Travel Tips

The Light Traveler: Getting Everything You Need Into Your Carry-On Luggage

light traveler

Do you have that “if only” moment when packing a big suitcase asking yourself is there a possibility that you could just try to pack everything in a small bag?! Before discussing how to travel lightly, let’s quickly look at the advantages of doing so.

The cost savings is not insignificant. It also depends on the airline company you are flying with. For instance, United charges $25 per bag between the United States and Canada, but does not charge checked baggage on international flights outside the U.S. and Canada. U.S. Airways and Delta also charge $25, although they waive the fees to more countries than Delta does. Virgin America charges $25 per bag, up to 70 pounds, on all flights.

For the sake of argument, assume you would normally check one bag, but instead you travel light and fit everything into your on-board luggage. You saved $25 each way, or $50 on a round-trip flight. For most people, $50 is a pretty sizeable sum of money.

In addition to the actual cost savings, you’ll fly faster with carry-on luggage only. No, your plane won’t move faster, but you’ll travel faster by skipping the baggage check-in queue before boarding and the baggage carousel after landing.

You’ll also have an easier time traveling, as you’ll have all of your luggage with you. You’ll have no worries about lost or stolen bags or your bags being damaged in transit.

Now, how can you do it?

First you have to choose your bag. You may see many wheeled cases with hard sides in the airport, but the best bag for one-bag traveling is a soft-sided bag with square corners, within carry-on size limits. Think duffle bag, not suitcase. Make sure that the bag you choose fits within the size limits for the airline you choose, because airlines do have different requirements.

The next step is to pack your bag. Repeat to yourself again and again, “Take only what is necessary.” You should always pack essential items, including passport, driver’s license, health insurance card, debit and credit cards, cash and your itinerary.

For a week’s trip, you should plan on taking 4-5 shirts, a jacket or sweatshirt, a nice jacket, which you can wear on the plane to avoid wrinkling, two pairs of pants in addition to the ones you wear on the plane, five or more changes of socks and undergarments, one pair of walking shoes, which you can wear on the plane, flip-flops or sandals if traveling to a hot climate, one pair of nice shoes if you’re traveling for business, and a belt, which you will also wear on the plane.

Accessories for a one-week trip might include a digital camera and battery charger, your mobile phone, charger and headphones, a mini flashlight, nail clippers, sunglasses, earplugs, a notepad and pen, maps and reading materials, and a travel adaptor if traveling abroad.

You’ll also want toiletries, including toothbrush and paste, razor and shaving cream, shampoo, soap, sunscreen, deodorant, lip balm and any medications you take. Just don’t forget that there are certain restrictions about this items when traveling by airplane.

Now that you know what to take, it’s time to look at how to pack it. You may be thinking of rolling, and you’re close, but the best method for one-bag packing to fit everything in is called bundling, or bundle wrapping.

You start with a core, such as an organizer pouch, and bundle everything around that core object in one large “pouch,” or bundle. The basic technique is to lay the largest item on the bed or a table, then lay the next largest object, and so on. Place small items in an organizer bag, which should go in the center. The bundle method avoids fold lines and maximizes space more effectively than rolling.

When you pack lightly and bundle into a soft-sided bag that can be shoved into tight spaces, you’ll not only save time and money traveling. You’ll also look like a rock star to people standing in the baggage line paying to check their bags.

Brenda Panin is a web content writer for fiji holiday deals. She is very passionate about traveing and loves to write about her travel experiences.

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