Tips For Traveling Without Creased Clothes
The $64,000 question. It depends on how much time and inclination you have, and whether it is vitally important, ie. for a business meeting in which first impressions really count, or just because you like to look your best at all times. Here are some answers to some commonly asked questions.
How Do You Prevent Wrinkling When Packing?
One obvious answer is to ensure that they are fully flattened before putting them into your suitcase in the first place, ie. using your steam iron like you’re never used it before, but well in advance as discussed below. A clothes steamer can also be handy; it allows you to do most of what iron does, but without having to get out the ironing board and set yourself up in a more time-consuming, painstaking way. Simply fill it up, preferably with distilled water, and start addressing the various wrinkles and creases which appear to the naked eye.
Once done and left for at least several hours, you’ll want to use garment bags to pack your clothes; at least the larger fabrics like suits, dress pants, or dresses. The great thing about garment bags is that you can store multiple garments in just one bag. If you don’t have any, then simply place the bottom half of your garment in your suitcase, cover with other pieces of clothing such as underwear and socks, then fold the upper half back over. This will prevent creasing, and as with professional garment bags, this makeshift technique will allow for multiple pieces of garments to be folded over together, fitting snugly into your suitcase.
Is It Better To Roll Or Fold Clothes?
The konmari folding school of thought may seem new to us in the West, but rolling as a concept has been around for many a year. It is more suitable for less formal fabrics, like cotton T-shirts, jeans, or underwear. With jeans, you would first fold them in half, then roll from bottom to belt buckles. With tops, the idea is to create a rectangle that can then be rolled more easily.
Rolling, many argue, allows items of clothing to become more compact so you can fit more of them into a tight space. It is useful for reducing creases but not always wrinkles. It works best with synthetic fabrics like nylon, and with smaller items like underwear and tank tops. It can be used on other fabrics and items, but it is not always completely successful. Folding, on the other hand, is best for more natural fabrics, like cotton, button-down shirts, which are well known to wrinkle very easily. It is important to unfold immediately, as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Bundle wrapping is a third way, one which combines the benefits of rolling with those of folding. You’ll need to place the smaller items such as underwear and socks in the center of the bundle, and then surround them with larger garments that are more prone to wrinkle. The aim is to create a sort of giant donut in which all your clothes as a whole will work together as one cohesive unit to minimize potential creasing and wrinkling. Items such as long-sleeved shirts and jackets would form the outer layer.
Should You Iron Clothes Before Packing?
As mentioned, ironing before packing is very useful; however, just after they’ve been ironed clothes are at their most vulnerable and can crease very easily. The best policy, therefore, is to iron them the night before, or at least several hours before you pack. A clothes steamer might be worth packing if you have room because you won’t need an ironing board at all. This will enable you to attend to any creasing which might have occurred during transit.
Travel irons are becoming increasingly sophisticated these days, and some of them even double up as clothes steamers. Some even have the ability to fold away, collapsing down to the size of your palm. They are lightweight and ideal for targeting sleeves, cuffs, collars; all the niggly, annoying bits that are hard to attend to, especially when you’re living out of a suitcase.
Overall, the amount of time and money you’ll want to invest in the techniques and products outlined above will depend very much on how important it is for you to be looking pristine and crisply presentable during your trip. For a business trip it might be extremely important; for a vacation less so. Nevertheless, there will still be opportunities to visit more formal settings while on vacation, such as restaurants or wine bars. Hopefully, you have seen that a range of techniques is at your disposal.
One final tip is to travel light. You might be able to get away with a small travel bag of essential underwear, and just one garment bag which you can carry on to the airplane. Most airlines will allow this. Best to check first, though. Bon voyage!