They key to successful packing is lightweight travel items. You don't want to be rushing for that connecting flight with a baby in one arm, plus bags, duty free shopping and a cabin bag in the other whilst wheeling a heavy overstuffed suitcase. Less is more when travelling, and if it means leaving your favourite sandals at home then do it. Its more than likely you wont end up wearing them anyway.
Pack iron free clothes that will go with more than one outfit and have items that can be dressed up and down. Try to take only 2 pairs of shoes, hat (if needed), an umbrella and enough underwear for 3 days. You can then hand wash and alternate your undergarments. As an example this is my staple luggage when travelling into a warm climate:
- 3 days change of undergarments (*one set worn on the plane)
- 1 hat*
- 1 skirt
- 1 pair of shorts
- 3 plain tops/singlets (depending on cultural customs as to sleeve length)
- 1 pair of bathers
- 1 pair of sandals*
- 1 Pashmina*
- 1 pair of enclosed shoe suitable for walking
- 1 pair of comfortable pants or jeans- I like harem pants for versatility*
- Family toiletries bag
- Family First Aid kit
I find that if you pack the large bulky items first (for us it was the packets of disposable nappies) then fit the other items around like a jigsaw, leaving small clothes till last you will get more in the case. I have also always rolled my clothes. Not only does this save space but it eliminates creases in clothing. Do try and take iron free clothes. Fabrics such as viscose and polyester are cool to touch and do not require as much ironing as say a cotton or linen fabric.
Lastly, use empty spaces such as shoes or baby bottles to fit in small items such as underwear and socks. Its worth spending the money on a lightweight suitcase which is fairly "no frills" on the inside, has a net compartment section on the lid and has an expandable gusset. Ours when emptied weighed only 500gms. See Our top 10 products list http://followthefowlers.blogspot.com/2010/03/our-top-10-travel-products.html