How to Build a Suitcase for a 3-Day, 7-Day, and 15-Day Trip

Man with a suitcase to go on a trip

Packing for a trip requires organization and planning. Having a well-packed suitcase will allow you to enjoy your trip without worrying. Think carefully about what you will need and take your time to have it all ready.

Remember that less is more when it comes to packing. Always pack according to factors such as the airline requirements, the destination, and the season in which you travel. For clothing, keep a comfortable and elegant style regardless of the destination.


Choose the size of your suitcase: It will depend on the number of days you will spend in your destination. Although there are people who use hand luggage regardless of the number of days of their trip. The ideal sizes of the suitcase according to the number of days of travel are:

Large suitcase (75cm/29.5 in): more than 10 days

Medium suitcase (69 cm/27.2 in): between 5 and 10 days

Small suitcase (55 cm/21.6 in): between 1 weekend and 4 days

Make a list: In the days leading up to the trip, start writing down what you need to bring with you. Plan your clothes for each day and even make a list of the essentials you will need; such as toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant. With a list you will know exactly what you have to pack in the suitcase and you will remember everything you have brought.

Gather everything you want to take in your suitcase: Put it on a flat surface, such as a table, desk or your bed. And next to the list, you can verify that you have everything you need. In this way, you will see everything at a glance and you will organize it better.

Fill every inch of the suitcase: The footwear can be stuffed with socks and at the base of the suitcase (inside a bag, to protect the clothes from dirt). Also, you can roll up your clothes to maximize space.

Keep small items in bags: Small objects such as cotton swabs or dental floss should be transported in cubes or bags to maintain order in the suitcase and keep it clean.

Don’t forget your documents: Among the things that should not be forgotten when going on a trip are personal documents: ID, driving license, boarding passes, reservations, health insurance card, useful travel information, etc. Always carry the most important documentation in a safe place that you have access to at all times.

Do packing and compressing cubes really save space?

Both packing and compression cubes are very useful for organizing clothes and preventing them from getting lost. So, buy a multi-size pack and keep your items in compact spaces. Compression cubes reduce their size by absorbing air. Packing cubes save about 5-10% space, while compression cubes save about 15-20% of the total space.

Folding or rolling clothes?

Another key tip is to roll up your clothes to keep wrinkles out and save space. Wools are better to be folded; they will take up more space in your pack when rolled up.


How many times have you left home to go on a weekend getaway and have thought “I feel like I’m forgetting something.” Or, how many times have you gone on a trip with a big suitcase as if you were going to live abroad for half a year?

For your next week-long trip, pack a carry-on suitcase with 4 wheels and zippered compartments inside. An airplane carry-on suitcase is subject to specific measurements, always depending on the company, but this usually has a standard measurement of 55 cm. x 35cm. x 25cm. They have enough capacity to carry all your clothes and accessories for a short trip, without being heavy.

For the trip, put on the heaviest clothes and shoes. Try to keep the weight of your carry-on as low as possible. Include the essentials:

Toiletry bag

  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Comb/hairbrush
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and gel (just in case)
  • Shaving kit
  • Face cleanser
  • Sunscreen and moisturizer
  • Deodorant
  • Cologne


Underwear and socks: Be sure to bring a pair of socks and underwear per day, and add a few more if necessary.

Tops: Choose clothes that are appropriate for the weather of your destination, that are comfortable, and match with each other. If you go away for a weekend, with 3 tops you have enough. Select 3 tops according to the current weather at the destination and the events you are going to attend. If you are going out at night, making adventure plans and/or sports, take a couple more tops for the occasion.

Pants: For a weekend trip, bring two pairs of pants. Take a pair of chinos or dark jeans that match with every top. In case you are going to a special event, pack a pair of dress pants and a blazer in navy or gray. For outdoor activities/sports, take activewear for greater comfort.

Jacket, sweater, or sweatshirt: It is fundamental that you take at least one outerwear item. Even though you are going to a beach destination where it is very hot, you never know if you will need them at night. So, always take something to warm you up.

Footwear: Footwear depends a lot on the time of year in which you make the getaway, but never forget to take comfortable shoes for walking (sneakers, Chelsea boots…), and another to dress up like brogues. 

Never take new shoes on a trip. The shoes have to be sure that they will not hurt your feet during the trip. Moreover, you should have shoe bags to place your shoes separately to avoid dirtying your clothes. Place them at the bottom of the suitcase.

Pajamas: You may have forgotten your pajamas at some point. The pajamas also depend on the weather or how you prefer to sleep.

Laundry bag: Take a bag to keep the dirty clothes separately. Bring your own from home  -made of cloth and reusable.


A useful tip is to wrap delicate objects such as jewelry or perfumes in glass containers between clothes or socks to prevent them from splitting or being damaged.

Phone and charger: You will rarely forget your phone, but you might forget to bring the charger. Always remember to take the charger and an adapter for the destination with you.

Bag or backpack to carry during the day: Bring a backpack or tote where you can store your personal belongings such as your mobile phone, wallet… and a bottle of water, and snacks.

Wallet (ID card, cash, cards…): This is the most important element for your trip. Leave it ready and in sight the day before the trip. 

Sunglasses/Hats: Put them in your backpack or bag for easier access. For summer, also take a cap or hat. In winter, take gloves, a hat and a scarf.

First aid kit: Bring a bottom of aspirin, bandages and disinfectant cream as an emergency first aid kit. So you don’t need to look for a pharmacy when needed, especially traveling abroad.


For a week-long vacation, it is also convenient to bring a carry-on. Taking four outfits that you can mix and match should be more than enough for 7 days.

If you can’t decide which clothes to pack, take the basics and a few colorful clothes/accessories that you can mix together to create a new outfit for each day. Then, you will have the feeling that you are wearing a brand new look every day.

Always have the basics available so that you can easily and quickly combine them with more special garments. The clothing will depend on your personal style, but taking into account the activities of the trip.

Clothing essentials

  • 1 jacket or sweater (depending on the temperature – check the weather forecast before packing)
  • 4-5 tops (for day and night)
  • 2-3 pairs of bottoms
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 7-8 pairs of underwear
  • 7-8 pairs of socks

What size suitcase is appropriate for 7 days?

Choose the size of your suitcase carefully. You may think that the bigger the better because you can carry more things. Halfway through the trip, you will realize how heavy the load is. Also, you are likely to pack unnecessary items. Remember that you should leave room for items you buy at your destination.

A carry-on suitcase from 22″ to 24″ is the perfect option. They are ideal for trips of 5 to 7 days, or more, depending on how the suitcase is packed. They have a large capacity for various clothes, shoes, and toiletries.

While traveling, your suitcase can take a lot of bumps and drops, so a zipper, handle or wheel may break. Look for a trusted luggage brand that promises high-quality products. At the end of the day, you want your money’s worth.


Even for long trips, you should take a carry-on suitcase and a folded duffle bag in case you need rooms to bring extra items from your trip. It is possible that on your trip you will buy clothes, gifts or souvenirs for which you will have to have extra space. 

It is important to read the transportation’s luggage requirements on its website such as airplanes or trains. This way you will be clear about the luggage measurements that they admit and the maximum weight. You can also learn about what objects or foods are prohibited from taking to your destination country to avoid fines.

Remember to put the footwear in individual bags to be able to make good use of the space and that they don’t stain the clothes. Also, make everything fit much better and wrinkle less by rolling all the clothes into a tube. If you are taking cashmere or silk garments, place them at the top of the suitcase to avoid wrinkles, just like shirts, suits and evening dresses. As well, make sure to:

  1. Take advantage of the shoes to put socks or small objects inside them.
  2. Use packing cubes to have a better organization.
  3. Use vacuum bags to store dirty clothes or bulkier items.
  4. Separate liquids well in individual containers and inside transparent plastic bags. If you travel with hand luggage, they should be carried in individual containers with a capacity of less than 100 milliliters and inside a transparent plastic bag with a capacity of less than one liter. 

Create sets of clothes

Once you have the list made, it is time to narrow it down a lot. You may be tempted to carry too much and things that you don’t wear in the end. Being stylish yet comfortable is the most important. Make sets of clothes taking items that match with each other so that you have more outfit options during the trip.

If you are going away for 15, 30 or more days, don’t put 15, 30 or more panties or briefs in your suitcase. During long trips, you will be able to wash your clothes at the hotel or a laundry shop, so don’t worry about running out of clothes. Above all, wear clothes that you know you really like and feel comfortable in, because you will wear them all the time.

Keep the suitcase organized throughout the trip

It is very likely that you will not be in a single accommodation on your trip, so avoid having to pack your suitcase over and over again by keeping everything organized. Packing cubes are highly advisable to achieve that.

Once again, keep in mind the basic steps to pack the suitcase perfectly:

  • Check the weather conditions to decide what to wear.
  • Make a list of everything you need before the trip.
  • Take the essentials and what you are really going to use. Less is more.
  • Choose clothes that you can combine, so you can make better use of the suitcase.
  • Use packing cubes to store clothes compactly.
  • Roll up the clothes, grouping several shirts or pants.
  • Place what you will use first at the top.
  • Keep bottles with liquids in a zippered bag.
  • Includes two empty bags for dirty or wet clothes.


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