2 hours after landing in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam I realized my checked bag wasn’t showing up with me. My bag was in Taiwan sitting in the belly of a plane. In my case, I was fortunate enough to eventually receive my bag.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and the airline doesn’t always have our back. They will reimburse up to a certain dollar amount – its only 3,500 dollars on American Airlines.
To avoid the inconvenience of replacing your stuff or coming out in the red it is in your best interest to pack as much as possible in your carry -on bag.
However, there are restricted items and limitations on what you can bring in your carry-on bag.
Be sure to read your airline’s policies and check other TSA restrictions on what you can or cannot take in your carry-on. This helpful checklist breaks down what you can or cannot take in carry-on versus checked bags.
It’s also important to note that there are different rules that vary by country for what is considered a carry-on bag.
Now that you know what you can pack, its time to figure out how much you can possibly fit in your suitcase. The more you can fit in a carry on bag the better (most airlines do not weigh your carry-on).
1. Plastic Bags, Vacuum Bags, and Compression Bags
Compression bags make more room to load up a bag with all your favorite clothes. They make space and some even claim to reduce wrinkles. There are two main types of space saver bags, vacuum and manual rolled. With vacuum bags, the downside is that a vacuum or hose is needed, and a puncture renders it useless. I personally prefer the Travis Travel Gear Space Saver Bags myself. These work just like the vacuum bags only you push the air out manually. If you have delicate clothes that wrinkle easily these bags may leave a mark but you can spray the clothes with wrinkle releaser once you arrive at your hotel.
2. Rolling Your Clothes by Hand
Rolling your clothes by hand may take a little time, but it is worth extra work! It gives you more room, but it can be part of your packing strategy. Put the clothing around the sides of the luggage, and it will help protect the items placed in the middle.
3. Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are great for making space, but also for the organization. It is very handy and makes packing quicker by allowing you to organize items into separate cubes based on category. In the past, I would sort through all my clothes to find my underwear which I foolishly packed below my shirts. As a result, all the rest of my clothes get jostled about and unorganized. Now I pack them into cubes, and it makes it easier to organize my items. I have a set of eBags Packing cubes that are perfect for this type of thing. They are easy to use and there are enough different sizes to fit any packing job.
4. Downsize your toiletry items.
You need to downsize your toiletry items.
Spray cans and glass containers of any kind are not allowed in your luggage. Get small squirt bottles or a set of small plastic containers . Also, buy travel size toothpaste, plastic toothbrushes, and plastic razors. Roll on deodorant also comes in travel sizes. If you run out of anything – most hotels or hostels have places to purchase the core items you need at the front desk.
5. Use every open space.
When you start packing, start with any heavy flat objects. Spread the weight out evenly across the bottom of your luggage. Next, place your rolled clothing against the outer walls. This leaves the middle part open for your more fragile items. When all your large items are in, fill the empty spaces with leftover clothes, space saver containers, and anything else you need.
Hopefully, our tips help you on your trip. Now you won’t get stuck in another country waiting on your checked-bag. Instead, pack it all in the carry-on and maximize your travel! Pack more, do more, and spend more time traveling!
Do you have any questions or comments? Please comment below!