Planning for a trip is work in itself, don’t let the rules of packing go by the wayside. Time after time when we speak with serious Elite Travelers we hear the same advice, “Packing matters when preparing for an international trip.” And we agree. Over the years our teams have picked up some good habits (out of necessity and errors) on how to plan and pack for a trip. These are our top tips to help you make sure that you arrive with what you need… no more and no less.
1. Make a list
Smart travelers know to start the packing process at least a week prior to departure; this gives you an opportunity to pick up needed items and recall things over time. Keeping the list in your cell phone keeps it handy for those moments of recollection (or even inspiration!). Packing with a list also ensures nothing is forgotten.
2. Roll, don’t fold
Travel experts of every variety agree, rolling is far superior to folding. Tightly rolled clothes take up less space and even fit nicely into odd nooks and crannies, great for back-packers, carry-on luggage and generally preserving space. Rolled clothing is also less prone to wrinkling in comparison to folded items.
3. Follow the 3-1-1 rule
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you are aware that there are strict rules for carrying liquids and gels onboard flights. The 3-1-1 rule is simple: 3 ounce or smaller containers, fitting in a 1 quart (or 1 litre) clear plastic bag, 1 bag per person. It is also important to know what is considered a liquid or a gel, for example, mascara, lip gloss, and aerosol items are classified as liquids or gels, however, liquid prescription medication is exempt. Bottled water, jars of peanut butter and similar items are all forbidden as carry-on items.
4. Know your airline’s baggage-fee policy
Before you pack (or even buy your flight ticket for that matter), look into your airline’s baggage policy; this is typically done online on the airline’s website. While most airlines permit travelers to check at least one bag on international flights, many North American carriers charge up to $100 U.S. for bags checked on domestic flights. As for carry-on luggage, the universally accepted carry on size for North American domestic flights is 22″ x 14″ x 9″, internationally however, 20″ x 14″ x 9″ is widely accepted. To be safe, it is recommended you purchase the smaller bag.
5. Bring the best Personal Items onboard
It’s standard for airlines to permit travelers to each bring one carry-on bag and one personal item onboard planes. For now at least most airlines don’t charge for carry-ons, although sadly that may be changing. While the size allowance may vary by airlines, items such as a purse, laptop bag, or backpack are generally accepted. Make this item a large tote or similar bag, as opposed to a small clutch purse.
Luggage quality has improved overall, but does still vary. Choosing a reputable, durable, lightweight and functional bag to start with makes all the difference when packing and traveling. Companies such as Heys have proven their worth in the luggage industry. This company has revolutionized hard-sided luggage through innovation and design. This side opening easy-access carry on, for example, is a frequent-flyers dream!
7. Use packing aids
Packing aids that can help you organize better and fit more into your bag include packing envelopes and packing cubes. Check them out, and be sure to bring a piece of luggage when you do! One great new packing aid is the Heys Jetpack, this cool little item is actually a compressible hanging shelf, which unfolds as you pull it out of your suitcase, ready to be hung in the closet with your clothes neatly stacked and organized.