Packing can be a stressful affair – especially if you’re off on a long trip and need to whittle down all your belongings to the bare essentials. Airline luggage rules are notoriously stingy, so in response to this, regular travelers have developed ingenious methods of using the tiny luggage allowances to their advantage.
Read on for top tips from frequent travelers about how they fit their entire life into their luggage.
Choosing the Right Bags
Reviewing the best luggage brands is an essential before anything else – click the link to see the most popular brands tested and rated.
You should firstly consider whether you need a hard-shell suitcase (best if you’re moving abroad into a fixed location) or a large rucksack (if you’re going backpacking and need to keep things lightweight).
You then need to decide whether your case needs swiveling wheels or locks, or how many liters a rucksack will hold. Don’t forget to check the regulations of the specific airline you’re going with, to avoid having to pay for extra baggage when you get to your flight with a bag that’s too big.
- Choose a stand-out bag design so that it won’t blend into the hundreds of other suitcases on your flight and you’ll be able to locate it easily on the luggage carousel.
- Pick something lightweight but durable. Hard-shells are a good idea for durability, but make sure you get one from a trusted brand. Cheap ones can smash easily.
- Sometimes fabric suitcases are a better option because they have more ‘give’ and you can potentially stuff more inside them. It’s up to you!
- Bags and cases that have lots of separate compartments are great for easily storing things separately, like keeping shoes away from clothes to avoid dirt and smells transferring, and to store laundry separately from clean clothes.
The Pillow Trick
This one comes from blogger and digital nomad ‘Where in the World is Nina?’. She developed this clever trick after noticing that airlines will let you take a pillow on-board as an extra item, not counted in your cabin or stowaway luggage.
She recommends stuffing a pillowcase with extra clothing items, increasing your luggage allowance and meaning you don’t have to leave behind your extra t-shirts. It’s best to do this with a pillowcase that has a zipper to avoid an embarrassing situation where everything falls out. Genius!
A classic tip is to wear your bulkier items like chunky knits and large coats on the plane so that they don’t hog precious storage space.
Favor Multi-Use Items
Pack t-shirts that could be used as pajamas, and tracksuit bottoms that are used both for exercise and lounging.
Rather than neatly folding clothes, it’s generally thought that rolling your clothes saves space and prevents creases. After you’ve packed one layer of rolled clothes, fill in any nooks and crannies with smaller items like socks and underwear.
A pro tip for sensible packing is that you should bring two tops for every one pair of pants – you’re more likely to re-wear a pair of trousers or a skirt than a top. This is a great tip for packing light and maximizing luggage space.
Utilize Every Space
Don’t forget the space inside your shoes! Every little helps when it comes to getting the absolute most out of your baggage allowance. Fill in smaller bags and purses that you’re packing with toiletries, gadgets, small clothing items, etc.
Jewelry Packing Tips
- Wear your most expensive or treasured jewelry items on your journey to avoid loss if bags should go missing.
- Use a pill box (the kind with different compartments per day) so that necklaces and bracelets don’t end up tangled together.
- Alternatively, use a hard-shell sunglasses case or something similar, to protect fragile items that might get broken en-route (this counts for breakables like perfume bottles too).