Packing can be a nightmare, especially when your trip will last more than a few days. Between the fear of being stopped at the gate because your carry-on luggage doesn’t fit into the sizer and the anxiety caused by airline personnel telling you that your checked bag is over 50 pounds, over-packing just isn’t the best idea. Yikes! Who needs that kind of stress at a busy airport? Packing to maximize space won’t only save you time and money, but it will also keep you from being that annoying traveler who overstuffs the overhead bin on the plane. Here are some tried and true tips to help you fit all of your gear (and then some) into a reasonably sized piece of luggage.
Roll Your Clothes
Rolling your clothes, instead of folding, is perhaps the oldest packing hack in the book. It proves effective in saving room. Try rolling lightweight fabrics together. This method is ideal for pajamas, skirts, knit tops, light cardigans, and dresses. Roll complete outfits together for organization and easy access.
Pack Small Items in Shoes
The key is to utilize every nook and cranny to maximize space. That means making good use of the space in your shoes. Pack socks, toiletries, and small miscellaneous items into your kicks. If you’re traveling with kids, you can even pack their shoes inside of yours.
Fold Your Intimates
When balled up and thrown into a suitcase, even your smallest garments can take up precious room. Fold underwear into small squares, pack them inside bra cups, and fold the bras in half. This helps maximize space, all while retaining the shape of your brassiere. Double win!
Use Your Belts as Liners
There are many places where you can use your belt as a liner. Our favorite spot is in a button-down shirt collar. This is another hack that keeps the structure of the garment intact. You can roll most belts around twice to fit within the collar. If you’re running low on space for clothes in your bag, try lining the perimeter of your bag with your belts.
Wear Your Largest Garments
Sometimes, the best packing technique is to not pack at all. If you plan on bringing a pair of bulky boots or a coat, simply wear them to the airport. Layer up. You may also wear a lightweight top under a sweatshirt, or heavier jacket. We get it: this may be a bit strange when traveling to an opposing climate, but you can always de-layer once you reach your destination. This tip saves space, and in some cases, prevents you from having to check an additional bag.
Pack A Large Reusable Bag
If you’ve made good use of all other packing tips, chances are, your luggage leaves little room for additional items. You may wonder what to do if you acquire extra goods when you reach your destination. We suggest packing a large foldable, reusable bag in your carry-on. This takes up virtually no space and can fit in the side pocket of almost any luggage. Opt for a bag that is large enough to fit your personal item (laptop, purse, travel pillow, etc.) in addition to a few more items, such as souvenirs and an extra set of clothes. Upon your return home, pack your personal item, plus your additional things inside the reusable bag. As long as it can fit underneath the seat in front of you on a plane, you’re all set.