Whether you’re getting on a plane for an out of town wedding or you’re on a cross-country business trip in a rental car, there are times when your favorite pair of blue jeans and tennis shoes just won’t do the trick. Traveling with a suit, especially if you’re on a long trip, isn’t always easy though.

After all, you don’t want to arrive at your destination an hour before you need to put it on only to find that your favorite suit is a wrinkled mess. Luckily there are some ways the average guy can keep that from happening.

Use these 15 tips for traveling with a suit to guide you, whatever your travel plans may be.

1. Empty Your Pockets

Traveling with a suit doesn’t mean stuffing your pockets with underwear and tossing it in a duffel bag. Before you can properly pack a suit, make sure you empty the pockets. Anything that stays in your interior or hip pockets could cause deep wrinkles over the course of a long flight or drive.

2. Use a Hanging Bag

Hanging bags aren’t always ideal for flights when you don’t have room to actually carry them on the airplane. They are perfect for car rides or train travel though. Even a department store hanging bag is an ideal way to travel if you won’t be getting on a commercial flight.

3. Hang Your Suit

If you’re driving to your destination there’s a good chance your vehicle has a little handle with a hook by the door in the backseat. Use that to hang your suit and keep it from getting wrinkled.

You don’t even need a hanging bag for this, but covering it with something – even a shopping bag – can prevent stains, odd smells and other travel-related problems.

traveling with a suit

4. Fold Your Suit

Most guys are afraid to fold their suits for good reason. After all, doesn’t folding something almost always put wrinkles in it?

If you’re flying you may not have any other choice, and if you do it right, your suit will look better than if you’d checked a hanging bag. Make sure you fold your suit the right way though.

5. Use a Plastic Bag

Once you manage to fold your suit you need to protect it from spills, stains and other damage. Your best bet is a plastic bag that’s big enough to seal around the suit. Using a smaller garment bag inside your regular bag can also provide more protection if you have one the right size.

6. Carry Your Suit Separately

Traveling with a suit doesn’t have to mean stuffing it into a big suitcase. If you can, pack your suit separately. The more weight that’s on top of it, the more likely it is to get wrinkled.

Bags shift during flight, so even the most well-packed suits can end up with all your other clothes on top of them by the time you arrive.

7. Don’t Overstuff

If you must travel with your suit in a suitcase, make sure you don’t pack too much in there. The less you can pack the better, and make sure you use those straps that fasten everything down. You want your suit to shift as little as possible.

8. Get Your Suit Cleaned

Traveling with a suit doesn’t always mean you’re wearing it the same day you arrive. If you can, get your suit cleaned and pressed when you get to your final destination if you have a day or two.

You’ll look amazing and you won’t really have to worry about how you pack it, at least not until you’re packing to go home.

9. Have Your Suit Pressed

If you don’t have time for a real cleaning when you’re traveling with a suit you could still have time for a professional pressing. Many hotels even offer this service. When looking your best matters this is always a good option, even if your suit isn’t full of wrinkles.

10. Wear Your Suit

Guys that have a business meeting the same day or have to be at a wedding 90 minutes after they touch down may not have time for unpacking and putting a suit on. If this is you, go ahead and just wear your suit!

Wear comfortable shoes on the airplane and put your oxfords in a carry-on bag so you can put them on at the airport.

traveling with a suit

11. Borrow a Steamer

Whether you’re staying with friends or at a hotel, there’s a real chance you could be able to locate a steamer. Steaming can get wrinkles out quickly and put the finishing touches on an otherwise pretty presentable suit.

Call ahead if you’re staying at a hotel or invest in a portable model if you often find yourself traveling with a suit.

12. Pack the Right Suit

Traveling with a suit isn’t just about packing. It’s about choosing a suit that’s really appropriate to travel with. For example, a linen suit isn’t going to look good after eight hours in a bag. You probably can’t even wear it on a plane and arrive at your destination looking your best.

A quality wool suit won’t end up as wrinkled though. Pack appropriately and you’ll have to worry less about travel-related issues.

13. Carry On Only

Traveling with a suit that doesn’t look terrible when you arrive at your destination requires some very delicate packing if you check your bag.

If you can get your suit in a carry on though, you won’t have to worry about quite as many wrinkles. Shop for that perfect carry on that will give you room for a properly folded suit, a laptop and a book.

14. Pack Shoes Elsewhere

You obviously need a pair of dress shoes with you when you’re going to be wearing a suit at you final destination. Wearing them on the plane — especially when you have to take them off just to get through security — isn’t always comfortable. Whatever you do though, don’t put your shoes in the bag with your suit!

Protection from dirt isn’t the issue because smart travelers use shoe bags anyway. Wrinkles are the problem. Heavy shoes can put a fold in your suit so deep you won’t be able to undo without professional help or a heavy-duty steamer.

Pack your shoes in your carry on bag if you must check your suit. Alternately, pack your shoes in your luggage and carry your suit on the plane. Just avoid putting them together at all costs.

traveling with a suit

15. Don’t Forget Accessories

A lot of guys worry so much about packing their suit the right way that they completely forget to take a tie, cuff links, a pocket square, lapel flower or whatever accessories finish their look.

Don’t put your accessories in the suit, but don’t forget to pack them. Keep accessories in the same bag to avoid misplacing those cuff links or your favorite tie bar.

Ralph Lauretta

About Ralph Lauretta

Ralph is a co-owner of Sal Lauretta for Men. His areas of expertise include custom clothing as well as being the primary clothing buyer for the store. When not at work you can find him hanging out with his family, reorganizing his garage or watching a Denver Broncos game.

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