Now that you have found your cheap flight, it is time to pack your bag.
As the saying goes ‘time is money’. On average, you spend 40 minutes each flight during the check in process and waiting for bags at the other end. If you take six trips a year that is a total of eight hours fluffing around with your bags. That can be a lot of money, not to mention you are actually paying someone else to waste your time.
On a trip, you’ve got two options, to take checked in bags, or to carry on. Which ever way you choose, just make sure you don’t bring more than your allocated amount because no one likes excess baggage; except the airline.
Sit tight, we are going to talk about how to pack your carry on baggage because sometimes, less is more, right?
Depending on your carrier, you will get 7-10kg of baggage to carry on to a flight, which doesn’t leave you much once you’ve packed your Beats by Dre headphones, your J.R Tolkein LOTR trilogy, and a pair of underwear for each day of the week – washed and ironed of course.
Ask yourself this: When you were last on holiday, how many of your long sleeve shirts did you use on the Gold Coast? How many pairs of socks did you use when you went to Cancun? And how many of your flat brimmed caps did you wear when you were hitting the slopes in the Dolomites?
With more and more people travelling every day, airlines are licking their lips at the thought of the fight for over head carry-on space as they push more people onto flights, leading people to tick the checked luggage option when they check in for their flight.
Follow our PACK SMART tips to beat the crunch with your carry-on baggage and travel like a boss.
P – Pants/undies
Did you know, people in the UK call underwear ‘pants’? I didn’t either until I commented on a colleagues pants one day at work – I meant trousers.
The main things to consider are:
- Do you need a pair of freshies every day? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself that one again, really?
- Where are you travelling? Will you be on an active holiday where it is worth keeping the undercarriage fresh, or can you get away with wearing your swimmers/togs around the resort?
- Have you got a plan in place to wash them on the go, or will you bring them home with you?
Realistically, you can get away with less pairs than you think. This obviously comes down to the individual and their comfort zones, but it is worth putting to the test next time you are on the road. No matter how long you are going for (for example one or two months) you will never need more than 10 pairs.
Keep reading, to check out the ‘pro tip for washing clothes‘ below.
A – Accessories
When boarding the plane, there is nothing wrong with wearing your accessories to make your bags lighter.
Put your cap on, wrap your sunglasses over your head, and wear your belt (even if you are wearing active wear). It all makes things lighter.
C – Clothes
To fold or to scrunch? Apply the general rule, small items scrunch and pack inside shoes or other ‘dead space’ areas, where you should keep your shirts and jackets folded so they do not crease.
It is OK to roll up t-shirts to pad out the outside of your luggage – which will supply a shock absorption layer for any keepsakes.
K – Keepsakes
Depending on what souvenirs you are buying, just remember you will have to abide by a weight limit on the flight back.
The fridge magnet might look cool, but they are heavy and will weigh you down. Souvenir photos of you with Micky Mouse should all be digital, and just think – will you really wear the local sports team jersey once you have returned home?
If you do buy fragile keepsakes, position them centrally in your bags, and wrap clothes around them.
S – Shoes
Shoes can weigh about 700 grams per pair, so consider carefully what type of shoes you will need, and wear them on the flight to save valuable weight.
We would recommend to always bring a pair of runners, as these will provide comfort when walking around a new city, allow you to hike the trails in the forest, and also give you good toe protection when on the dance floor – not to mention they form a killer combination when worn with denim jeans.
Are you going to a wedding? Wear your brown leather shoes on the flight.
Are you going to a beach resort? Wear your runners on the flight and leave your thongs/jandals in your bag.
Are you going hiking in the Himalayas? Wear your hiking shoes on the flight.
You get the gist.
M – Money
Keep all of your cash, cheques, credit cards, itineraries and passports in a handy folder which will allow you to easily know where all of your important documents are.
Avoid taking your everyday wallet/purse while travelling, instead take a small pocket size wallet that will fit your important cards and cash. These offer greater security and will limit the amount of non relevant stuff you bring – you don’t need that gift card for the shop down the road while you are overseas. (If you are unlucky enough to be the victim of pick-pockets this will also save you having to track down all the cards that you have left safely at home).
Most destinations accept credit cards for payments, but just be aware of your bank’s credit card fees for overseas transactions – they may come back to bite you when you have returned.
It pays to have some cash on your for smaller purchases where card transactions are not available.
A – Anything else
This includes laptops, headphones, cameras, tripods.
Generally speaking, airlines will also allow you to pack a ‘personal item’ as well as a carry-on bag. If this is the case, combine your travel documents and keepsakes into your camera/laptop bag to save even more weight.
If you are carrying a suit, put your shoes, laptop and camera in the bottom of your suit bag and walk through the gate like a boss.
R – Reading/books
With hard cover books being replaced by electronic copies, there are plenty of options to travel light. If you have a Kindle or other reading device, download the books before you leave, or download an app on your phone so you can read from there.
Failing that, download an audio book, then all it takes is to sit back and relax while listening to Stephen Fry belt out the full set of Harry Potter.
If you must carry the latest copy of Lonely Planet, photocopy your relevant pages instead of bringing the whole book.
T – Toiletries
Ever heard the security people asking to see your liquids and gels in a clear plastic bag? This is a TSA requirement, so make sure you bring a see-through plastic bag that can close and put your liquids and gels into this bag.
You will be limited to 100ml for carry on gels and liquids. The only gel you really need is toothpaste, which can be purchased in miniature form at most chemists.
Roll-on deodorant can be purchased in containers under 100ml, but you can also buy powdered deodorant which doesn’t need to be placed in the small, see through, plastic bag. Likewise, wax for your hair will not need to be placed in this bag.
Hotels will supply you with your shampoos and conditioners, so leave these at home.
Before you go on your trip, get a hair cut, get your eyebrows/eyelashes tinted, get your legs waxed – then you don’t have to worry about it while on the road!
The Golden Rule: When you pack your bag, put all of your items on the bed next to your bag. You will notice that there is always much more next to your bag than there is spare space inside the bag! Go ahead and put half of your items back into the cupboard, the other half into your bag. Lock the front door and get in the taxi to the airport.
In other words, you only need half of what you think you need. If the worst thing in the world happens and you actually do run out of clothes, either keep reading for the next tip, or go and buy a t-shirt – which will make a pretty cool keepsake/souvenir for when you get home.
Pro tip on washing clothes: Of course you can get your washing done at the local laundromat, but if you have booked an Airbnb, make sure it comes with a washing machine. If not, or you’ve booked a hotel, use the shampoo that they supply, fill up the basin and wash your clothes there each day (so it doesn’t pile up), hang up your washing to dry as you go out and explore a new city!
Pro tip on saving even more space: Buy some vacuum pack storage bags where you can put your clothes in, suck all the air out, then you have a nice dense package to easily place in your bag. *Key note – this is great for space but does not change the all-important weight in your bag.
Try to follow the above tips; it is hard at the start, but you really need to ask yourself ‘do I need this?’ What is the worst case scenario? You may have to buy a t-shirt at your destination, or another pair of undies because you listened to the above advice? It is not the end of the world.
Do you have any other tips when you pack your bags? Let us know below!