Yes, this is enough luggage for five weeks of family travel.
I was taught the Art of Packing a suitcase by my mother. She was a master at filling every nook and cranny to ensure every item found a place in our bags. It’s a simple system that incorporates many common sense elements, and I swear by it when packing for a weekend or a one-month holiday.
How to Pack a Suitcase in Six Easy Steps
Gather the items required from the Check List in one place where you can see each family members clothing and personal items. You can do this one person at a time, or whatever way works best for you. I like to do the kids at the same time – it helps to cross-reference with each pile.
One of my trusted packing strategies is to lay out my clothes of choice on the bed and pair up clothing items into outfits. That way I can see at a glance how many clothes I’m considering to pack, and what items match well – and most frequently – with other items. For women, the mix-and-match approach can be freshened up with different scarves and jewellery accessories, which don’t take nearly as much room in your bags as two extra sweaters or pairs of pants.
I’m also a late convert to the magic of using packing cubes. I find packing cubes easy to fill with related items (i.e. underwear, socks) so that there equally easy to find once you’re on the road or in a hotel room. The cubes fit easily into the suitcase and keep clothing protected and organized.
2. Heavy Items on the Bottom
Heavy and bulky items should go at the bottom of the suitcase. These include shoes, boots, compact hair dryers, and books. Shoes can be laid on their sides to help flatten out the bottom layer. So pack the shoes in shower caps or together in plastic bags. They may be dirty when you pack them up again upon your return.
3. Fill the Gaps
Fill empty shoes, sandals and boots with rolled up socks, underwear, belts or even small kids’ clothing items. The key is to fill every available space, so there’s more room left in the suitcase for other items you will need to pack.
4. Lay Clothing Flat
Next, cover the bottom layer with t-shirts, shirts, and light sweaters laid flat. Tuck in the ends of the clothing items downwards each time. Some people advocate for rolling up clothing, but the end result is a lot of wrinkled clothes, and not that much saved space, in my opinion.
5. Lay Delicates on Top
Now more clothes; pants, shorts, skirts, blouses, scarves, sweaters. The more delicate the item, the closer to the top I place it to avoid crushing things. Pyjamas make up the last layer on top, which is just my personal preference.
6. Last Item is the Toiletry Bag
The toiletry bag really requires a check list all its own. It’s usually the last item I finish in my packing routine, which is why it’s last to go in the suitcase. In carry-on luggage, liquid or gels cannot exceed 100 ml or 100 g in quantity, and must be packaged in a clear, plastic bag that is removed from your luggage to go through security screening. Many common toiletries – such as shampoos, shaving cream and toothpaste – are made in smaller sizes and are readily available at the drug store. You can also purchase empty plastic containers to fill with your favorite products from home.
In terms of packing toiletries, and liquid medicines, remember that for a family of four, you can have one ‘liquid bag’ per person, so plan accordingly! Pack a ‘medi-bag’ with your assortment of required meds – such as children’s Tylenol, Gravol, cough medicine – and remember in whose bag it will be packed for easy access if needed during the travel portion of your journey.
In terms of the rest of your toiletry bag, I recommend purchasing a good-quality bag with several good-sized zipped storage compartments, rather than one big sack hold-all. It should be foldable so that you can lay it flat on the top of your packing – saving space. I also like to wrap my bag in a plastic bag to eliminate any possible accidents and leakages. You just never know what might burst at altitude!
Of course, what you pack in your toiletry bag (other than liquid items) is totally up to you. Just remember – no nail scissors or other sharp objects that are still prohibited by law.
For detailed and up-to-date information for Canadian travellers, please visit the Canadian Air Transport Authority.
[travellingmom tip: Pack 5 small and 5 larger-sized Ziploc bags in one of the pockets of your suitcase. These bags will come in handy during your travel, whether to store a wet bathing suit after your last dip in the ocean before your flight, or to bring back some special souvenirs.]
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. Photo Credit: S. Laroye
What are your suitcase packing tips? Share your packing wisdom below.