FFE Magazine

How to efficiently pack your hand luggage

Having hand carry luggage is practical if you want to avoid long check-in queues and pricey baggage fees at the airport. They also lessen your worries about the airline losing your luggage, or carrying heavy bags that could slow you downwhen you arrive at your destination. Although most people underestimate the capacity of astandard hand carry luggage, thinking its size will not be enough to accommodate all belongings; you would be surprised to know that you can actually pack at least two-week’s worth of clothing in it!

Seasoned travelers who travel with only a hand carry will tell you it is all about packing the essentials. However, it is not only about what you are bringing that could help you pack lighter, but packing smartlyalso plays a role.

If you want to travel with just a hand carry but do not know how to magically fit everything in there, here are a few packing tips to help you.

Get a hand carry luggage with many compartments. Buying a hand carry that is slightly larger than the average could be risky as airlines have standard measurements when it comes to hand carry luggage. As a result, get one that has many expandable zippered compartments instead. This way you can still store many items without having to worry about being told to leave your big bag behind.

If you are planning a longer trip, only bring a week’s worth of clothes. A week’s worth of clothes vary from person to person but generally two pairs of dress pants, one skirt, two pairs of casual pants or jeans, one bathing suit, three lightweight sweaters, two dresses, 10 casual shirts, six dress shirts, two sleeping attires, and a small bag or clutch should be enough. Repeating clothes is fine as you can always do laundry at your hotel or at a nearby Laundromat.

Roll your clothes. Folding clothes can take up too much space. What you can do is lay one shirt over the other and just roll them into tight bundles (like a burrito!). By rolling, you will also make your clothes wrinkle resistant as you are just bending them instead of folding. Shaking them out will eventually bring them back into their original form. Do not bother rolling denim jeans or any thick apparel though, as it will just make the rolls bulky and eat more space.

Photo from luggageoffers

Know how to roll different kinds of clothes by following this illustration (Image courtesy of luggageoffers)

Bring only two pairs of shoes, three at most. You do not need many shoes in your travel. As a rule, wear the heaviest and bulkiest one of them when going to the airport so you do not have to carry them. For the remaining shoes, they should go in your hand carry. (See number 8) Do remember that enclosed shoes have a lot of space inside them. Take advantage of this by inserting socks to save space. You can also insert your jewelry, ties or small towels inside the shoe – but make sure you put and seal them in a plastic first!

Wear accessories and bulkiest coats to the airport. Similar to wearing your heaviest and bulkiest shoes, try to wear your bulkiest coat and other accessories (scarves, hat, etc.) to the airport as well. This will save you a lot of packing space.

Use refillable travel bottles for liquid toiletries. Bringing your big shampoo bottles, shower gels, etc. can bulk up your luggage. Replace them with smaller refillable travel bottles. These are great in saving space. Anyway, you can always go buy your shampoo, shower gels, etc. when you arrive at your destination if you need refilling.

Layer correctly. Put any folded items on the bottom of your luggage. Then place the rolled clothing on top or use them to fill any gaps in the luggage. Put all fragile or breakable items in the middle. Place shoes on the sides or edges of the luggage to secure everything else. Do not stack any books, food, etc. but spread them on top of the rolled pieces of clothing.

In addition, airlines usually allow their guests one personal item inside the plane, which can either be your purse or laptop bag. You can take advantage of this policy, as well as save space in your hand carry, by bringing a small backpack you can put your books and other bulky electronic gadgets into.

However if you are the type who cannot resist shopping you can also pack a lightweight duffel bag. So if your new and unexpected purchases cannot fit in your hand carry, you can use it as replacement, and you can check-in your trolley.  

Remember to check the allowed weight for your hand carry. Even if you successfully fit everything in your luggage, it might be too heavy already and consequently might not be allowed as a hand luggage and thus you need to check it in.





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