WATCH: 7 Genius Packing Tips for Squeezing Everything into Your Carry-On
Have you tried the contact lens case trick?
There are two types of suitcases in this world, a wise proverb once stated. Those you can bring onto a plane, and those you have to check. Choose the former luggage, and you'll be happier every time — less waiting in line, less stress at the airport, less fear of or actual misplacement of your belongings. Over time, I've developed my own method of squeezing all of my things into a carry-on bag (it involves re-wearing the same outfit throughout a trip and taking many pairs of shoes out of my bag). But, after chatting with travel experts and bloggers, I learned, that there is, in fact, a better way to cram everything into your carry-on luggage, and it doesn't involve convincing yourself that gold flats match with every outfit. Read on for their brilliant tips.
1. Buy a small bag.
"This sounds crazy, but it's one of the simplest solutions. If you limit the amount of space you have to fill, you'll learn to lean down what you need. For [my wife's and my] carry-on bag, we don't look for the biggest bag that is allowable, instead, we try to find the smallest carry on that works for us," says Jacob Fu, co-founder of travel blog Local Adventurer. "On three-to-five day trips, we've learned to pack one backpack each and share a carry-on between the two of us."
2. Stop folding your clothes.
"Always roll your clothes," says Amir Benesh, CEO of LVH Global, a luxury vacation home rental service. "You can even fit some rolled shirts into your shoes to leave for extra space." For that matter, you can also stuff shoes with device chargers, sunglasses, and other accessories. P.S. Yes, you should be wearing your bulkiest items on the flight to save more room. If it's too hot, at least tie that hooded sweatshirt or cardigan around your waist.
3. Leave your colorful and patterned clothes at home.
A controversial tip for the fashion-forward folks out there, but a savvy one if you're looking to save space in your luggage. "Pack a monochromatic wardrobe so everything mixes and matches," offers Janice S. Lintz, a freelance writer who has traveled to 108 UN countries. By narrowing your wardrobe selections to a few colors, you can pack less since you'll be able to pair various shirts, skirts, dresses, sweaters, and pants with other items.
4. Use packing cubes.
We heard a similar sentiment from many travel writers and frequent fliers: "I owe being able to travel carry-on only for months at a time to packing cubes. I especially love compression cubes because they allow me to squish twice the amount of clothes into the same space. I've had my cubes for over four years now, and they've been pushed to the limits, so they work, and they last," says Megan Stetzel, travel blogger of WhyWaitToSeeTheWorld.com. Try Gonex Compression Packing Cubes for $23.99 on Amazon here.
5. Don't pack all of those travel-sized toiletry bottles.
"As airline regulations on carry-ons get even more stringent, the advice becomes 'smaller is better.' Just because you can bring 3.4 oz of your cosmetics and lotions doesn't mean you actually need that much," comments Ashley Blake, founder of group travel company Traverse Journeys. "One smart way to save space on your carry on is to make mini bottles of your personal hygiene essentials. "Buy .25 or .5 oz containers so can put just the amount of eye cream, essential oil, or concealer that you'll need." Nikki Gilland, author and editor of Lipstick Latitude also recommends using contact lens cases for liquids: "They're small, leak-proof and will hold plenty of skincare or makeup product to get you through all but the longest trips."
6. Leave some room in your bag.
"As tempting as it might be, do not completely fill your bag. Whether you purchase items on your trip or not, it's inevitable that your clothing will all somehow manage to expand," cautions Lyndsey Parker, Africa expert, Scott Dunn USA. When you find that bulky necklace at a flea market that you can't live without, you'll be glad you did this.
7. Pack a collapsible plastic water bottle.
"If you want to carry a water bottle, but do not want to bulk or weight of a normal bottle, consider using a collapsible plastic water bottle," comments Ernest Shahbazian, owner and founder of Trip Astute. (Get the two-liter Platypus Platy for $7.97 on Amazon.) "You can refill these bottles at water bottle stations at airports. When not in use, you can roll them up or store them flat in your carry-on bag." Also, while wandering through cities or hanging on the beach, using a reusable water bottle is a great way to save money and to help cut back on plastic waste (of course, make sure the drinking water at your destination is safe, first).
We don't know about you, but we're excited to kick off on our next carry-on packing challenge. Last-minute July 4th getaway, anyone?