With the holiday season almost in full swing, it’s nearly time to pack your suitcases and prepare for your next adventure abroad. There was once a time where travellers would be spoilt for choice whilst packing, with airlines happy to provide you as many kilos as your heart desired. Unfortunately, the situation has changed and now it’s a case of packing as lightly as possible in a bid to avoid the enormous baggage fees.
For a lot of people this means sticking to the carry-on bag that the majority of airlines allow free of charge. While the dimensions and weight requirements of these are significantly more restrictive than that of hold luggage, it’s still possible to use the space to pack for a whole holiday. Compromises will have to be made, but in a bid to provide you with that crucial extra holiday spending money, most would argue that it’s well worth it.
Now, we’ll take a look at the top tips to help you fit your holiday into a carry-on bag…
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To make matters more complicated than they really should be, there are no official guidelines in relation to the size of carry-on baggage. It means that in theory, all airlines can have slightly different requirements. Fortunately most of the bigger ones are consistent with their approach, but make sure you check the small print before you board in a bid to avoid that oversize baggage fee when you do arrive at the gate.
It’s at this point you need to ensure that you have an appropriate bag. It goes without saying that one that’s too big isn’t going to get you through the gate, while one that’s too small is making your job even more difficult. Ideally, a suitcase constructed from a rigid material is the best choice, with this leaving you in no doubt as you pass the dreaded baggage sizing bin on the way to the plane.
Only pack for a week… no matter what
Even if you’re heading out for two weeks, don’t be tempted to pack for any longer. While it might be comforting to know that you can wear a different garment on each day of your break, when it comes to the carry-bag, this just isn’t practical. Fortunately, the majority of decent hotels out there will have washing facilities and in a bid to make your clothes go that bit further, this is the time to take advantage of them.
Really, whether you’re going for a week or two, there should be barely any difference in the amount of items you are taking.
Just roll with it
The whole carry-on topic has prompted a lot of questions on what is the most efficient way to pack. In fact, there are hoards of suggestions out there, so much so that you could probably write a dissertation highlighting each and every one of them.
For us, nothing beats the standard rolling method. Not only does it save more space than folding everything, but it also guards against creasing. To enhance the effect, invest in a vacuum bag which will condense your items to an even greater margin.
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Take a bulky coat
You might be heading out to 40°C temperatures, but a bulky coat could actually be your best friend. We’re not suggesting that you lug it over to the beach every morning; this is instead a garment reserved solely for the flight, and nothing else.
Cast your eye around the airport on your next trip and you’ll be shocked at the amount of people trying this approach; with the trick being to stuff as many smaller items into the pockets and everything else. There are even specialist “flight coats" which are available to provide even more pocket room, but one of our men’s coats will probably suffice and at least allow you a few extra items for your trip away.
On a similar note, try and wear all of your heavier items anyway. Even if you’re not planning to strategically pack additional items into the pockets, wearing those garments made out of heavier materials such as denim will make your carry-bag that little bit easier to manage.
Tame the toiletries
Your hands are going to be tied in this regard anyway, with the standard regulations allowing for just 100ml of liquids to be carried on board. While it is possible to buy flight-sized versions at the supermarket, they still take up unnecessary space. Instead, we’d recommend simply stocking up on your toiletry essentials when you land. Admittedly, you will probably have waste by the end of the holiday, but it’s all for a good cause in that crucial extra baggage.
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Tap into technology
Once upon a time you had to lug your camera, phone, laptop, MP3 player, book reader and whatever other technical items that you stumbled across. Advancements in technology means that this is no longer necessary and you can just rely on one, such as the tablet, to perform the job of several. Take anything else and you’re asking to break the regulations; after all, it’s not just the devices themselves you’ll require but all of the chargers and other accessories. Keep things simple.
Review, rinse and repeat
Once you have decided on all of the items you are going to take in your carry-on bag, don’t think that this is the end of the process. In a bid to cut the junk some more, and leave even more space for those last-minute souvenirs, review every item you’re taking and ask yourself if it really is needed. When you consider the fact that really, the only absolutely essential items arrive in the form of a passport, your ticket and money – there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t board a plane without that overpriced checked in baggage, and instead rely on the 10kg carry alternative.