Airlines have been dramatically improving their profitability of late. Unfortunately for travelers, fees—from seat changes to on-board entertainment to checked bags—are increasingly driving revenue. In turn, a large suitcase for endless outfit options is a luxury many of us can’t afford.
The good news? Some simple travel hacks can help you avoid unnecessary fees and get the most out of your vacation. For instance, taking full advantage of the included carry-on and one personal item can make that checked bag fee a non-issue. All it takes is a little packing know-how, and a carry-on will be enough even for a weeklong vacation.
Here are five easy steps to packing a week’s worth of clothes in your carry-on.
Go someplace warm.
If you’re booking a new vacation, choose wisely! Merely planning to go on a warm vacation with casual dining options immediately makes packing all the necessities in a carry-on significantly easier. Head to Miami, Florida or Santa Barbara, California, and your run of the mill beachwear will do the trick a good chunk of the year. It’s easy to pack, easy to plan, and easy to relax.
Wear your layers.
Of course, not everyone has the flexibility or desire to only head to warm cities. And even beach towns can get a cool breeze that calls for a jacket. The key to fitting more clothes in your carry-on? Wear all the outerwear you’re going to need for the trip during the flight. Sure, you’ll have to strip a few layers off to get through security. But it’ll be worth it when you realize how much room a sweatshirt or two can waste in a small bag. Besides, those layers can make for great pillows during long flights too.
Roll your clothes.
Additionally, regardless of weather, one way to fit more clothes in a carry-on suitcase is to roll everything tightly and stack it carefully. Put the bulkiest rolls on the bottom and squeeze the thinnest ones into any gaps. Think of it like a game of real-life Tetris. Rolling clothes is a go-to trick for seasoned flight attendants. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you.
Use your shoes wisely.
If you have sneakers or even strappy heels, all that space where your foot usually goes is great to sneak in some extra stuff. Socks are an obvious bet for filling the shoes, but miscellaneous, small, odd-shaped items like jewelry or accessories are also logical fillers.
Don’t be a diva.
Everyone know you’re on vacation and don’t have access to your entire closet. Don’t fret about repeating outfits. Instead, embrace it. The fashion police aren’t paying enough attention to you for most people to notice, and wearing the same simple combos repeatedly makes for one less to worry about while you’re traveling. And if you’re staying at a luxury spot like the Mandarin in Vegas and need some formalwear, keep it simple. A little black dress, for instance, can be paired with various jackets and worn for dinner multiple nights.
Of course, no one wants to repeat outfits so much that everyone can smell it. The good news is that, with just a little research, you can find a hotel that will help keep your carry-on full of clothes fresh and clean. Hilton’s Homewood Suites, like this one in Seattle, are meant to feel more like apartments, as they come with full kitchens. Right now, there’s also a special: If you stay five or more nights, you get wash and fold laundry service. This is a great way to minimize the number of outfits you need—especially when it comes to workout gear.
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