20 BEST PACKING TIPS
We asked our readers to send in their best packing tips. Here are the runners-up
When I travel, I put each shoe into one of the plastic bags that the newspaper is delivered in. They are sturdy, just the right shape (long and thin), and at the end of the trip I can just throw the bags away as I get more bags everyday at my doorstep! --Patti Watson
For car travelers, pack a black bedsheet to put over your belongings in the back of your car to prevent them from being seen from the outside. --Tom Glow
Even if you're not planning to swim in the ocean or pool, tuck a pair of inexpensive rubber flip-flops into your bag. They're light and hardly take up any space. Your feet will breathe a sigh of relief when you slip them on after a day of shopping or sight-seeing. Wear them to protect your feet in the shower at the gym and with your pj's as slippers. At the end of your trip you can use them leave them behind. --Mary M Morris
We take a pencil with a two-foot piece of duct tape rolled around the middle. This holds a couple of safety pins and threaded needles and is a compact emergency repair kit. The tape comes in handy for all types of repairs, from keeping blackout drapes together to fixing hems of clothes and even makes, with a piece of tissue, a bandage. The safety pins are also used for quick fixes from hanging damp bathing suits to pinning money to the inside of clothes. The Needle and thread are easy to locate, and the pencil is used for writing as well as the graphite loosens locks in a pinch. --Pat Campbell, Upland, Calif.
When you need warm clothing, avoid bringing wool. Bring garments made of a high-tech fleece. They are warm and can be dressy, too. Fleece weighs so much less than wool and takes up much less space. Some fleeces wick moisture and are very comfortable whether you are sitting still or are very active. If you have trouble finding garments made of fleece in your local department store, try a sporting goods store or catalogue. --Linda Byard
When we travel, we pack clothes to wear that we will eventually donate to a shelter or charity in the area we are visiting. The day before the end of our vacation, we launder the clothes and drop them off. This is a win-win situation: more room in our suitcase for souvenirs, and clothes for people who need them. --Lori Chiffy
After finding that some hotels, especially in Latin America, have door locks that aren't dead bolts, I have begun packing a small rubber door stop. I wedge it under the door for more security. --Mary Davis
I'm a huge fan of guidebooks, but they are way too bulky to bring them all along. Since most of the guidebooks that I use are updated annually, before I leave I tear out the pages featuring attractions, museums, and restaurants I want to visit on my trip. I also purchase a good map like the Streetwise edition. Instead of four or five guidebooks, I end up taking a few sheets of papers that pack flat in my bag. And best of all, I can throw them away at the end of my trip! --Dena Martin, Pasadena, Calif.
When I travel for business or need to pack formal wear, to save on space I roll up my ties and stick them inside my shoes. When I arrive at my destination, I simply take the ties out of shoe and unroll them. This has the same "no-wrinkle" effect as rolling up jeans! --Derek Hendrickson, Rochester, N.Y.
To reach your destination wrinkle-free, layer your similar clothes (long slacks or jeans, tops, shorts, etc.) with a folded sweater or other soft item in the middle on top. Then fold in half or, in the case of tops, fold the sleeves to front, and then in half, around the soft item. I always do this, and I never need to re-iron on a trip. --Jacquelyn Kelley, Ardmore, Okla.
Pack a sheet of bubble wrap for those breakable items you might purchase while on vacation. Also, a regular size Ace bandage is always good to have for any aches and pains from hiking, too much walking, or any accident that you might suffer. Place heavy items at the end of the suitcase that will be on the bottom when the suitcase is standing on end--this way the weight will hold the bag upright and not tip it over. --Kathy Quinn
A lot of people underutilize the outside pockets of modern suitcases because of security fears. The pockets are great for holding dirty clothes on your return trip. This will free up space in the main compartment of the bag, making more room for things you picked up on your trip. The outside pockets are perfect places for undergarments, socks, and workout clothes. I guarantee no one will steal those! --Dan Moisand, Melbourne, Fla.
I either roll up all my clothes or I put a piece of tissue paper in between the different layers of cloths, because this decreases wrinkling. I also make sure that I pack one pair of comfortable shoes (running sneakers). I am a runner, and I love to explore by running. I then pack only 2 other pairs of shoes to coordinate outfits (for example a black pair/a brown pair). I also leave any expensive jewelry home--no need to lose anything sentimental! Wear the jewelry that you want to wear for the whole trip. --Jessica Piecuch, Chelsea, Mass.
For long trips, I always pack along two sturdy wire hangers and attach two clothespins to each. When I need to wash pants or other items that need to be dry by the next day, I hang them where the air can circulate around them freely. Hotel hangers have no hooks and cannot be used outside of the closets. Wire hangers take up no room in your luggage, and you can leave them behind after the last wash has dried. --Norma Martin
Pack women's dress shoes inside men's shoes. If your feet are small enough and your husband's feet are large enough, you can save space in your suitcase by packing your shoes inside his. I wear size 7 ½ and my husband wears size 10. I pack my dress shoes with a low heel inside his dress shoes. It not only saves space in the suitcase, it also keeps my shoes from losing their shape while packed. --Danielle Bangs