There’s an art to packing light and fitting an entire trip into the confines of one airline-approved carry-on bag. It’s a fine balance between eliminating the ‘want to have’ with the ‘have to have’ essentials while juggling rules like bag weight limits, liquids sizes, and electronic devices for a seamless security checkpoint. With many factors at play, it’s easy to over- or underpack, so we’ve rounded up five tips to help you travel smarter, lighter, and faster, and get you to your destination that much quicker.
IT’S IN THE BAG
Always go with the smallest—but mightiest—bag or opt for a soft-sided one so you can literally shape the way you travel. Luggage is an investment that lasts many years and trips, so consider where and how often you travel, select a bag that is suitable for travel on all major airlines, and look for one which offers a warranty. An expandable bag is always beneficial for fitting souvenirs and shopping finds from your travels into already tight corridors. When picking a bag, opt for 360-degree spinner wheels to make things easier and ensure the bag is lightweight and durable.
BUT FIRST, SHOES!
Shoes are the heaviest and bulkiest items in your bag, so choose your shoes wisely, opting for a pair that can be adapted with multiple outfits so that they’re putting in the work to deserve a spot in your suitcase. Arrange them at the bottom of your bag in shoe pouches so they don’t touch your clothing and everything stays clean. Tip: use old grocery store bags or hotel shower caps if you don’t have a shoe pouch handy.
DIVIDE AND CUBE IT
Packing cubes aren’t just for the ultra-organized—they help keep your clothes compressed and compartmentalized, with each cube containing a different category of items. Arrange outfits by cube
to help eliminate the number of times you need to unpack, making it much easier to find things later. Plus, it makes for efficient unpacking—just put the cubes in drawers and be done with it so you can get out and explore. For bulkier items, especially down-filled outerwear, opt for a compression sack; you’ll be surprised by how many items can fit into one.
ROLL IT UP
When traveling through various climates, opt for a lightweight waterproof puffer jacket that rolls up and compacts into itself. Not only are they great for layering and keeping you warm, but they are also great to have on the plane in case you get chilly. Go for one-piece outfits like dresses or rompers, and use the roll method for the smaller lightweight items by smoothing them out and folding in sleeves, then tightly rolling them into a compact shape.
Many beauty brands now make their signature items in carry-on approved sizes and can often be found at the checkout line or as a bonus in gift set packs. And never say no to the bag of ‘goodies’ at your next dental appointment! If your favourite product is not available in a carry-on friendly size, opt to purchase a pack of refillable bottles and add your own products. Group your toiletries in one hanging bag as they fold up for compactness and have hooks to easily access them from the shower, door hook, or towel rack. Tip: build up a collection of hotel toiletries throughout your travels by taking and reusing mini bottles on departure day.