Packing for your next getaway can be quite the predicament. Pack too little and you’ll most likely end up heading to the first store you see. Over pack and you’ll be lugging around extra weight, paying airline baggage fees (pricey) and feeling like you are just disorganized. So this week we are gonna go over 10 Packing Tips to make your life and your bags lighter.
1. Roll them, don’t fold them.
This is one of the most important steps in packing light, yet most people seem to over look it. Rolling your clothes tight reduces space, keeps wrinkles to a minimum and allows you to organize your bag better. We have been to Europe several times with just a carry-on bag for a 20 day stay, its all about how you approach it.
2. Create a packing list.
Making a list means you are better prepared to pack more efficiently. Start by outlining essential items needed for your destination, outfits you will want to wear (day wear/dinner wear) and toiletries. You will often find this will help keep your stress over packing at a minimum while creating a sense of accomplishment as you check off each packed item. Best thing about making a list is that you have peace of mind that you didn’t forget to bring something.
3. Research baggage-fees for your airline.
Airlines’ baggage-fee policies can be tricky but familiarizing yourself is essential to saving money at check-in. Most airlines allow one checked bag on international flights but several U.S. carries will over charge you for a checked bag. See tips on avoiding fees here. Checking airline baggage policies is something to consider prior to booking your plane ticket, as some airlines will offer cheap fares but over charge for checked bags, while others have a slightly higher fare and no fees.
4. Stick to the 3-1-1 rule.
Basically the rule works like this: Any liquid in your carry-on bag must be 3.4 oz less and placed inside a clear quart-sized ziplock bag. Pack a large bottle of shampoo or perfume in your carry-on and the TSA will most likely confiscate your stuff, holding you up in line and make you look like a complete greenhorn in the process. Learn more about the 3-1-1 rule here.
5. Use your personal item wisely.
Since airlines permit travelers to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item on board planes, bringing a larger tote bag as your personal item is a smart way to get extra storage space. This method will come in handy for keeping all of the things you need to be on hand during the flight, while giving you room to bring back some gifts or souvenirs on your return.
6. Do laundry on the go.
One way to keep your baggage count down is to do laundry when traveling. We made it over 22 days on vacation living out of a carry-on bag by doing our laundry on the go. If you’re staying in a hotel, it’s a good idea to call in advance about laundry services and how much they cost. Vacation rental properties often have laundry on site making it ideal to wash-and-wear garments for long trip. We’ve found that if your hotel or rental doesn’t offer laundry that facilities are usually available in a near by neighborhood.
7. Packing dual-purpose outfits.
Packing a pair of pants that completes 2 outfits, means one less thing to pack. Dual-Purpose outfits are a great way to keep the amount of items in your bag to a minimum. Consider bringing a jacket that will look good the entire trip to free up even more space. Less items equals less weight and can save you big time on airline baggage fees.
8. Layer, layer, layer.
When flying we always try to wear plenty of layers, to help our carry-ons light. Instead of packing your jacket or those bulky boots, wear them on the plane to save space. Laying up on travel day can really elevate space in your luggage. It is also a good idea to pack in layers. Packing in layers makes it a breeze to sort through your outfits and allows TSA to screen your luggage faster, thus speeding up your time in security.
9. Never check valuable or essential items.
This one seems like a no brainer, but people often over look it. Keeping your passport, drivers license, money, credit cards, jewelry, and electronics should always be brought onto the plane with you. Remember if an airline loses your luggage or a TSA agent gets sticky fingers, you’ll regret stowing that expensive watch or iPad in a checked bag.
10. Use smart packing systems.
Our favorite packing system is the Spacepak system by Flight 101, their compression system fits up to 2 weeks worth of clothing in tidy cube-like compartments that fit together handsomely in your suitcase or carry-on. (Check it out here )
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