Europe, Expat, Travel Tips

Cram it all in and away I go


I’m writing this post from Gate 17 of the Ottawa International Airport. My flight to London boards in about half an hour and then I’m off on my two-year adventure. I’ve promised for months to write a post with packing tips, so I figure now would be a good time to do this.

This morning, I finalized the suitcase I was bringing with me on my trip. After three tries and some emptying of things by my dad, I finally managed to get almost everything I wanted in my bag and get it to an acceptable weight.

As I mentioned before, I decided to fly Thomas Cook to London because the ticket was about half the price of the next cheapest ticket and about 1/3 the price of flying Air Canada. I’ve taken the airline before and the only problem is that their baggage restriction is 20kg. For a 20-something girl trying to move my life to the other side of the ocean, this is nowhere near enough.

Full disclosure: My dad is travelling for work in a few weeks and will be coming via London, so I’m getting him to take another suitcase with him, as he’s allowed to bring extra bags with his frequent flyer card.

Here’s a picture of everything I tried to stuff in my suitcase. (That’s a queen-size bed). I actually managed to get almost all of this stuff in, but then had to remove several items because it was too heavy. So how did I get it all in?

Fool-proof tips to cram everything in:

1) Roll!!! I’m sure you’ve heard people say this before. It’s actually ridiculous how much more you can fit in when you roll your clothes rather than fold them. I’m not sure why this is, but it works.

2) Start with your small items like underwear, socks and tank-tops and gradually work up to bigger items.

3) Place your shoes in two separate bags and pack them in different parts of the suitcase. I find that the best way to fit them in is to build up a layer of shirts first, and then slot them in somewhere in the middle.

4) Take breaks. It took me about two hours to pack everything in my bag and in that time, I spent several minutes, either sitting on the clothes in my suitcase, or just letting them settle, to get them to take up less space.

5) Give it your full attention. I was texting my entire second attempt at packing and I managed to fit about a third less stuff because I wasn’t maximizing every little space. Socks fit nicely inside a shoe, and I’ve even managed to get a rolled t-shirt in shoe. Just think of it like a big game of Tetris.

Alright, well I’m about to board. So I’ll see you all on the other side!

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3 thoughts on “Cram it all in and away I go”

  1. A friend of mine in the Canadian army sent me another packing tip that I thought I’d share. He recommends putting elastic bands around all your folded clothes to make them even smaller.

    1. I fit in about 90 per cent of it, but then I had to remove a bit because my suitcase weighed 27kg when it needed to weigh 20 kg. The good news is that I didn’t end up paying anything extra at the airport! Yay!

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