You hear it all the time: Traveling light is the key to traveling happily. Yet with every year that passes, there seems to be another item we just can’t live—or travel—without, from electronic devices, to beauty products, to that extra pair of shoes you probably won’t even wear on your trip.
Although there’s something to be said about simply taking less when you travel; having luggage you can lift doesn’t mean going totally bare bones. Here are a few simple—but necessary—space-saving travel hacks.
Roll your clothes—and stuff your shoes
You may have heard that rolling your clothes rather than folding them is a tactic that saves space and decreases wrinkles. But some items you can’t roll or fold—namely, shoes—and that extra space inside of them takes up precious room in your suitcase. The solution? Use the otherwise empty space inside of your shoes to store smaller items. You can stuff in socks and underwear, odds and ends you’re prone to losing anyway (such as phone chargers), or even medicines and non-liquid toiletries.
Stick to carry-on size
When it comes to liquids or toiletries, you know the rule—anything in your carry-on bag must be a TSA-approved travel size. Not only does that help you avoid security-line hassles, but it saves space too. So why not apply this logic to other items in your carry-on as well? For example, consider bringing a foldable blow-dryer instead of a full-sized one, or a compact mirrorless camera instead of a clunky DSLR. If you save enough space when packing, you might be able to avoid checking luggage altogether, considering that JetBlue allows you one carry-on item and one personal item.
Do your research
Compressing and compacting items you do need to bring is a great strategy, but the easiest way to save space in your luggage is to leave out the things you won’t need in the first place. Call your hotel beforehand and ask about the amenities they provide. Chances are, you can skip packing basic toiletries, a clothing iron, and even beach and pool towels. Similarly, check the weather report for the period you’ll be at your destination to see if you really need to bring that bulky rain coat and umbrella. A few quick Google searches could keep you from overpacking, so you can save space in your bag for souvenirs on the way back.
Wear your bulky clothes on the plane
If you are in fact heading to a place where you’ll need winter gear, it shouldn’t go in your suitcase. Thinner items such as socks and scarves can be tucked inside shoes within your bag, but coats and boots should come with you through security. It may be a little uncomfortable to wear your heavy clothing through the airport, but you’ll be glad for all the space you saved without that huge jacket monopolizing valuable luggage real estate. Don’t worry about bringing more than one set of heavy clothes either—the key to keeping warm is layering, and with the space you saved by wearing your heaviest items, you’ll have plenty of room for lighter long sleeve shirts and pants.
There are as many ways to save space in your bag as there are places in the world to travel. Use these tricks while packing, and tailor your own to the specific needs of your trip. Bon voyage!