Hope everyone is safe and well!
Guys, if you know me personally you will know I am the queen of packing everything into hand luggage. My friends and family look at me in awe when I stroll up to boarding with just a tiny bag yet with everything I need….
The hefty fines and luggage prices are enough to put anyone off travels which is why I had to get creative as one time I was fined 50 euros for the WHEELS of my small suitcase. Yup, apparently the wheels stuck out too much. Ever since then I have just took a backpack with me or a *very* large handbag and I have breezed through airports. I have also perfected my “Oh this? Light as a feather!” speech when anyone asks why I am struggling to carry my bag haha.
First, we need to talk about type of bag. In my opinion, anything that can be squished is going to be the most logical. If you have something sturdy which can’t change shape you risk being told it is too big. You also risk having to deal with the fact it probably weighs at least 3 kg empty and that there are awkwardly shaped compartments and metal in random places, making it harder to utilize space. I love to travel with backpacks but find the ones with lots of pockets to be completely unnecessary too.
I feel like the next steps all come together as one so I am just going to group them. Take out every single box or the packaging for everything that can survive without it. Honestly, you will be surprised at how much space is saved from removing boxes, plastic pouches, bags and even the lids of bottles. To stop a bottle leaking I like to wrap it in cling film, tie an elastic band to secure it and place a bit of sticky tack over the opening.
Put all socks rolled tightly into the pockets of jeans and trousers, roll your t-shirts and tops into balls and secure with hair ties so that they do not unravel. Underneath the hair ties add any smaller items you have that might seem like clutter as this stops them from getting lost in your bag. I am sure we all hate the dreaded search for a tiny item which always seems to be at the very bottom of a bag!
As a general rule of thumb: ALWAYS take more underwear than you need and less trousers/jeans/skirts. It depends on how long your trip is but usually people will mix and match their outfits so having a new outfit everyday might just be wasting space.
If you are taking a sweatshirt with a hood, bundle all your loose items in there such as chargers, sunglasses, and hairbrushes into the hood then fold up the corners and roll into a ball. This keeps all your items in one place plus the extra material of a sweatshirt protects them. If you are taking a few sweatshirts then tightly tie one of them onto the exterior strap of your backpack.
One of the hardest things to cram into a bag is shoes. I mean, it feels like one shoe seems to take up more room than a whole bunch of things am I right? I usually combat this by selecting shoes which will match with the most things I am taking and when I put them in my backpack I ALWAYS put them at the top. This way they can be easily removed and also the material of the backpack can stretch over them. Try it!
If you are taking books with you, put them in the pocket of your jacket or coat which you will probably be wearing. That way not only do you have it ready for the plane journey but you are saving vital space.
If you are taking food with you, perhaps as a gift or simply for yourself, remember that most airlines will allow you to take one plastic bag. This is your chance to put all the food and gifts you might be taking into one of these. Just make sure you stick to putting food or goods in this plastic bag as you don’t want to take advantage too much by filling it with clothes! If you put clothes in the plastic bag it may look like you have two bags of clothes which will not do you any favors. Do check individual airlines though as I can only speak on my own personal experiences when I say you can take a duty free bag with you.
If you are taking beauty products or makeup then best get creative as you will need to multitask! I use one bronzer compact for eye shadow, on my cheeks, and for my hair as texturing powder. This alone saves me so much space. Some other useful hacks are to use lipstick or lip balm as a blusher for the cheeks and also to use a mini can of hairspray to set eyebrows from looking all messy.
Finally, be critical about what you take, do you really need 3 magazines and both a hairdryer and a hair straightener? In my experiences, most hotels and Air BnB’s have hairdryers so it is not always necessary. If you are all about the curls, once you master how to curl hair with straighteners this will mean you don’t need styling tools apart from the straighteners. Think about the amount of times you will use them when you find it too hard to part with an item which may not make it with you.
That’s a wrap! I hope this was humorous and also useful. With a little huffing and puffing you will become a pro at packing, take my word for it.
Until next time!