How to carry your Suit on a Plane: No Wrinkles and Shrinking

Packing clothes while traveling is something that most people struggle with, especially if it’s formal clothing. While you don’t need to worry about cramping tracksuits and t-shirts in your travel bag, packing a suit can be a challenge. The last thing you want is a creased suit when arriving at your destination.

The Right Way to Carry Your Suit on a Plane

While there are many travel hacks that give you tips on how to pack as many clothes as possible in your luggage, most of these methods will result in a creased shirt. So, how do you carry your suit on a plane without causing it to get creased?

Follow these steps for the proper way to pack a suit for plane travel.

Get the Right Travel Bag

Clothes and shoes in a travel bag
Travel Bag

There’s no use trying to pack a suit for plane travel if you have a bag that’s too small or the wrong type. If you’re using a carry-on pack or suitcase, make sure it’s big enough so you don’t have to fold or roll the suit when packing. However, avoid heavy suitcases as you may not be allowed to carry them with your hand luggage, which can waste precious time when traveling.

However, if you want to travel light and avoid creasing your shirt, then you’ll need a garment bag. These bags are designed for individual suits and prevent the suit from getting creased. Some garment bags are designed to allow you to hand clothes upright when moving the bag around and have fastening clips to prevent the shirt from folding if it’s placed in the plane’s luggage.

If you’re trying to travel light or are in a hurry, a carry-on garment bag is ideal. This is a hybrid between a regular carry-on bag and a garment bag and is the best way to travel fast without needing to check-in luggage.

If you need to travel regularly for work, a carry-on garment bag is ideal for carrying a suit or two. However, if you only travel occasionally and have enough time to put your suit in the luggage section, then a regular garment bag will suffice.

Be sure to measure your luggage in the right manner.

Use a Hanging Bag

Suited man with bags and ticket in hand
Hanging Bag

Some garment bags will come with a built-in hanger but you’ll have to use a suit hanger with most. Take a quality suit hanger (preferably one made from thick plastic) and carefully place the pants on the bar. Try not to fold the pants when placing over the bar as it may cause creases.

Avoid leaving anything in the pants’ pockets and always remove the belt before hanging the pants. Also, ensure that the pants are evenly placed on the bar of the hanger or it may fall off in the garment bag. A helpful tip to prevent the pants from falling off the hanger is to use small clips to keep them in place.

Once you’re done with hanging the pants, place the shirt over it without pressing too hard or causing wrinkles. Place the coast over the shirt and close the hanging bag. If you have a suitcase large enough to put the hanging bag without folding it, then it’s great. If not, you can gently fold the bag in half. Don’t completely fold the bag and try to leave some space along the crease so the suit doesn’t get ruined by a fold line.

If you’re traveling in business class, you may have the option of a hanger section where you can simply hang your hanging bag. If not, the next best option is to get a suitcase large enough to place the suit inside without folding.

When taking a hanging bag as your carry-on luggage, always consider the size and weight limits as not all airlines will permit you to take these bags as hand luggage. If possible, take your suit as hand luggage as luggage handlers are known for mishandling bags, which may cause your suit to get creased. If not, make sure you have a quality hanging bag that will protect the suit, even when the bag is thrown around or placed upside down.

Related: Use Polo Shirts When Traveling to Make Room for More Luggage

Roll Your Suit Before Packing

Man choosing between suits
Roll your suits

While it may feel great to get a separate hanging bag to carry your suit on a plane, not everyone has the luxury of traveling with a single suit or paying for extra luggage space due to the additional bag. If you want to travel with a suit without causing creases but have limited luggage space, the best option is to roll your suit.

Contrary to what most people may think, rolling a suit doesn’t necessarily cause creases or shrinking. If done right, it can be the best way to carry a suit when traveling without needing a separate garment bag.

Here’s how to roll a suit properly for airplane travel:

  1. Iron the suit properly to remove any wrinkles.
  2. Place the pants on a hard flat surface and fold it vertically in a symmetrical pattern. Pull tightly at each section of the fabric and roll it as tight as possible beginning from the bottom upwards.
  3. Do the same with the shirt and coat and pack each garment tightly in a bag. Don’t place the rolled sections in a loose bag or they may get wrinkled.
  4. When rolling the suit, try to roll it as tightly as possible to prevent creases.

This method can be time-consuming, but it’s much better than folding and you won’t have to iron your suit upon reaching your destination.

Suggested Reading: Why Do My Feet Swell When I Travel?

Place the Suit in a Large Suitcase

Man packing to travel
Place the Suit in a Large Suitcase

If you don’t have time to roll your suit and don’t want to carry an extra hanging bag, you can pack it with other clothes in a regular suitcase. Try to get a large suitcase so you don’t fold the clothes as many times. If you fold the suit right along the creases and pack it properly, you’ll minimize the chances of it getting wrinkled.

Here’s how to pack a suit in a suitcase without causing shrinking or wrinkles:

  1. Pack all your other clothes and belongings first. If you’re packing non-clothing items in the suitcase, pack them first and put the clothes on top. Leave the suit for last.
  2. When you’re ready to pack the suit, take the shirt, pants and coat and turn them inside out to minimize the chances of wrinkling.
  3. Fold the pants along the seam and place them in the suitcase without folding.
  4. Fold the shirt along the crease with the back side facing inwards. Cross fold the sleeves inwards without causing a fold line.
  5. Lastly, take the coat and place clothing inside the shoulder section before folding it along the crease. Place it on top of the shirt in the same manner as you placed the pants.
  6. Try to keep the suitcase just full enough so the suit doesn’t get displaced when handling. You can even add foam, wrap or more clothing to fill it.

While it’s unlikely that you’ll get this technique perfect the first time, you’ll gradually master it after a few attempts. This method isn’t the easiest, but it’s the most practical, especially if you’re traveling with more than just hand luggage.

Wear the Suit

Suited man
Suited man

If you aren’t traveling far and need to keep your suit wrinkle-free, the best solution is to wear it! Traveling with a professional style is always a great idea and most quality suits become comfortable after a while.

However, you’ll have to take care not to spoil the suit when wearing it on a plane. Take off your coat when sitting down and keep it on your lap. Also, take care not to spill food on the suit when eating, since many airplanes can have quite restricted seats.

While this isn’t always feasible, it’s a great option if you’re a frequent traveler or need to attend a function shortly after landing.

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What to do If Your Suit Gets Wrinkled During the Flight?

Sometimes no matter how many precautions you take, your suit may get wrinkled at some point when traveling. Even if you’ve packed it perfectly, creases may form due to rough luggage handling or for some other reason. This won’t be a major issue if you can get it ironed upon reaching your destination.

However, if you can’t access a steamer or have your suit ironed after landing, you’ll need to consider alternatives to get rid of the creases.

Here are some methods to get rid of wrinkles on a suit when traveling:

  • Carry a small iron: If you’re a frequent traveler and your suits usually get creased during flights, carry a small iron in your luggage so you can remove creases before attending your meeting or event.
  • Carry a handheld steamer: While these steamers are expensive, they are also the best way to quickly remove wrinkles from suits without causing any damage.
  • Wrinkle-removing spray: These sprays have mixed reviews but some travelers paradise them as game changers for crease removal, so it’s worth a try.

If you pack your suit correctly, it’s unlikely to get creased, but it’s best to be prepared anyways.

Final Thoughts

Carrying a suit on a plane without causing wrinkles or shrinking is a major challenge for travelers. The best solution by far is to place your suit in a garment or hanging bag and bring it along with your hand luggage. However, you can also roll it tightly or pack it in a large suitcase to prevent creasing.

If you’re in a hurry and the flight is short, the best option is to simply wear a coat! Also, be sure to read our guide on folding shorts for travel to save space.

How to Carry your Suit on a Plane: No Wrinkles and Shrinking- FAQs

What is the best way to carry a suit on the plane?

The best way to carry a suit on a plane is to place it in a hanging bag. These bags allow you to hang the suit vertically and some can be folded and taken along with hand luggage. You can also carry the suit in a garment bag or pack it in a large suitcase.

How Do You Pack a Suit in a Suitcase Without Causing Wrinkling?

The best way to prevent wrinkles when packing a suit is to roll it tightly. Not only will this prevent wrinkles but it helps reduce the amount of space your suit takes so you can pack more luggage. This method also allows you to pack the suit with other clothes and you won’t need a separate hanging or garment bag.

How Do You Get Wrinkles Out of a Suit When Traveling?

While some people recommend placing your suit in a steam shower, the best method to remove creases from suits when traveling is to use a handheld travel steamer. You can also pack a small iron although it’s not always feasible.

Zalah Khan
Zalah is LLB Graduate from the University of Westminster and joined the hopdes team in June 2022. She has been a linguistics expert and interpreter for a few years at Pearl Linguistics in London dealing with people mostly from the middle-east side. She loves the thrills and adventures embedded deeply into her genes owing to her biracial Pashtun and Persian heritage. She speaks Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Pashtu and English. Whilst she is afraid of heights but her adrenaline pushes her to take the 60-foot leap of faith body slide everytime she is at the Aqua Venture Water Park in Dubai. She recently went onto the Jebel Jais Flight at speeds of up to 150km/h (93mph) along a 2.8km (1.7-mile) cable weighing more than six tonnes. She was last seen at the Museum Of Illusions at the Dubai Creek.

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