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Packing a suitcase might seem simple enough—but learning a few key strategies can mean the difference between a stressful journey and a streamlined one. Checked baggage fees, weight restrictions, delays, cancellations, and crazy waits at the luggage carousel are just a few reasons why packing light is so popular these days. Whether you’re headed for a three-day business trip or a month-long expedition, knowing the best ways to minimize your load, maximize your suitcase space and pack efficiently will smooth most of the wrinkles out of your next trip.

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1. Go small

The larger your suitcase, the more you’ll be tempted to stuff into it. Stop yourself from overpacking by limiting yourself to a suitcase no taller than 22 inches, with hard sides and a structured shell.

Bear in mind that even a carry-on that’s well within the airline’s size limits can easily become oversized if you use expanding features, or stuff every compartment.

small suitcase ljubaphoto / Getty Images
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