Whatever you pack your gear in, be sure to clearly tag your luggage on the outside with your name, address, and phone number. (You might want to use a business address or PO Box instead of your home address.) Also put a piece of paper inside with the same information, in case the tag gets stripped off.
If you are traveling internationally, you should pack your own gear, then keep it close to you at all times. If someone else packs your gear or you are separated from it, the best that could happen is that the airline will grill you about your luggage and possibly go through it. The worst that can happen is your airplane exploding from a bomb you inadvertently brought on.
1. Organizing the Space
You will undoubtedly want to organize the space in your luggage so that items are easily accessible once you get to your destination. Plastic Bags are Your Friends when it comes to this. You can pack your undies in one bag, your socks in another, your toiletries in another, and so on. (Don’t forget to pack an extra bag for your dirty laundry!)
2. Avoiding Wrinkles
My former neighbor tells me that the best way to avoid wrinkling suits is to roll them up carefully, then put them in a plastic bag.
3. Avoiding Breakages
If you are traveling with anything breakable, surround it with soft and squishy items. Put your CD player inside a plastic bag, and then put it inside a plastic bag filled with your socks. Put your Listerine bottle inside your one of your boots. You might also want to put your breakable item inside a cardboard box stuffed with foam or packing “peanuts”, then putting that box inside your suitcase. The best way to avoid breakage is to take the item as carry-on, if possible.
4. Maximizing Space Utilization
If you are having trouble fitting everything in, look for ways to use nooks and crannies. Fill the area around books with socks. Put your Ethernet cables inside your shoes. Also, you can cheat a little bit on the carry-on. Wear your jacket on the plane instead of putting it in your suitcase. (This is not a bad idea anyways, since airplanes are frequently cold.) Put your earrings, modem, or even a few pairs of underwear in your coat pockets.