10 Luggage Space Saving Tips That Actually Help.
By: Valerie Hoyoak
Every traveller has seen that person at the airport who is sitting on their luggage trying to force it to close after being told that they’re over the weight limit. Maybe we’ve even been that person ourselves. I know I was, on one occasion. It’s a horrible situation to be in knowing you could be over the weight limit and not knowing what to do about it. After that very embarrassing event I decided to do something about it, save as much space in my luggage as I could and travel as light as possible. I’m sure you will have read tips on this, even come up with a few yourself. I’ve compiled a list of my own which helps me to save as much space as I can when packing, thus travelling with a lighter suitcase. It means I can definitely bring home that souvenir bottle of booze!
Make a List
The worst thing ever is to leave your packing till the very last minute and then find yourself chucking all sorts of things into your suitcase in a panic. You’ll end up with a bag of mismatched outfits, shoes you will never wear and an over filled bag which will embarrass you are the airport when you are over the weight limit. A week before you plan to travel, go and have a cup of coffee somewhere quiet, take your note book and a pen. Make a list of what you think you need. I know, it doesn’t sound too “sexy”, but trust me on this one. Ask yourself relevant questions about the weather when you arrive. It might be boiling hot in the day but are the nights cooler? Will you be hiking or lazing on the beach? Be prepared to rewrite your list – I do mine a few times before I am happy with it. Be realistic; remember that you are the person dragging this luggage around!
Roll and Vacuum Pack
This is a great way to save space in your luggage, possibly one of the best that I have come across. It is really amazing how much space this will save you. An added bonus with rolling clothing is that they arrive hardly creased at all. After rolling things, place in a vacuum bag and compress even more. Some larger vacuum bags have an opening where you attach them to a vacuum cleaner to suck out the air, but for the amount you are packing you can easily just sit on your item to get the air out. This will compress it very well.
You can then arrange all your day clothing in a line, your evening-wear separately and all your undies and small items in between to fill the gaps. They also serve as good protection when you need to pack fragile items and they can be packed between clothes not be secure. Another good idea is to pack your rolled clothes into cubes so all your day wear is in one corner, all evening wear in a second, and so on. That way you know exactly where everything is should you need to pull out a shawl at the airport on arrival.
Fill Dead Space In Your Luggage
Fill dead space between rows of rolls with small items that you can’t roll, like bras and swimsuits. Small make up bags will be safe and not burst open. Wrap your shampoo, conditioner and other similar things in plastic bags and push them between clothing.
Leave those damn books at home!
Books not only take up a whole lot of your luggage space but also eat up your weight allowance. It is just so easy these days to download some books onto a tablet or laptop (tablets are better to take if you travel). They can fit into your handbag and it is possible to download hundreds of books to read. Any travel brochures you want to take are better photocopied so you can omit all the pages of advertising blurb and just take the essential pages with you. You don’t really need every page in that brochure? Just take the ones you want, ditch the rest.
Buy Lightweight Luggage
While a hard-case luggage may be better if you are carrying really fragile items, most travellers don’t really need a hard case. They really do add to the weight. A solid suitcase can add up to 4kilos to your weight allowance! Invest in a good quality soft bag to reduce your total weight. The added bonus of a soft suitcase is that they often come with a whole lot of pockets, which are great for packing odd shaped things, and things you may need on the journey. A good quality case with actually last for many trips as they are incredibly durable.
Fill Your Boots and Shoes, Literally!
If you are going to need a lot of socks because you are off on a walking trip then roll your socks up and stuff them inside your boots and shoes. Boots take up a huge amount of space in your luggage and if it is not convenient to wear them to travel, then fill them with small items. Because boots are fairly solid you can pack delicate things in them such as makeup pencils and eyeliner brushes.
Just wrap them in a plastic zip lock bag and fill your boots! Also, have a good think about what your trip entails. Do you really need two pairs of evening shoes? Shoes take up a huge amount of space and you might find you can get away with less. This was a problem I had until I realized I was never wearing most of the shoes I was carrying!
Decant make up
Most women I know take make up on holiday, in fact I don’t know any who don’t. What I do know is that it comes in large containers and takes up a lot of room! Decant small amounts into containers so you only take what you need. Silly as it may sound, contact lens holders make great little holders for small amounts of makeup. They come with a screw thread so can be sealed and tucked into any tiny space between things. This also means that there is no reason for you to take half-filled containers when you can decant into something smaller which will be sufficient.
Do Your Laundry
Don’t leave it till you get home. Funny as it may sound, you can get away with taking less, if you do your laundry daily. This way you don’t need to take ten pairs of socks, you may get away with taking only three or four, washing them daily and drying them in your hotel bathroom. Maybe you can get away with four t-shirts instead of eight, if you wash them out. Travel size laundry detergents are readily available, you’ll use them on your trip and throw away the container, so will be left with a little more space for gifts. If you plan to do this you will find that you can almost half your wardrobe, and use less weight.
Wear bulky items
Jeans and hats take up a lot of space and are also heavy. If the weather permits, then wear them instead of packing them. Are you worried about not dressed to perfection on the plane? Travelling is not a fashion parade! Just remember that every few people travel glamorously, most of us arrive rumpled and worn. Don’t let that bother you, just keep thinking about the space you are saving or even consider leaving them at home. Opt for a lightweight raincoat if you think it will rain.
Replace Jackets To Free Up That Luggage
Check out the temperatures of your destination, not only the days but also the nights and pack accordingly. A good idea is to replace your bulky jackets with lightweight scarves and shawls. Actually these look more in place on a vacation than jackets and will save you lugging a jacket with you, to wear just once, and carry all the way home. Jumpers and cardigans take up a huge amount of space while scarves can be squashed into a tiny corner between rolls, or even pushed inside shoes.
There is no doubt the fact that travelling is a stressful occasion. Travelling light is one way you can actually avoid getting to stress out. There is nothing worse than worrying all the way to the airport that you may be over the weight limit and not being able to do anything about it. By travelling light you just eliminate that stress.
This way you know for sure that you can bring home some shopping without being over the weight limit. It also means that at the end of your trip your shoulders and back will thank you for the lighter weight you placed on them! You’ll feel more at ease because you know you have a list of everything you need, exactly where you have packed it, and you are under the weight limit. Easy!