Packing hacks to beat creased luggage

Travelling for work is a winning perk in almost any job. The hassle of packing, though, can play havoc with even the most heightened sense of smugness.

It can also ruin your relationship with hotel security, as a close associate of Executive Style recently discovered after attempting to use the traveller's favourite trick of utilising shower steam to quickly de-crease a suit.

He turned the hot water on so high that when he finally opened the bathroom door, the accumulated steam set off the entire 17-floor hotel's fire alert procedure. If the cost of a smoothed suit is the sudden barging in of hotel security and firemen while you're still dressed in a towel, I think I'd take the wrinkles.

There are some basic travel hacks that can help prevent you from arriving at your destination looking like a wrinkled wreck, and without the intervention of any form of emergency service.

Packing like a pro

The first step is the simplest – learning how to pack like a pro.

Admission: I'm a chronic over-packer. So much so that, in order to make room for everything, I scrunch my clothes up into balls and then try to ignore the monumental ironing job once landed.

Knowing how to pack efficiently not only ensures your clothes stay in optimum condition, it can also help alleviate an unnecessary checking-in of carry-on luggage thanks to miscalculated weight.

Lay out. Edit. Repeat as required

With more than 15 years' travel experience working for Qantas, regular long-haul flyer Chris Matkaris has perfected the art of needs-based packing.

"Instead of packing clothes directly into your suitcase," says Chris, "the best thing to do is lay all your clothes out on your bed in different piles.

"That way you can visually check to see exactly what you are planning on taking with you."

This not only allows you to take stock of how much you're attempting to travel with, but also gives you the chance to identify unnecessary double-ups.

Once you've got your inventory sorted, it's a matter of extreme organisational placement.

Not all folds are created equal

There are literally dozens of articles and YouTube videos that offer all sorts of folding techniques guaranteed to prevent creasing, ranging from rolling to hermetically-sealed plastic bags.

There is one clear standout. The curious art of bundle wrapping.

As the name suggests, bundle wrapping involves wrapping your clothes around a central core.

It works like this - starting with the most wrinkle prone items, lay them flat in your case and then continue inwards – shirt, pants, all the way up to your jocks and socks at the heart.

The beauty of the bundle wrap is that it takes up less space than the rolling method, helps keep your clothes from collapsing in on each other during transit, and avoids using folds that cause excessive creasing.

Still, you can be the ultimate origami master when it comes to the art of anti-folding; but because your clothes are in a confined space, there is bound be a little wear and tear.

Thankfully, rectifying the damage is easier than you'd expect, and it doesn't involve going anywhere near an iron, a steamy bathroom or burly firemen.

Copping a spray

Shannon Lush is Australia's pre-eminent author and speaker on household cleaning tips and general life hacks.

A background in art restoration specialising in textiles, and a high-paced travel schedule, has provided her with encyclopedic knowledge when it comes to keeping your clothes looking their best.

"Often I don't have the time to iron, so I take short cuts," Lush says.

"In one of those small spray bottles you can get from any airport chemist, I mix one drop of lavender oil into 100ml of water. Lightly spray your clothes immediately before putting them on. The lavender, on top of being an insect repellent, is a fibre relaxant and the creases will drop out by the time you have reached the front door."

Because the solution is so diluted, you don't need to worry about any residual fragrance, either.

Lush also recommends using this same formula as a quick and easy way of refreshing your suit while on the road. Just lightly spray it on your suit and then give it a rub-down with a hairbrush. This helps get rid of odour-causing bacteria and dead skin cells when you're too pressed for time to make a visit to the drycleaners.

Baggage alert

Should all else fail, and you have a handy $950 to spare, you could just invest in the new Vocier C38 – an iF Design Award-winning carry-on luggage with a patented Zero Crease System.

Alternatively, there's the Henty Wingman, a kind of crease-free backpack designed by two Aussie cyclists determined to transport clothing to work in a condition that renders it still usable at journey's end, and which also doubles as a pretty handy travel duffel. Prices start from around $199.   

Which, when you think about it, is a small price to pay for never having to explain how you almost evacuated a major hotel over a wrinkled suit.

What's your top tip for arriving at your destination crinkle-free?

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