Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How to Pack a Suitcase + Dot&Dot Travel Folder Review

*I received this product for free for testing purposes. All opinions are 100% my own*

Hello and welcome to the second part of my packing series! This time I will be showing you how to pack up a suitcase as well as go over some items I think make packing a breeze (or at least less stressful). Obviously every body's travel style is different so what works well for me may not work for you at all. But hopefully you will find at least one or two tips and tricks that will help you next time you take a trip.

First I'd like to talk about suitcases. There are lots and lots of different types out there, but I am partial to older, vintage ones for several reasons. First, I think they look nicer than the box on wheels variety you see nowadays. I'm a visual person, so looks matter to me. The second reason (and most important) is that vintage luggage tends to have more built in features that will make packing much easier. Case in point, my suitcase has two built in pockets AND a divider screen on each side of it so nothing will dump out when I open it. This also allows me to keep things separated and organized. Check thrift shops for a nice vintage set of luggage, I actually got mine for free from a neighbor who was moving away.

When packing clothes I always like to bring at least one extra outfit and two extra days worth of undergarments. There is nothing worst than getting stuck somewhere and not having clean underwear. Think of these as your emergency supplies, you wouldn't drive your car without a spare tire so why travel without extra clothes? For the extra clothes I tend to pick neutral items that I can either dress up or down depending on what accessories I use. So a nice but basic shirt and either some black pants or a skirt depending on where I am travelling to. Throw on a hoodie to dress it down, or a scarf to dress it up a bit.  I also always bring flip flops I can use in the shower, ain't nobody got time for foot fungus.

I really like pockets and bags to keep all of my clothes organized and sorted out. Remember the laundry bag set I reviewed back in February? Something like that is perfect to store undergarments in (I always keep my underwear and bras in a see through bag to discourage TSA from getting handsy with my stuff, I learned that lesson the icky way). And then I can stick my dirty laundry into the bag (after you take out the clean stuff) so when I get home I can just toss the whole bag into the washer. Since that was a set of four I actually bring a second bag along for my son's dirty clothes. My husband is an adult and can keep track of his own stuff, he knows where the bags are. I also have a travel makeup bag with a hook to hang it up that I always bring on trips. The whole thing is waterproof so I can take it into the shower with me and hang it from the faucet for easy access to my shampoo and soaps. I got mine in the clearance section many years ago but they are pretty easy to find.

Socks can be easily stored inside of shoes to not only save space but to prevent them from getting lost in the rest of your clothes. When you have to keep track of toddler size socks this becomes an important tip. Speaking of shoes, want to know how to pack them without getting dirty sole prints all over your clothes? Put them in a shower cap (the kind people use when they don't want their hair to get wet in the shower). This will prevent any dirt from the soles to come off on your clothes and helps keep them together in your bag. You can also get shoe socks (or make a pair yourself) to slip your shoes into. I have a set I use that are of course vintage (from my Grandmother), but these would be really easy to make (if you really want instructions, let me know down below in the comments).

Did you know that folding your clothes isn't always the best option? Rolling them up can actually save more space AND prevent wrinkles. I roll all pants I bring, and well as any shirts or sweaters that are bulky. If you are travelling with a backpack instead of a suitcase rolling works 100% better than folding I've discovered. We camp a lot so I'm a pro at packing a hiking bag by now it seems. And hands down rolling is the best option for a backpack.

Now what if you have somewhere nice to go, like a wedding in May, and you need to bring nicer clothes? That's where these wonderful packing folders by Dot&Dot come in handy. This 15" by 10" folder will hold up to seven items and will help prevent the formation of wrinkles. It will also help prevent damage to the clothes you put inside of it. The tough material will stand up to even the sharpest of stilettos and save that silk blouse from a snag you will never be able to fix. I feel like the 15" by 10" is a pretty large folder, though I seem to think that is the smallest size they offer. The medium is a few inches bigger. I'm a smaller person so I don't really need the large folder, so this size is probably perfect for me. Being able to put seven items in it really helps to organize your clothes too, and no matter what they will not tangle together no matter how hard the TSA tosses my bag around.

I really like that it comes with a folding board, which makes getting things the correct size really easy. Each folder has four wings that come together to close it up, this allows you to compress down your clothes to save more space. This particular size seems to fit into most luggage, even my smallest suitcase (also vintage). I like the handle on it, makes it easier to carry around and pack up. The whole thing has a clear heavy duty plastic zip bag to store it it as well, which I though was a nice touch. Once there are clothes in the folder it won't fit into the clear case, but it is nice for storage or even to put documents in if you need to bring papers. I will be using it that way on our upcoming trip, I always have stuff to work on.

I really love this travel folder and I will probably pick up the larger size before our trip for my husband to use with his stuff. I think if you had enough of them you could put your daily outfit in each one. That is a level of organization I dream about, I love a well kept suitcase. The price is really great too, the one I have is only $17.97 with free Prime shipping. I don't think that is to much at all. Though to be truthful I kind of want to buy everything Dot&Dot sells, they have a really amazing selection of travel accessories.

I hope this answered any questions you may have had about packing a suitcase and that I introduced you to a great new product. If you have a question I didn't answer please ask in the comments and hopefully I will be able to help you out. Thank you for reading and I'll see you guys tomorrow!

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