A Checked bag can cost you a lot of money. For short trips, from a few days up to 3 weeks, if I don't require bulky clothing I will just bring a carry on suitcase and a small backpack. Check with your airline for bag size requirements. At certain airports, if you have a large bag that you would like checked you can bring it with you to the gate and nine times out of ten the stewardess will offer to check bags for free since there is limited space in the overhead compartments. I prefer to hold onto my bags if I can. Checking a bag increases the likelihood of the Airport losing your luggage and it can take a long time for your bag to come back through baggage claim, which can mean a lot on a short layover. Here are some tips to packing light so you can avoid checking a bag, or multiple.
- There are vacuum seal bags you can use to shrink your clothing bulk. There's also the common tip of rolling your clothes rather than folding them. Sometimes this avoids weird creases too. Wear your bulky clothes to the airport if you can, but don't sacrifice comfort. Layers are really good for the airport, especially if the weather change will be drastic when you land.
- Refill travel size containers for shampoo/conditioner and body wash with your own stuff from home. Make sure all your liquids are 3oz or less (but check with your airline first) and keep all liquids together in a ziploc for easy access during security and to avoid a mess. Put a chip clip over your razor blade.
- Bring extra ziplocs and plastic bags for wet/dirty clothes to separate them from the clean ones. Doesn't hurt to bring a dryer sheet or two along to keep your clean clothes smelling fresh.
- Use a pencil case or glasses case to store extra cords and chargers. Roll them up and use a twist tie from the grocery store to keep them from tangling. Use cling wrap to keep your jewelry from tangling.
- Pack an empty water bottle in your carry on bag so you can fill it up after security but before boarding so you won't ever have to pay for water. Most planes offer water bottles on the trip as well.
- Use old pill bottles or other containers for small things so you don't lose them in your bag. You can store money like this as well. Make sure you have a little bit of money and any important documents in all of your bags, checked or carry on. Keep a pair of clean underwear in all of them too.
- Packing can be time consuming and annoying, but if you write down everything you absolutely need in advance and don't go overboard with extra stuff you'll be plenty prepared.
Thanks for listening!