Luggage…. the root of all traveling evil. From delayed to lost luggage this aspect of traveling has the potential to cause a monumental amount of headache. In my experience from travelling over the years it is best to be efficient and travel as light as possible for the very reason that not only is toting around multiple luggage cases a pain but when the things you value get lost in transition it can become an absolute nightmare. That is why hopefully with this guide I can trim off some of the excess items you don’t need and get you to a manageable spot where you can downsize to a single carry on. Or at the very least limit you to one luggage and one carry on instead.
General rule of thumb:
If the trip lasts for less than a week (for me personally six days is about my limit) I have found that I can usually fit everything into one carry on bag. I personally prefer a backpack as that is easy to carry around and airlines almost never have a problem with me bringing it on the plane. You might be asking yourself how I can fit six days worth of clothes, souvenirs, and toiletries into one backpack. The answer is pretty straightforward actually. First it starts with practice. The second thing is coming to the realization that I am literally only taking the bare essentials. I also agree to cut a few corners when packing too. For example I typically will buy things such as sunscreen when I arrive at my destination. I will also re-use the clothes I wore on my first day of arrival on my last night heading back. It might be slightly gross but believe it or not it saves some space.
Another way I have found efficiency in packing is by bringing friends. For example: you and your friends probably don’t all need a different kind of toothpaste so you can exclude a lot of unnecessary packing by working as a team to divide up certain items for the trip.
One way that a backpack can become problematic however is with larger souvenirs. I am not the kind of person to purchase larger souvenirs when traveling so I can get almost always get away with a backpack. If you are the kind of person who wants to buy larger items however you are pretty much agreeing to bringing luggage at that point. Not that there is anything wrong with that but because luggage typically costs money that is a sacrifice you have to be willing to make.
For trips over that last a week or more I also typically limit myself to one luggage container. I know lots of people who bring two or sometimes even three and I just don’t think that is necessary. If you are staying at a place for two weeks you can still manage all of your toiletries, clothes, and souvenirs into one luggage combined with one carry on. Once again though, if you favor rather large souvenirs maybe two luggage containers is the best way to go after all.
Regardless of whether it is a carry on or luggage it is good to make use of all the space you possibly can. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t normally pack efficiently you will be surprised the first time you cram a whole weeks worth of things into one backpack. I know I was. Someone showed me that the best method for creating space is actually pretty simple. You start with your clothes and roll them up as best as you can. If you have multiple pairs of shoes (you should strive to never bring more than one pair of shoes and a pair of sandals/dress shoes at most) stick them at the bottom of your carry on container. If you have two pairs put the top pair inside a plastic bag and stick them upside down over the top of the first pair so it forms a nice square. Compress the shoes down and from there neatly stick your rolled up t-shirts into the container so they line the section right above the shoes. That should leave you around a third to a quarter of the carry on for toiletries, jeans, socks, passports, and whatever else you need.
I also personally prefer a backpack with multiple sections because it allows me the most efficient amount of space possible. My ideal backpack comes with a laptop compartment as sometimes I like to bring my laptop for longer flights or to do work during my spare downtime. Do some shopping around to find one that works for you.
If you are travelling on a dime it is best to limit yourself to a single carry on and no luggage. If you must utilize luggage though I wouldn’t recommend more than one container as most airlines charge you nowadays.
Depending on the airline you might be able to get away with bringing your one luggage onto the plane. If the flight is packed however you may be asked to check the luggage at your terminal.
Remember that the more things you bring on a trip you are responsible for keeping track of the second you leave the house.
Try to limit yourself to only the essentials when it comes to toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, shaving razors, etc). Odds are the hotel you are staying at has you covered with most bath related items.
Packing efficiently takes practice. Try to efficiently make use of all possible space with your carry on and or luggage. You would be surprised how much space you let go to waste by doing things such as not rolling up t-shirts, folding jeans, compacting toiletries, etc.
If you are super crammed for space a final efficiency move I recommend is stuffing things into your empty shoes in your luggage or carry on. This is no joke. It may very well create that little bit of space you need to fit everything.