Travel Etiquette


































One thing I was taught from an early age was the correct way to pack and unpack a suitcase. I would enjoy doing this as it would mean that I was going on holiday. For other people of course, it may mean something totally different. Whatever the reason is, I believe it is important we know the method behind packing a suitcase in a sensible and practical way. Not of course forgetting it needs to be quick in this modern age.


Before I explain the correct way to carry out this procedure, lets look into where the idea for packing our belongings and taking them with us came from. Firstly, what is a suitcase? Well it is exactly that! In the 19th century they were named this as they were used for carrying suits. Suitcases were made originally from wool or linen or even carpet as Mary Poppins will well know. Leather also became a popular material for suitcases.


It was used to cover wooden suitcases or just on its own for collapsable suitcases. In prehistoric times, humans were known to travel as this was a way of life. It was noted that Otzi (an Iceman) had packed a travel bag on his final journey when he ventured into the Alps. Otzi’s travel bag was a rudimentary wooden ribbed backpack supported with a leather bag. Sadly, he did not have wheels on his travel bag!


In the Roman Empire over two thousand years ago, people were enjoying touring the known world for pleasure in between conquering countries by using their network of Roman roads. The world’s first suitcase would have belonged to Rome’s legionnaires who were travelling all over the Roman Empire, they were even known to use luggage tags.


When we got to the 19th century, the modern suitcase was becoming something we would recognise today.  They still had to be strong, normally made out of a wooden frame with oil treated cowhide stretched over the frame, this would also protect it on long journeys in all weathers. They were still not the used thing of the elite, they would use large trunks built of wood, leather, and often a heavy iron base. The expensive trunks were waterproofed with canvas or tree sap, due to all the steamship travel and the need for water protection.

Now you understand the background, the question is how do you actually pack a suitcase? Well it's really common sense.


Firstly, make sure the suitcase is clean and in good condition. Place the shoes in first which are the heaviest items. Place them on their sides and around them place the underwear, socks, handkerchiefs, cuff link boxes, toiletry bag and any small items like books etc. Now place a piece of acid free tissue paper on top as a divide between them and the next layer. 

Next it is jumpers which are placed evenly around the area so as to distribute the weight. Another piece of tissue paper on top, then it is trousers including dress trouser for black tie etc, which are carefully laid in the same way you would hang them, making sure creases are still in the correct places, again distribute them around the area. 


On the next layer we have t-shirts or polo shirts which you place evenly around the area then a piece of tissue paper on top, then we have shirts which are placed upside down to protect the collar and placed in the same manner as previously mentioned. Yet another piece of tissue paper and then we would have ties and bow ties or waistcoats. Then we have another piece of tissue paper placed on top and then on the final layer it is blazers or sports jackets, and black tie jackets which are folded in half and placed in carefully, then we have the final piece of tissue paper on top.

© 2011 Grant William Veitch Harrold The Royal Butler. All Rights Reserved.