Spring Break is calling your name, but you’re still laying in bed amid heaps of clothing, and a sad, halfway packed suitcase is lying on the floor. You binge-watch the latest Netflix series as you try not to think about how you’re going to fit that bulky winter coat into your carryon. To top it all off, you probably haven’t started studying for that econ final, and all your sleep-deprived mind can think about is lying on the beach in Puerto Vallarta.
We’re here to help. So be patient, pack carefully and follow these guidelines. Your poor, overstuffed duffel bag will appreciate it.
Wear your bulkiest clothing
You don’t have to wear 70 items of clothing like this guy to save space in your travels. But wearing some of your bulkier attire during your flight that would otherwise occupy precious space in your baggage is always a good move. It’s also important to consider your destination in determining what can and can’t be worn. Going somewhere warm for Spring Break? Instead of getting ahead of yourself and wearing your beach gear on the flight, wear your bulkiest gear (probably a normal pair of pants, a jacket and close-toed shoes) that’ll still be easy to shed in a warmer climate. But if you’re heading somewhere chilly, you’ll still want to wear whatever’s most annoying to pack otherwise (winter boots, a heavy winter coat, thick pants) and save the room for other items in your baggage.
Get space saving compression bags
Extra air between your clothes is one of the biggest reasons your bag fills up faster than the Norris entryway on free Project Cookie night. While your t-shirts and sweaters don’t seem to take up much space on their own, the process of packing them up, especially when done in a hurry, will introduce an incredible amount of lost space. To combat this, consider investing in a set of compression bags like these to minimize this issue. On my flight back from Winter Break, I was amazed at the difference these compression bags made, letting me fit in a bunch of sweaters I wasn’t expecting to squeeze in, all without adding much extra weight.
Work within the limitations of your airline
With many airlines cutting back on free baggage, in some cases even charging you to put a bag in an overhead bin, cramming more into limited space has become even more pressing. But if your return journey requires you to bring back more stuff than you traveled out with, it’s possible to game the system and minimize your baggage expenses. One technique is to purchase a duffle bag or backpack that zips into itself when you’re not using it. Simply bring the folded down bag with you on your flight out, fill it with stuff for your return flight, and check it only for that trip back. You’ll avoid a $20 checked bag on the way out, and more importantly, you won’t be that sad person in O’Hare tripping over their luggage running late to their flight.
Put stuff inside your shoes
It’s a daunting feeling when you’ve filled up a bag and realize you still have a ton of extra stuff still waiting to be packed. Still, there’s hope. Shoes are one of the biggest space wasters in any bag, and yet you obviously can’t leave them behind. But instead of letting them crowd out everything else, use the empty space inside them to maximum effect. Cram socks, underwear and even t-shirts inside. You’ll maximize you space usage and not wander around barefoot the rest of your trip.