For today’s travel tips, we’re looking at a subject that everyone has a strong opinion about: packing a suitcase. There seem to be a million ways to do the same thing, but what’s the best way to travel?

Travel Channel compared three different methods and found pros and cons to each method they tried. Lifehacker did the same and decided a mix of five packing styles to be the best option.

Gizmodo suggests:

Lay your suitcase flat on its back, fully opened.

Pack as many socks and undergarments into your shoes as will fit, then set the shoes in the bottom of the bag. Congratulations! This is the first layer of luggage.

On top of your shoes, lay down a layer of heavier rolled items—jeans, sweaters, etc.—packing them in as tightly as they’ll go. This not only minimizes wasted space, it also prevents the rolls from coming undone during transit.

If you have any fragile items that aren’t being brought as carry-on, place them in the center of the bag on top of the heavy-roll layer to protect the items from breakage.

The next layer should consist of lighter rolled items like t-shirts and undergarments, also tightly packed to prevent unrolling.

On top of them, place your folded items. This will allow easy access to them upon arrival for unfolding and hanging. You can also place these items in a dry cleaner bag to help prevent wrinkling.

Any additional lightweight items—underwear, belts, socks, etc—should then be crammed into any available nook or cranny to help stabilize the packing.

Put your toiletry bag on top of the folded layer, then simply close the suitcase lid and you’re done.

What method do you find works best? Let us know using #38Suitcase on Facebook or Twitter. You can also e-mail your tips to Kate at keruny@northcarolina.edu.

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