Top 5 Packing Tips to Avoid Checking Your Bag While Flying

Love traveling but hate paying those fees to check your bag? These five packing tips will help you avoid all that hassle on your next flight.

Traveling light is more than just a convenience—it can transform your entire travel experience. As you prepare for your next trip, consider the advantages of flying without checked luggage: less time at the airport, less risk of lost belongings, and fewer baggage fees. Mastering the art of efficient packing is key to achieving this. In this guide, we’ll share the top five packing tips that will help you pack smarter, not harder, ensuring everything you need fits into a carry-on bag. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or a novice traveler, these tips will revolutionize the way you pack, making your journeys more enjoyable and stress-free. So, let’s dive into the world of minimalist packing and discover how 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 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.

READ MORE: Top 5 Items Flight Attendants Recommend Bringing on the Plane

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, 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.

Click here

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 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, 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!