As the trend of à la carte flying continues to spread beyond the budget airlines, every piece of luggage now comes with its own price tag and it’s as important as ever to make the most out of every cubic inch to keep costs low. While fitting everything you need into a bag that measures just 22” x 14” x 9” (the standard allowable carry-on size) can be a challenge for even the most savvy traveller, the following hacks can help you pack smarter and lighter, so you can put the money you saved on baggage fees towards enjoying your destination.
Take Advantage of Freebies
Whether you’ll be staying at a hotel, an Airbnb, or a friend’s place, there’s a good chance free toiletries will be available at your destination so you can leave yours at home. Double-check before you go just to be sure and while you’re at it, you might want to ask about other items, like a hairdryer or plug adapter. While it’s always good to be self-sufficient, when you don’t have the space, you don’t have the space.
Though it’s certainly reasonable to switch between your smartphone, laptop and tablet in the comfort of your own home, when you’re out on the road, it’s time to play favourites. Do you really need your laptop, or would you be fine responding to emails on your phone? Is it really necessary to bring your Kindle, or can the Kindle app on your phone suffice? Along those lines, while there is definitely a charm to reading books and magazines in their paper form, these versions will take up a good deal of room in your bag. Now that it’s possible to find an electronic copy of almost anything, in the interest of space and money, download your favourites and leave the time at home.
Keep ’em Separated
Haphazardly stuffing your bag will never be the most efficient use of space. Instead, try utilising packing squares that will keep your bag neat, organised and generally prevent you from over-packing. If you really want to maximise the room in your carry-on, try compression cubes. By squeezing out the air between layers, you’ll be able to slip even more clothing into your bag. But don’t forget: just because the bag takes up less space doesn’t mean it weighs any less and you’ll still need to be able to lift it up to get it into the overhead compartment.
Invest in tools that have multiple functions. For example, rather than pack every single charger for each of your devices, purchase one with alternating heads that can cover all your bases.
Embrace the Capsule Wardrobe
Bring pieces in colours and fabrics that are easy to mix and match so you can create new looks from the same pieces. If you’re taking an extended trip where you’ll be constantly hopping from place to place (i.e. backpacking across Europe or Southeast Asia), you might want to pare down your wardrobe even further to primarily include durable clothing that’s easy to wash in a hotel/hostel sink and quick to dry — especially undergarments. It might also be helpful to pack a clothing line, or a long, strong piece of string— it’ll take up almost no space and could come in handy for purposes beyond just drying.