Going on vacation or a business trip? Knowing how to pack a carry-on bag is crucial because it will save you valuable time and money, without sacrificing your wardrobe. Our travel specialists at Direct Travel have packed many a carry-on, and we have learned a lot along the way. Here are five tips and tricks for your next trip.
Pick the right bag:
- Planning the right bag is the most important part of packing a carry-on bag. Through my experience, I have found that a duffle bag is best for a quick weekend getaway. You are able to squish a duffle anywhere! Personally, I am always afraid the overhead bin will be full, and the airline will force me to check my bag. So if you use a duffle, you are able to squish it into the last spot in the overhead bin, or put it underneath the seat in front of you. Trust me, it fits!
- If you are going away for five to seven days, use a regular carry-on suitcase. Airlines have different size guidelines, but a general rule is to make sure all the sides add up to 45 inches. Use a soft shell suitcase. By using a soft shell, you are able to pack more and the top will fit better in the overhead compartment.
- Don’t forget to bring a large purse or backpack. Having this extra bag will allow you to pack even more, and allow extra space for anything you might purchase to bring home. I usually put my personal items, electronics, valuable items, my toiletry bag, and plastic bag of liquids in my purse/backpack. Also, the more pockets the better.
Plan your clothes:
- Plan and lay out your outfits. Remember, less is more. You will be surprised how many outfit combinations you can get by wearing the same jeans or shirt more than one way. They say shirts are wearable between washes for two days and pants for three days. By planning and laying out your outfits before packing, you are able to visually see what to bring, versus what might not be worth the carry-on real estate.
- Check the weather of your destination to make sure you pack appropriate layers and shoes.
- Wear your chunkiest shoe on the plane, then only pack two other pairs. If your shoes are “stuffable,” then stuff whatever you can into your shoes to maximize space. Also, wrap a plastic bag around your shoes so you can put them in your suitcase without getting clothes dirty.
- Bring one pair of pajamas, and if you need to bring a sweatshirt or jacket, wear it on the plane.
- Pick a color scheme so you will be able to have more options to mix and match your clothes. Lighter pastel colors can be hard to coordinate, so consider a dark color scheme (black or navy blue).
- Remember, you can always wash your clothes. Bring a travel size detergent and use the sink to wash.
Roll your clothes:
- In my opinion, rolling your clothes is the best technique to get the most items in your suitcase. Roll your clothes as tight as you can, and stack them on top of each other. Jeans can be hard to roll so I usually lay them flat at the bottom of the suitcase and layer the rolled clothes on top. Rolling your clothes will also help reduce wrinkles.
Use the clown car “bundle method:”
- Lay all your shirts flat with the arms hanging out of your suitcase. Then lay your pants on top of the shirts with the legs hanging out. As you are layering, make sure the shirts or pants are going in the opposite direction. Also, as you are layering, fold them on top of one another, tucking them in as you go. Here is a video I found to help you see this method.
Try compression bags:
- These bags are great because you are able to fit big items, like a sweater or sweatshirt, into a small suitcase without taking up space. Simply stack your clothes in the compression bag, I recommend rolling your clothes so you can add more! Seal the compression bag, and tightly roll the bag towards the zipper to release all the air. You are able to pack it rolled or flat in the suitcase. Here is where you can purchase compression bags.
What NOT to Bring:
- If you are staying a hotel, chances are they will provide you with shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion, so there’s no need to bring these items.
- Liquids that are over 3.4 ounces are only allowed in checked bags. Yes, people still forget that you can’t bring regular-sized liquid products.
- Do not pack your full beauty routine for hair and makeup. Pick one or two hair products that you can get by with, and bring minimum makeup. You are on vacation, be care free!
- Do not bring unnecessary gadgets. Depending what you have in the electronics department, pick one electronic that can be used for multiple functions.
- Do not bring nice jewelry or valuables. It’s not worth the risk of getting lost or stolen. If you bring jewelry, wear it or put it in your purse/backpack. Never put jewelry or valuables in a checked bag. Unfortunately, I have been a victim of stolen items from my checked bag, and in matter of fact, it was jewelry.
- Do not bring a hair dryer, iron, large makeup mirror, wrapped gifts, your pillow or blanket from home, fruits and veggies, or power tools – you would be surprised what I have seen people pull out of their carry-ons in the security line.
By Kaci Witynski