It can feel like every time you book a flight, there are new checked bag restrictions. Spaces get smaller and freebies get scarce. So let’s get strategic! Check out our tips for how to pack light so you can enjoy your trip without adding on fees.
Get the Right Size Suitcase
Sometimes the container itself is the solution. Take a look at your current suitcase. If it’s a mammoth beast, it could be causing you extra fees with its weight and width. Consider a smaller carry-on suitcase or checked bag with good wheel support. Suitcases with different sections can help you stay organized as well. Or get a bag that will fit all major airline size restrictions. You can find specific size dimensions on each airline’s website.
Want to know the secret for how to pack light for a trip? Packing cubes. These cubes are often made of mesh cloth and designed to fit in your bag like Tetris®. Big items like clothes can go into larger cubes, while socks, shoes, and toiletries get their own smaller cubes. This can help you decide what’s absolutely necessary to bring and keep things organized, too. Plus, it makes it easier to unpack when you’re back home.
Roll Your Clothes
It’s the classic question: Is it better to fold or roll your clothes in your suitcase? Experts say that rolling will help you squeeze in more space. This is especially true if you have lighter fabrics. Most major hotels have irons and ironing boards if anything gets wrinkled on the journey.
Don’t Pack Every Type of Shoe
Shoes are among the bulkiest items you can pack. While it’s tempting to bring a dozen shoes for all occasions, limit yourself to the three-shoe rule. There are the shoes you’ll wear while traveling (the bulkiest of the options), something dressier, and something athletic. This is especially helpful if you’re traveling with a carry-on vs. a checked bag.
Wear Your Bulkiest Items
Even if you’re traveling from a warm destination, wear your heaviest clothes to the airport. This will lighten up your suitcase tremendously. You can always slip off your jacket once you’ve gone through security or use it as a blanket on the plane. Additionally, coat pockets can be used as storage. You can easily fit in gloves, a scarf, or even a hat. This extra space can come in handy later when your suitcase is full of souvenirs.
Empty Your Purse Before You Travel
Ok, ladies, let’s talk about purses for a second. How heavy is yours? You don’t need to bring every house key and bottle of hand cream with you on vacation. Make a point to empty your purse before packing. This will make things lighter as you walk around during your trip. Plus, you can fit extra toiletries, socks, e-readers, and more in your purse. This is also helpful if you’re planning a solo trip. You won’t want extra knickknacks weighing you down on tours and adventures.
Use What’s There
When you want to know how to pack light, it’s all about what you can leave behind. Most of what you’ll need—for toiletries at least—will already be there for you. Most hotels will have you covered for shampoo, conditioner, and lotions. You can also call ahead to see if they have a hairdryer in-room. For everything else, travel size products do make a difference. For instance, a regular hairbrush might take up 10 inches of space in your suitcase, whereas a travel hairbrush will only take up 2 inches.
Get ready to travel! By packing a lighter load, you’ll feel a lot more nimble to zip around the world’s airports. Have fun out there.
Now that you have your lighter suitcase, here are some top places to stay for the night: