On most international flights the first bag is checked for free but this convince can cause problems later. If the suitcase is too big and additional traveling is planned after arrival, expect to pay the fees for every domestic flight. I always using a carry-on sized suitcase when I am traveling. It saves me so much money and time. The fees for checked luggage add up all to fast and aren’t worth it when I’m a carry-on pro! Checking a bag roughly costs $25 USD. Remember, saving money while traveling means being prepared from the beginning.
Learn to carry-on YOUR luggage like a pro and never pay fees again!
Tip #1 — Use Carry-On Sized Bottles
Always bring 3 oz. travel sized liquids – shampoo, conditioner, face cream, sunscreen, etc. They can be refilled or replaced if they run out. This allows the flexibility necessary to have your luggage count as carry-on or checked. It also decreases the weight of your bag preventing more unnecessary fees. Keep in mind that every country’s rules are different when it comes to fitting liquid bottles into a plastic zip bag. Sometimes they ask for a gallon size and others they ask for a quart. Plan and search ahead online!
Tip #2 — Roll Clothing
I was convinced for years that rolling clothing in a suitcase was inefficient until I actually tried it! Doing so saves quite a bit of space by compacting the size of each piece of clothing. Rolling also helps organize your bag by making your clothing options more visible. I like this because I can pick my outfits out quickly and get out to explore!
Tip #3 — Bag Up Chargers
Story time! One time, when going through airport security with my father, our small duffel bag got flagged… for explosives! I am not kidding and I can 100% guarantee that there wasn’t even a firework that had been near the bag. After TSA cleared us, we tried to figure out why on earth that happened. Our conclusion was that the multiple electronic chargers in our bag probably looked like a mess; it was a bundle of wire! I began putting electronic extras in a gallon zip bag and have had smooth sailing ever since. Plus, it is also a good way to stay organized!
Tip #4 — Utilize Hiking Methods
When hiking with a huge backpack, it is most efficient to pack the heaviest things at the bottom and the lighter items on the top. The same goes for a travel backpack. Doing this is easier on the back and spine. This weight distribution also makes the process of putting the pack up into the overhead compartments on a plane much easier.
Tip #5 — Keep Laptop/Tablets Handy
When maneuvering through the airport, keep your laptop in an accessible place before going through security. TSA likes to keep the x-ray line flowing and if your laptop is in the bottom or back of your bag it will take a little while to retrieve it. By keeping it at the top or front you can quickly put it into a bin and not disturb the rhythm. Remember, laptops always have to be taken out for security!
Tip #6 — Wear The Heaviest Items
Wearing the heaviest clothing you’re bringing makes for a lighter bag to carry through the airport. There will also be less worry that the bag will exceed the weight limit. Although I cannot remember the last time I had to weigh my carry-on I still get paranoid about weight. The heaviest items tend to be sneakers, jeans, jackets, and sweaters.
Click here for tips on making your luggage lighter!
Tip #7 — Choose ‘Personal Item’ Wisely
I always use a backpack as my personal item when traveling through an airport. Airports let travelers bring their carry-on size regulated luggage and one ‘personal item.’ I use my REI Vagabond 40 bag that can transform from a travel backpack to a duffel bag by zipping a back panel over the straps. By converting my pack to a duffel, I can carry my personal item/backpack on my back and my luggage in my hand. If I am feeling lazy, I can wear my smaller backpack on my front. I use a backpack as my personal item because it can hold more than a purse or satchel. Doing this gives me peace of mind when purchasing souvenirs!
Tip #8 — Leave Behind The Superfluous
Hair straighteners, high heels, huge purses, hair dryers, full size toiletries, electronic toothbrushes, portable speakers, etc… leave them at home! These items take up space and are honestly unnecessary when backpacking. You will be meeting new people and they don’t know how you are “suppose” to look. Free your conscience and lighten your load by leaving these items behind.
Tip #9 — One Pair Of Jeans
Blue jeans take up space and are meant to be worn more than once without being washed. If you are backpacking, you will appreciate the space! Also, if you are traveling in warmer climates you will not need them that often anyway.
Tip #10 — Three Pairs Of Shoes
I have some awesome friends who can get by with one pair of hiking boots. As for me, my feet need options so I limit myself to three pairs of shoes. A sneaker, a sandal, and a dress shoe/flat. It works for me & have stuck to this method all over the world.
Tip #11 — Choose A Color Scheme
By choosing a color scheme the clothing you bring, outfits can be switched around into other outfits! This helps reduce the amount of clothing needed helps make getting ready for each day effortless. I like black, white, greys, and blues for my color scheme.
Tip #12 — Lay Everything Out
Before putting everything in your bag, lay it out and try to eliminate a quarter to half of it. Believe it or not, you won’t need or wear everything you think you will. Travelers learn to make do with what they have and leave the excess behind. Now you have more space for keepsakes and letting your packing skills lax on those rougher mornings.
Tip #13 — Leave Space
Everyone loves bringing home a souvenir or two so by leaving space in your luggage you won’t have to say ‘no’ to that adorable handmade trinket you find in a village shop!
What are some of your packing tips? Let us know! Leave some of your tips in the comments!