Checking a bag at the airport has it's pros and cons. Obviously, having plenty of room and able to bring full sized liquids and gels is a perk, but large bags can also be cumbersome and, at some airlines, expensive. There is also the hassle of waiting for you luggage to be unloaded and make it's way around the carousel, which can easily put you behind schedule. Many people have found carry-on bags to be the answer to these checked bag woes. They are smaller, lighter, and can generally be brought on the plane with you. If you are looking to lighten your load and join the carry on only club, check out our guide below!
Start With the Right Bag
If you're only bringing one small bag on your trip it's important to choose one that is durable, lightweight, and expandable. This will make it easier to pack and easier to travel with. Also, keep in mind the TSA regulations for the airline you are flying with. While most airlines require bags to be between 45 and 50 linear inches (l+w+h), they often times have differing weight limits. Once you have selected the bag and checked the size and weight requirements, you're ready to get packing!
Pack in Order
Make sure your bag is organized so that the things you need easy access to, like laptops, liquids and gels, or headphones are closest to the top. Start at the bottom of the bag with shoes and socks, and then layer on clothes, followed by electronics or other more fragile items. If you are bringing bulky things like boots, sweaters, or a coat, consider wearing them on the plane so they don't take up too much of your limited space. Smaller items (socks, t shirts,) can be rolled up and put in the corners while items that wrinkle easily should be placed inside each other and folded in half.
Plan Out What to Bring
Because your space is limited, it's a good idea to plan exactly what you want to pack. Make a list and lay out everything you think you'll need (remember, less is more!) Try to bring clothes that you can wear multiple times that won't wrinkle. If you are going to bring your own toiletries, put them all in a bag together where you can be sure they won't leak. Once you've got everything ready, pack it up and make adjustments so that everything fits.