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Carry-on packing tips to avoid baggage fees

Carry-on packing tips to avoid baggage fees
Posted at 10:10 AM, Apr 15, 2024

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Packing for a flight? Managing to fit everything into your carry-on can help you save money by avoiding checked bag fees. Unfortunately, those costs can add up when you have multiple bags or when you’re flying with your family.

In good news, there are plenty of ways to maximize what you can fit into your carry-on bag, so you can reduce or avoid checked bag fees altogether. Here’s how to do it:

Start With the Right Carry-On


Choosing the right carry-on will help increase the amount you can pack. Audrey Kohout, CEO of Luggage Forward, explains that maximizing what you can fit into luggage isn’t always about your carry-on’s pockets or compartments.

“The type of bag you’re using can actually have a major impact on the amount you bring with you,” Kohout explains. “Hard shell cases are very trendy right now, but you might be surprised to hear that you can actually fit more in a soft-sided bag.”

Kohout explains that a fabric shell carry on has more give to accommodate objects of different shapes. Plus, hard shell cases are prone to breaking and cracking. Not only will you be able to fit more in a soft bag of the same size, but you’ll also have a durable bag that keeps your items better protected.

MORE: The best carry on luggage

American Tourister Belle Voyage Softside Luggage

$72.50 at Amazon

Choose Travel-Friendly Clothing


Packing your clothes tightly often leads to wrinkles, so strategically select the clothes that you plan to bring.

“Choose clothing with fabric that is convenient and doesn’t wrinkle easily when rolled up in a crammed bag,” recommends Kohout. She notes that if you ever need to quickly wash a garment in the sink while you’re on the go, it’s helpful to have chosen a travel-friendly garment that dries quickly, like the versatile Women’s Long Sleeve Safari Shirt, which also features UPF 50+ sun protection.

Womens Long Sleeve Safari Shirt

$27.99 at Amazon

Bring Multi-Use Clothes


You can cut down on the number of clothes you need to pack by choosing garments that can serve multiple purposes according to Daniel Herszberg, an avid traveler who visited every country in the world by age 30 and owns the travel magazine, Travel Insighter.

“For example, choose pants with zips that become shorts, or swimming trunks that can also be casual shorts,” he says.

Women's convertible pants

$59.99 at Amazon

Use Packing Cubes


Kohout recommends using packing cubes to streamline your packing efficiency.

“Using packing cubes allows you to tightly fold and squeeze in as much as possible in each cube, without the stress of whether or not it will fit completely in your bag,” she says. “They’re also great for dividing up your clothes by day, by event and upon arrival, and they keep your dirty, smelly clothes away from the fresh, clean ones.”

Amazon Basics 4 Piece Packing Cubes Set

$19.99 at Amazon

Compress Clothes With Vacuum-Seal Bags


Kevin Mercier is a travel photographer and travel blogger at Kevmrc. He wears bulkier items, like jackets or boots, on the plane to free up luggage space.

Mercier also uses vacuum-seal bags to compress his clothing and save space in his carry-on.

“[Vacuum bags are] a game-changer for maximizing storage room,” says Mercier.

Hibag Compression Bags

$13.99 at Amazon

Pack a Shoe Bag


Cramming pairs of shoes into your carry-on can take up unnecessary space and get your clothes dirty.

“A compact shoe bag helps keep my footwear separate from my clothing, preventing any dirt or debris from soiling my clothes and maximizing space in my carry-on,” explains Mercier.

Travelon Set of 2 Shoe Bags

$14.49 at Amazon

Buy a Small Toiletry Bag


Mercier keeps toiletries organized by choosing a small toiletry bag with multiple compartments or pouches. That strategic bag choice helps to cut down on space, too. “Opting for a small toiletry bag helps limit the number of items I can bring, and ensures everything fits snugly in my carry-on without taking up too much space,” he explains.

GOX Small Toiletry Bag

$12.99 at Amazon

Pack Multiuse Toiletries


Just as you would choose multiuse clothes, you can use the same advice in selecting your toiletries.

“Try and bring multipurpose items, like deodorant that doubles as perfume, or body wash with shampoo,” recommends Herszberg.

A product like HAN Skincare Cosmetics 3-in-1 Multistick for Cheeks, Lips and Eyes will help you cut back on the amount of makeup products you need to tote. It packs a punch of vibrant color in a compact container and comes in a variety of shades to suit every taste.

Han skincare multipurpose cosmetic

$18.00 at Amazon

From packing with vacuum seal bags to using packing cubes, these carry on packing tips can help you save on those pesky baggage fees on your next trip.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.