself!

No blog post is truly complete without a word from you. I’d be so delighted if you’d leave a comment below.

All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  It’s what helps to make this blog possible. Thanks so much for your support.

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