Checking your bag can be a real pain in your wallet. Checked baggage fees seem to go up every time you take a flight, and some airlines charge $25 per bag! If your family of four checked just one bag each, you’d spend $100 before you even got to your destination!

Checking your luggage can leave you feeling anxious about your belongings, and make it feel more like a gamble than a convenience.

Your bag could get lost, delayed, or things could even break in your suitcase without you knowing! These are just some of the reasons we’ve learned to pack the perfect carry on bag to avoid having to check our bags whenever possible.

If you follow these tips, you can just about guarantee you’ll never need to check a bag again!

Pack Your Bags Efficiently

The top two reasons most people will check their luggage are because they’re either too lazy to carry it around the terminal or they have too much stuff.

If your reason for checking a bag is number one, get over it! The cost of checking a bag is just not worth it! If the problem is too much stuff, there may be something you can do about it. You may not necessarily have too much stuff, but instead, you don’t pack efficiently.

If you know you will have a pretty full suitcase, create some extra space by first rolling every article of clothing you have to save space. This is also an excellent way to keep your clothes wrinkle-free.

Next, use the nooks and crannies in your suitcase to store your shoes and other items, so there is no wasted space.

Here’s a great video on how to pack using the bundle method!

You Probably Need Less Than You Think

If, after following the above advice, you still can’t fit everything in your carry on, or it’s a very tight fit, you may want to consider taking out items you don’t need.

Can’t fit that bulky jacket or sweater? Wear it! You can always use it as your blanket or pillow during your travel.

Deciding what to leave behind can be challenging, especially if you have a habit of over preparing for a trip. Depending on where you will be traveling to, decide what you can leave behind.

If you are going to be staying at a hotel, skip the shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Nearly every modern hotel has these supplied for you, and if not, you can call the front desk and ask. You can always look to see if there will be a store nearby to pick up any necessary items your hotel may not have.

Next, look for versatile clothing. These items will save you space since you won’t need a separate outfit for each day you are traveling. Think of how you can mix and match your outfits or wardrobe. This will keep your attire interesting without your wardrobe looking over worn.

If you are still short on space, consider doing laundry while you are away. It might sound like the last thing you want to do while on vacation, but if it’s less than the cost of checking your bag, it’s worth it. Plus, you will have fewer loads to do and will keep your costs down if you keep your wardrobe to like-colored items.

Decide What Should Go Into Each Bag

In addition to how to pack your bag and what to take out, it’s also important to figure out what should go into each bag. Remember that while you are flying, you are allowed one carry on size bag and one personal item. Your personal item could be a backpack, purse, or even a shopping tote.

Your carry on bag should be reserved for the things you don’t plan to use while in flight. The less you have to open your suitcase, the more likely it will be to stay organized while you’re flying.

Use the pockets of your purse or backpack to your advantage to hold headphones and even slip a book in your bag to avoid opening up your suitcase on the plane.

If you are only bringing a carry on bag, make sure the items you need are easy to get to without unzipping your entire bag. Put those items in the front zipper or in a zippered pouch at the top of your bag for quick and easy access. In fact, I use plastic zippered baggies to organize everything in my carry on bags. Have you ever had your purse explode in a busy line? Well, I have. It just makes life easier knowing that everything has its own bag and everything is organized.

Don’t forget to pack chargers you may need during your travel in a place that’s easy to access. If you are using a laptop or electronic device while on the trip, bring the necessary charge in your purse or the front pocket of your suitcase. And yep, put those in a plastic baggy too!

Flying is stressful without adding the hassle of packing. If you follow these tips to pack your perfect carry on bag, you will avoid checking your bags every single time you fly!


YOUR TURN: Rethinking the way you pack, what changes can you make? Let me know in the comments below!

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