The secret to keeping wrinkles out of your clothing while traveling is not to travel in the first place. If that’s not an option for you then we need to discuss the best way to handle wrinkles while traveling.


I’ve tried numerous methods for reducing the wrinkles in my clothing while traveling. None of them eliminate wrinkles but, some seemed to work better than others. Ultimately, I stopped worrying about it and I will tell you why later in this article.

Travel Lighter

Often the very things you can’t live without might be causing extra wrinkles. I carried shoes inside my suitcase, music player, sometimes books and magazines, a lint brush, shoe polishing kit, and a sewing kit. Removing them certainly reduced the wrinkles but, I couldn’t live without them, so I put them back.


Many travelers choose the extra expense of dry cleaning or laundry services to put that time back in their schedule that they might use laundering on the weekends. I read someplace that if you leave your clothes the way they came from the laundry, it will reduce wrinkles. I don’t use a laundry service but I did use dry cleaning services. I never tried this technique but, it makes sense. Ultimately it only would affect a couple of jackets and not the rest of my clothes.

Rolling Them Up

I never had much luck with this technique to prevent wrinkles on my pants and shirts.

You basically neatly fold your shirts and pants and roll them up tightly to keep them in their non-wrinkled state. I can only say that from my experience, and I could have been doing it wrong, was that I still had enough wrinkles left at the hotel that I just couldn’t wear the items without at least a touch-up. It’s true, the technique may prevent some of the wrinkles but, if you have to touch-up anyway, it may not be as important. The thing I did use rolling for was space saving. Rolling your clothes helps them to fit into the small spaces during packing and can allow you to put more items in or leave enough space to reduce wrinkles.

Heavier Items

You probably carry some relatively heavy items in our bag which might include shoes, your toiletry bag, or a hair dryer. The smart thing to do is to place these items in such a way that they are at the bottom of your roller bag when it’s rolling or standing. That way, they won’t press down on the clothes and create more wrinkles.

Wrinkle-Resistant Clothing

Maybe you’re just buying the wrong clothing. I’m just kidding but, it’s something to think about. Many clothes are available in the no-iron variety and that can make a lot of difference when traveling.

Fill-In the Gaps

If you’re clothes are free to do a lot of moving during travel, they are going to get more wrinkled than if they were held in place stationary. If you have remaining space left after packing, fill-in the space with other t-shirts or other clothing that you will not necessarily wear but, won’t cause additional wrinkles in your good clothes. The main consideration is to keep clothing from moving around during travel.

Don’t Wait To Unpack

This isn’t always possible particularly if you’re 100% travel and show up at your site before you show up at the hotel. It was never possible for me but, if you have the option, go to the hotel first and unpack to reduce wrinkles.

Shower Steaming

I had a lot of friends who would hang their clothing in a hot shower to remove wrinkles. I’m not talking about just while they were showering but, just to remove wrinkles. I am opposed to this technique on many levels not the least of which is wastes countless gallons of water and its effectiveness is questionable. If you use this technique, do us all a favor and save the water and electricity for some of the rest of us.

Use the Shoes

Some of those smaller items that can work their way around the inside of a suitcase and cause indentations and wrinkles in clothes might be better placed inside your shoes. I usually put socks and other small items inside my shoes if possible.

Travel Steamer

Okay, you’re at the hotel, you did everything right and you still have enough wrinkles in your clothing to make a touch-up necessary. Don’t use the shower. I bought a great little travel steamer with a lot of power and about 15 minutes of steam. I never counted on having a decent iron in the room because we all know how awful those irons can be with sticky stuff on them and scorching and… That’s if the hotel even bothered to replace the stolen iron in your room.

Steamers actually can work better than an iron on clothing, are gentler to delicate clothing, and won’t scorch your shirts. They come in compact sizes with plenty of capability to handle the toughest fabrics. This was my ultimate solution because I knew my clothes would be wrinkles pretty much whatever technique and I couldn’t count on a hotel iron to do the job. The steamer worked effortlessly, fast, and safely and it was easy to carry with me.

It may not be the best choice for you but, take it from someone who traveled in the Navy and on consulting gigs for more than 20 years; it was the best choice for me.

I hope this article has given you some insight into handling one of the banes of business travel… wrinkles. Buy yourself a travel steamer and remove some of the stress of traveling.

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