Carry on luggage solves a multitude of problems. You avoid spending vacation cash on checked bags. Plus, your luggage stays with you in airports, preventing it from getting lost in transit. But trying to stuff all of your belongings into carry on luggage can be a nightmare. Yet it is entirely possible, and plenty of travelers do it every single day. Whether you are going away for the weekend or a month-long romp across Europe, these six tips will solve your carry on stress.
Choose the Best Bag
Opt for a carry on that is easy to maneuver when stuffed to the gills. Take this Osprey Farpoint 80 travel backpack, a personal favorite for carry on luggage. It has a side handle, top handle, plus backpack straps allowing you to pick up and lug your bag in a multitude of ways. The straight jacket compression system helps you squeeze in as much stuff as possible without busting a zipper. Best of all, this size carry on is approved for the size requirements of all major airlines.
Plan Your Pack Attack
List everything you intend to pack. Then spread every item out on the floor so you can get a good look at each item. Now remove any item that cannot serve two purposes or cannot be purchased at your destination. Got a pair of shoes you want to wear for one dinner? Forget about it. Want to pack your toothbrush? Buy a new one or get a freebie at the hotel. Every inch counts in a carry on.
Choose the Lesser of the Two
Now take a look at your clothes and shoes. If you have more than one pair of walking shoes, go with the lighter pair that takes up the least amount of space. Same goes for your items of clothing. Choose the dress with the least amount of material or the dress shirt that is thinner. If you have heavier or bulkier items, such as hiking boots or a winter coat, wear them on your body during your travels.
By the way, you can get away with wearing the same thing twice or three times when traveling, even if you are going away for more than a week. Please see the next trick about packing light with toiletries for keeping clothing clean.
Go Small With Toiletry Sheets
If you need to pack toiletries and cleaners, such as laundry detergent, you will have some difficulties getting through TSA checkpoints. Remember the 3-1-1 baggie rule for liquids? When you are carrying on your luggage anything in your carry on counts. So stick with packing a couple of tiny sheets of laundry soap, body wash, and shaving cream. These save tons of space, and you can zip through security without any hassle over your liquids.
Stash in Packing Cubes
Invest in a set of packing cubes. These travel organizers let you stuff your items into smaller compartments. Two benefits here—reduce clutter by packing like items together, and reduce space used with the compression of the cubes.
Let the Air Out
Go a step further by purchasing compression bags. Pack your clothing in compression bags and roll to get all of the air out. This will shed inches from the amount of space used in your carry on luggage for clothing. These are a traveling game changer.