The Best Way to Pack a Samsonite Suitcase

Samsonite makes tough suitcases for travellers of all kinds--older readers might remember the Samsonite commercial in which even a gorilla can't break one. But a strong suitcase is only as useful as the skill with which you pack it. Pack the right items in the right way, and you'll have a better trip.

Choose Your Clothes Wisely

Before you pack, choose your travel clothes wisely. That means knowing a little about your destination, especially its climate, and how formally you will need to dress--and then packing only what you might reasonably need once you're there.

Lay out all the clothes and other items you want to pack near the suitcase, making sure you have something of every kind of clothes you need. Then make a mental estimation of whether you can get all that stuff in the suitcase before you start packing.

Probably you laid out too much. Gentlemen, two pairs of trousers might do instead of three. Ladies, six pairs of shoes might just be too many. Consider how long you plan to travel, whether you'll be laundering clothes, and how stylish you need to be, and then weed out the unnecessary items.

Never pack anything too valuable to lose, either in how much it costs or how much sentimental value it has.

Pack With Care

Once everything is laid out, the goal is to get everything in your Samsonite. Perfect organisation within the suitcase isn't necessary, but total chaos isn't a good idea, either. Put like items more-or-less in the same place so that you'll be able to find them at a glance when you reopen the suitcase.

Most of your clothes, such as underwear, jeans, skirts and T-shirts, should be rolled. It saves space. Put flattened items, such as a dress shirt or trousers, toward the bottom, with a layer of rolled items over them. Once most of the items are in, fill the leftover spaces with smaller items, such as socks or books.

Wrap shoes, even if they're clean, in a plastic bag before packing them. They'll get dirty later, and you'll want that bag handy when you repack the shoes. Also, use great care in packing any bottled liquids. If you have to pack such items as shampoo bottles or medicines, put them in a tightly sealed plastic bag, or better yet a bag inside a smaller travelling case that you can zip shut.

Try to distribute heavy items, such as books, around the suitcase.

Travel Security Considerations

For air travel within the United States, or to and from the country, keep in mind Transportation Security Administration regulations about what cannot be carried on, and what must be packed in a checked suitcase.

There's a long list of items that cannot be carried on, so if you plan to have them with you during your trip, you'll have to find space in your suitcase for them --items such as sharp objects, sporting goods, firearms, tools, martial arts items. Some items, such as lighters with fuel and strike-anywhere matches, cannot be carried in a checked suitcase, either. Consult the TSA website for complete information.

Finally, if you want to lock your Samsonite, use a TSA-approved lock. The TSA describes these on its website. If you use a different lock, inspectors might break open your Samsonite. Your suitcase might keep out a gorilla, but not the TSA.

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About the Author

Dees Stribling has been a freelance writer based in Chicago for over five years and is a widely published real estate and business writer. He has edited magazines focusing on real estate, business and the fire service for over two decades. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Vanderbilt University.