Now that we’re getting into 2018, it also means a new year of more adventures and places to explore. And with great flight deals and more efficient ways to rack up miles for more trips, travel is becoming more affordable to the masses. But once you plan out your excursions for the year, you’ll then need to face your next obstacle: packing.
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Although luggage comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, you may not want to have to deal with checking your bag. Whether it’s because you will be stuck waiting at the carousel or you don’t want to drop the cash, there are many benefits to bringing your bag onto the plane yourself than leaving it to the cargo space under the plane.
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First of all, you will be able grab whatever you need when you need it. Secondly, you will avoid the chance of your stuff being lost. And if you have everything, you’ll be able to get out of the airport and start you trip much faster. Whatever your reason is, picking the right packing strategy can sometimes be overwhelming or confusing. To avoid any stress to your travel planning, we’ve gathered a few tips on making sure you have everything you need and keeping that bag light. Here are the Top 5 packing tips to avoid checking your bag while flying.
5.) Choose Your Bags Wisely
Before you start figuring out what to bring on your trip, you need to think about what bag (or bags) you’re bringing with you. Since you’re avoiding the check-in line, any kind of rolling luggage or duffle needs to fit specific dimensions. Many airlines like United and JetBlue allow one bag that is 22 inches (55.88 cm) by 14 inches (35.56 cm) by 9 inches (22.86 cm), including the wheels. You can also bring a personal item like a backpack, laptop case or purse.
Before you roll to the gate with two bags, you should make sure the ticket you book will allow you to bring one piece of carry on luggage, as well as a personal item. Sometimes airlines try to throw you a curve ball by offering you a cheaply priced ticket, only to find out you can’t actually bring a bag bigger than a pocketbook. So make sure to check the airline’s rules before booking your flight.
Once you figure out what you can bring onto the plane, you have to choose hard or soft case. For the purposes of this post, you will want to go with soft luggage because it usually expands more than the hard cases, giving you more space to pack souvenirs or any other knickknacks you pick up during your travels. And if your personal item is a purse or laptop case, you should toss a foldable duffle into your luggage. That way you can put your smaller bag into the duffle and bring that on as a personal item.
4.) Pick More Basic Clothing Than Standout Pieces
Now that many of us like to document our trips while we’re still on them, you don’t want to look like you’re wearing the same outfit every single day. But because you don’t have as much space, you’ll need to limit the amount of clothing you actually bring. So instead of picking pieces that have tons of decoration on them, you might want to choose solid colored clothing.
If you just need some pattern in your life, you may want to go with a simple stripe shirt or a sundress. Other basic pieces to add include chinos, shorts, dark blue jeans, tees, a button-down shirt, a sweater, and a hoodie. If you’re going to two different climates, you may want to pack a foldable layering coat like this one.
3.) Look for the Dual Purpose in Each Item You Pack
Aside from packing simple and versatile clothing options, you should also think about whether or not the shirt you are packing can work for tours in the daytime but also nice enough to wear out to dinner in the evening. If you pick clothing that can work on different occasions during your trip, you’ll bring less.
While we’re not saying for you to reuse underwear, you don’t need to bring a multitude of pants or 10 coats. Sure, you might want to look great for Instagram, but no one will know that you’re rocking three-day-old jeans. But if you’re still a little worried about re-wearing clothing, you should pack a travel size bottle of Febreeze. You can spray the areas where you’ve sweat and hang to dry. You’ll then have refreshed clothing in the morning. You could also put pouches filled with lavender beads into your luggage to keep everything smelling nice. This is especially good for your dirty laundry bag.
The idea of dual purpose choices also applies to other items. Before you pack a pair of shoes for every activity, think about a pair of sneakers that are great for walking around but also doing some hiking. Or you could opt for a modestly heeled boot or loafer that’s comfortable for a nice brunch and also night out. This also goes for smaller travel purses and bags. Tote bags can work as both your daily excursion bag and a place to put your laundry. And clutches can be your evening bag and also the pouch where you put all the cords, plugs, jewelry and more.
2.) Keep All Your Toiletries to the Essentials
If you’re bringing a carry on bag, each product needs to be 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. And if you don’t like the selection in the travel aisle of Target, then you may need to invest in travel size bottles for each of your toiletries.
If you want to be green, you can get a clear plastic toiletry bag, which you can reuse for future trips. Because most reusable clear toiletry bags come in one size, you may need to streamline your products to the ones you need the most, which will also be a great way to do some early spring cleaning in your bathroom.
1.) Treat Packing Like a Puzzle
Once you’ve got your clothing picked out and your toiletries selected, now you need to put everything into your luggage bag. While it’s tempting to just toss everything in and zip up your luggage, you may want to be more organized.
If you refuse to roll your clothing, then packing cubes might be best for you. Each fits every type of clothing item you’ll need to bring and fit like puzzle pieces in your bags, which keep everything steady while you’re on your flight.
Which of these tips are you going to use on your next excursion? Do you have a packing tip that wasn’t in this list? Let us know in the comments below!