Travel Light, Travel Right: Top Packing Tips for Jetsetters – travelobiz
The summer of 2022 will forever be remembered in the world of air travel for its chaotic turmoil: mass cancellations, endless queues, and an abundance of misplaced luggage that spanned the globe. While a traveler has little control over flight schedules and bustling crowds, many have chosen to take matters into their own hands, vowing never to check a bag again.
“I only check a bag if it’s absolutely unavoidable,” confides Phil Dengler, co-founder of The Vacationer, in a conversation with HuffPost. “Checking a bag is often more costly, and the risk of it going astray or being delayed is too high. This strategy not only saves me money but also reduces the stress associated with air travel.”
If your ticket permits you a carry-on bag and a personal item, then this is the most straightforward route to transporting your belongings to your intended destination.
“I personally prefer the convenience of traveling with just a carry-on, saving both time and the trouble of dragging around a colossal suitcase,” asserts Casey Brogan, a seasoned traveler and consumer travel expert at Tripadvisor. “Upon reaching a vacation spot, the last thing anyone desires is to be stuck at the airport.”
Squeezing all your essentials into a carry-on may sound like a daunting task for some, but fear not, for there are practical strategies to make it a reality. Below, you’ll discover 15 invaluable tips on packing efficiently, shared by the likes of Dengler, Brogan, and other well-traveled experts.
Strategic Footwear Choice: When assembling your plane outfit, make a wise selection that maximizes the space in your carry-on, especially in regard to your footwear. “Wear the bulkiest pair of shoes during your flight,” advises Dengler. “Certain shoes, boots, and other types of footwear occupy a significant amount of suitcase space and cannot be easily folded. Additionally, only pack the footwear that is absolutely indispensable for your trip.”
Color Coordination: “To guard against overpacking, the most prudent approach is to ensure that everything you bring serves a purpose,” suggests Gabby Beckford, a self-proclaimed “carry-on-only queen” and the visionary behind the aptly named travel platform, Packs Light. “I always try to stick to a color scheme when packing. By incorporating items that adhere to the same color scheme, you can mix and match to your heart’s content.”
The Art of Rolling: “Rolling your garments is the ultimate space-saving technique for your carry-on,” declares Dengler. “Moreover, your clothes are less likely to emerge from your suitcase with unsightly wrinkles compared to when they’re folded.” He also recommends using rubber bands to secure your rolled clothing, enhancing organization within the suitcase.
Accommodation with Laundry Facilities: Even before you embark on the packing process, your choice of accommodation can significantly impact your ability to travel with just a carry-on. “Select a hotel or Airbnb equipped with laundry facilities to drastically reduce the amount you need to pack,” advises Dengler. “While laundry may not be everyone’s idea of vacation, it allows you to embark on extended journeys with just a single carry-on.” Laura Ratliff, senior editorial director at TripSavvy, swears by stain-removing wipes for refreshing clothes during her travels. She also suggests taking advantage of local laundry services, which are often budget-friendly.
Embrace Your Personal Item: Major airlines typically permit passengers to carry a “personal item” in addition to their overhead bin luggage. This presents yet another opportunity to maximize your packing capacity. “I utilize a standard backpack as my personal item, a crucial element in my quest to avoid checking a bag,” discloses Dengler. “I often use it to store extra shoes, snacks, and toiletries, enabling me to focus on clothing for my carry-on.” Paul Jacobs, general manager and VP at Kayak North America, also endorses taking full advantage of your personal item allowance. “I use a laptop bag with a spacious central section. It can easily accommodate a sweater, light jacket, and my toiletries, conserving space in my carry-on. My wife even places her purse inside a backpack to keep it within the confines of one personal item.”
Harness the Power of Packing Cubes: For those aspiring to join #TeamCarryOnOnly, standard packing cubes come highly recommended by Beckford. “These cubes are frequently touted for good reason—they deliver results. Packing cubes introduce a sense of order and organization within your suitcase, curbing the temptation to mindlessly toss in unnecessary items.”
Venture into Vacuum-Sealed Bags: For those eager to take packing to the next level, vacuum-sealed packing bags are an option. “Place your fluffiest items within these bags and use a hand pump to extract every ounce of air. This compresses your clothes, allowing you to fit twice as much. Just ensure you’re prepared to do the same when returning,” advises Beckford. Many individuals residing in compact living spaces rely on vacuum-sealed bags to stow away bulky items during off-seasons, making them a logical choice for travelers aiming to optimize limited carry-on space.
Ensure Your Luggage Complies: There’s nothing worse than believing you’ve packed for carry-on only to discover at the airport that your bag must be checked. “The dimensions of carry-on and personal item bags vary among airlines, so it’s essential to verify their compliance when booking your ticket,” Dengler warns. “In many cases, adding extra carry-on or checked bags after booking can be considerably more expensive, necessitating early consideration.”
Opt for Lightweight Fabrics: Instead of filling your suitcase with chunky sweaters and thick socks, contemplate how much more you can bring by selecting thinner fabric garments. This not only allows for more versatility but also equips you to handle variations in temperature at your destination. “Steer clear of heavy or bulky materials and, instead, choose items that can be layered,” advises Brogan. “Pack outfits that offer mix-and-match potential, permitting you to re-wear items.”
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