Given how long you sometimes must wait at baggage claim, many airline passengers’ dream is to travel without checked baggage. Doing so requires packing all your belongings into one carry-on case stored in the overhead bin during the flight. Is that even possible?
For people who have never tried to limit what they bring on their trips, the answer is likely “no.” But even the most undisciplined packer can learn how to travel lighter. It just takes planning and knowing some of the packing tips for your flight. With a bit of practice, the choice to travel without checked baggage might become your default mode for airline travel.
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Essential Packing Tips For Your Flight
The ability to travel without checked baggage does not come easy for most people unless college students or people pack 10 minutes before leaving for the airport. For everyone else, some packing tips can help.
At Flying Angels, we’ve become a bit of an expert in his area because of the many flights we take each year. When you provide care for someone else who may require medical equipment and other special considerations, you learn to pack lightly. These tips can help you do the same.
Change Your Thinking
The first and most important tip is to change how you think about packing for travel. You don’t need as much as you think. Some people, worried about getting caught out there in the world without something, tend to overpack and bring more than they need. If that sounds a bit like you, it’s helpful to change your way of thinking. It will help with the following steps.
Check With Airlines
In most cases, you can use a carry-on bag that is 9 x 14 x 22 inches, although some airlines may allow only smaller bags. Make sure to check and get the maximum size allowed. Also, you can use a backpack for other items, especially those you might need in flight.
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Can You Buy It There?
Some stuff can get left behind because it’s easy to buy it cheaply once you arrive. An example might be items you can rent for outdoor activities (bike helmets, fins, snorkel, etc.) and everyday items like shampoo, conditioner, cotton swabs, etc.
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What Can You Re-Wear?
You will need shirts and socks for every day. But your pants should be good for a couple of days, at least. And you might not need a heavy coat if you can re-use a sweater or hoodie with a light jacket. If your stay is longer, make plans to wash clothes after five to seven days. That’s easier than trying to pack two weeks of clothes.
Wear Your Bulky Clothes
If you have clothes that are difficult to pack, then wear them on the flight. This includes things like coats, boots, and sweaters. If you want to really push this idea to the limit, you can also put some of your items into your pockets to create more space in your carry-on case.
Use Packing Organizers
To get the most out of the space in your carry-on bag, consider buying compression bags and packing cubes that allow you to separately pack items such as clothes, laptops, cameras, smartphones, etc. Every cubic inch you save gives you a tad more room for something else.
Another approach to packing involves rolling your clothes rather than folding them. This cuts down on the space they take up and (bonus!) reduces wrinkles. Also, place shoes at the bottom and try to bring just one or two pairs. Picks shoes that will work in a variety of circumstances.
We all want our gadgets. But most travelers don’t need that many. For example, you might not need a laptop or pad if you can do everything on your phone. And speaking of your phone, they come now with cameras that make the need to carry a separate camera unnecessary unless you’re a professional photographer.
Run A Test
Pack everything into your carry-on bag a few days before the trip to see how everything fits. If it doesn’t, then go through and eliminate some items. Anything you’ve packed “just in case” can usually go, for example. When you decide to travel without checked baggage, you’re making a commitment toward minimal packing. But you may also quickly learn you don’t need as much stuff as you think you need. That may even spill over to how you manage your possessions once you get back home.