For anyone who has traveled recently you know what a hassle it can be getting through airports and onto your flight. It’s no wonder so many people are turning to carry-on luggage to eliminate at least some of the growing difficulties of travel. Having only carry-on bags saves you time by not having to wait at the baggage claim and it will save you money not having to pay those baggage fees. To make the best use of carry-on luggage there are some things you need to consider before you leave:
- The first thing to remember is to get the right size carry-on. Now it’s true that most airlines have similar rules but nevertheless some are different. To be on the safe side when you select your carry-on bag make sure it meets the most common size restrictions. For most airlines this means it needs to be no larger than 22” x 14” x 9”. It’s true that bags that are slightly larger than this may still fit in those cramped overhead bins, but why take the chance. Keep to this size and you shouldn’t have any problems on any airline you fly.
- The next thing you need to think about is how to make the most use out of that small space you have to pack all those essential belongings. For most people this is a challenge. You no longer have the luxury of just taking anything you might think you need and throwing it into that large suitcase that’s going to get checked. You really need to learn how to pack bag. So here are a few tips we’ve learned from hundreds of airline trips:
First, before you even put the first item in a bag, lay everything out on the floor or the bed or someplace where you can see what you plan on taking. Once you’ve done that, start eliminating all those things that you really don’t need. For women this may be especially hard. But in the end you’ll be glad you took this important step.
Once you have the essential items that you’re going to need, next you have to start planning how to get them into the bag. Start by placing the heavier and bulkier items at the bottom of the bag. If you’re packing a roller board type suitcase having the weight in the bottom will make it easier to handle the bag. This would include things like shoes, shaving kits, bulky hairdryers etc. If you packed shoes, the inside of those shoes are a great place to put soft items like socks. You want to make use of every bit of space.
If you’re taking things like belts, don’t roll them up and just lay them in the bag. Place them around the perimeter of the bag. They’ll take up a lot less space that way. In fact, the more clothing items that you can roll up and place in the bag the more space you’ll save.
If you can’t roll up all the clothes you’re taking, like shirts and blouses, fold them up and place them on the very top. Doing this will result in fewer wrinkles when you get to your destination. Most carry-on bags will have a place where you can pack garments such as coats, pants, dresses etc. Be sure to make use of the space. If your bag will allow you to use simple wire hangers, they will take up less room.
If you pack sensibly the standard carry-on bag should be able to carry enough clothes for 4 to 5 days. If you’re really good at packing you may have enough clothes for a full week. The more you travel with carry-on luggage the better you’ll get at making every bit of space count.
The last thing to remember is all those toiletry items. Make sure you have them placed in a 3 quart see-through plastic bag and easily accessible. You’re going to have to take them out when you go through security. I like to put them in one of those outside pockets so I can get to them quickly. Follow these few easy tips and with a little practice you’ll be able to pack that carry-on bag for a week and have everything you need.