With airlines charging fees for checked luggage while also becoming more strict with carry-on requirements, smaller suitcases are often the less expensive option. Frequent travelers know how to squeeze in plenty of clothing and personal items for trips long and short by expertly folding or rolling. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. However, a third method, bundle wrapping, could be the best option depending on your needs.

Rolling Clothes is Most Compact

Tightly rolling clothes into compact pieces allows for much tighter packing that fits more items into the suitcase. It also cuts down on creases but makes some items into wrinkly messes. Rolling can be used on small items, especially those made of synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, that are less likely to wrinkle than natural fabrics, such as cotton. It works well for shorts, socks, synthetic T-shirts and tank tops, some pajamas and sweats.

Folding Keeps Everything Neat

Folding clothes is the quickest way to pack and is preferred over rolling for items that easily wrinkle such as a cotton button-down shirt or linen. Fold items along their existing creases. For example, follow the creases of jeans or pants. Be warned, unwanted creases will show up where the garment is folded in half and the bottom of the pile is more likely to wrinkle. Be sure to unpack quickly when you arrive at your destination to cut back on cumbersome ironing.

Bundle Wrapping Helps Prevent Wrinkles

Bundle wrapping is a technique that packs the clothes into one solid bundle that fits snugly into your suitcase. It is also a practice that will leave you with the fewest wrinkles and unwanted creases, especially for items such as dresses or skirts. The trick is to put the smallest and most wrinkle-resistant clothing on the inside of the bundle, surrounding it by layers of larger and more easily wrinkled garments. Take note, follow this order from inner clothes to outer for the most success. Start with shorts, which are then wrapped in sweaters or knits; pants; short-sleeved and then long-sleeved shirts; dresses; skirts; and jackets.