Being a frequent traveller and hitting the road six to eight months a year requires a lot of energy, but has its perks—from collecting frequent flyer mileage and hotel chain loyalty cards, to discovering new places and meeting new people.
Packing and unpacking is becoming second nature for me, although sometimes I reflect on the past practice of hotels providing valets to unpack and pack a man’s suitcase, and how that luxury has become virtually obsolete.
So of course I’m left to do the work by myself.
In the first edition of a new short series – The Gentleman Traveller, I will share some habits I’ve learned along the way.
Many times, I’ve been asked how to pack and especially how to fold items in a suitcase that are typically suspended on hangers.
Button down shirts are really tricky to handle, as they tend to wrinkle easily and need to be folded in a deliberate way to avoid needing a good ironing upon arrival.
I’m sure that there are many methods of handling shirts when traveling, and the following just happens to be the method that works best based on my own experience.
Here’s a step by step example of how I prepare my shirts before a trip:
1. Button every other button of your properly ironed shirts starting from the collar and working down to the bottom of the shirt.
2. Lay the shirt face-down on a flat and even surface.
3. Place a sheet of A4 paper (as shown on the picture) and fold about a third of the shirt body toward the center of the shirt on top of the paper…without folding the sheet of paper.
4. Neatly fold the sleeve horizontally–without pressing down too much on the sleeve!
5. Fold the other side of the body toward the center of the shirt and repeat step 4 with the sleeve.
6. Fold around 15-20 cm of the shirt tail upwards.
7. Finally, fold up the bottom half, positioning the shirt tail behind the collar.
8. Before placing your folded shirts in your suitcase, now may be a great time to select the ties you want to brink along with each shirt.
Remember not to overload your suitcase in order to avoid compressing your shirts too much, which will cause the very wrinkles that you are trying to avoid.
Most of all, enjoy the process with good music or quiet meditation, as ironing and folding the clothes you enjoy can be therapeutic, if you have the right attitude.
Next up on The Gentleman Traveler : packing suits !