Increase your travel efficiency and avoid extra luggage fees by packing mostly synthetic fabrics.

Synthetic fabrics drys at twice the rate of knitted and natural fibers like cotton. Wrap socks and underwear around your hands like gloves (like the picture on the right) in the shower and wash them with hair conditioner. Many synthetics, and silk, are made of protein-like materials and are best cleaned like human hair.

Hang up your wet clothes, preferably by a window, in the evenings giving them enough time to dry by morning.

Check the labels of your garments and dry them based on their primary materials. How Stuff Works has a complete set of directions on cleaning synthetic fibers, here are the highlights for drying.

  • Acetate – Avoid direct heat from vents and raditators and never leave in direct sunlight.
  • Acrylic –  Squeeze out excess water and place on a heat source, by a window, or a balcony on a warm evening.
  • Fiberglass – Drip dry and don’t iron shirts or pants.

  • Modacrylic – Squeeze out the excess water and use a cool iron to speed up drying.
  • Nylon – Easy to dry, line up clothing on an edge (table or chair) overnight.
  • Polyester – If the hotel iron has a steam setting, use it to dry this resilient material.
  • Spandex – Same as nylon, not much special treatment needed.
  • Triacetate – This fabric has a high tolerance to heat and can be placed on radiators or sunny windowsills.
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Synthetics will also keep you warmer and wearing them will make the most out of layering.

  • If you’re traveling to a warmer climates, the longer drying times of naturals will be negated by turning the air conditioning off in your hotel room and letting mother nature do her job. Natural fibers allow more sweat to evaporate off your skin keeping you cooler in hot weather.

Many of these travel tricks to stick to a single carry on come from packing like a stripper. Those exotic dancers warn that synthetics tend to wrinkle easier than natural fibers so roll fold clothing when packing to avoid creases.