We're reader-supported and only partner with brands we trust. When you buy through links on our site we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date and time indicated and are subject to change.
Airlines have gone baggage fee crazy over the past few years, and unless you’re willing to shell out up to $50 extra each way, you’re going to want to travel lighter.
1. Wear your heaviest, most space-consuming clothing on the plane.
You could easily wear a tank top, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, sweatshirt and jacket on the plane. Don’t worry, planes are cold!
2. Bring ONE pair of shoes and wear them on the plane.
If you have to pack shoes, make sure they’re as small as possible, like flip-flops or flats — leave the heels at home.
3. Go travel-size for your toiletries.
Yeah, we’re aware that travel-size toiletries can be a ripoff.
If you have a manufacturer’s coupon that doesn’t prohibit travel size products (check the fine print), you can actually get a really great deal — or even get them for free!
Not finding the right coupons? There are plenty of ways to get free trial-size products for your trip.
Also: Sephora rewards points members can score free take-home samples of nearly any product Sephora carries.
4. Make your own travel-size products.
Just fill a few straws with whatever you’re wanting to bring, tape the ends, and you’re good to go.
Contact lens cases also are good for small doses of lotions, makeup and more.
5. Roll your clothes.
You can put your clothes rolls in those awkward spaces between the support bars at the bottom of your bag. It’ll flatten things out for your second layer.
You can even military-roll your socks — it saves serious space! Learn how here.
6. Or learn to bundle your clothes.
Hear me out.
Conventional wisdom says to fold and stack your clothes in the suitcase. That same wisdom would leave you with hard-to-remove creases and wrinkles.
Clothes bundles wrap all your clothes together in wrinkle-free glory, and even work with suit coats and formal dresses.
Learn more here.
7. Not into rolling or bundling? Try the file cabinet method.
Fold your clothes like normal and create a folded pile.
When the pile is as high as your suitcase is wide, carefully place the pile into your suitcase. If you do it right, you should be able to see each piece of clothing in your suitcase.
8. Pack thinner fabrics like cotton and wool to save space.
Bring those with you, rather than a ton of denim.
It’s a game of centimeters you’re playing here, so play to win.
9. Use packing cubes.
I swear by these. Pretty much all hardcore travelers do, too.
These lightweight, small packages help you organize your packing into a limited amount of space. Then they fit beautifully into your bag.
Get a 6-piece set of packing cubes for as low as $8.99 on Amazon.
10. Plan to do laundry on your trip so you can bring fewer clothes.
One of the simplest ways to bring fewer clothes is to plan on doing laundry while you’re gone.
Plot out nearby laundromats, find out if a hotel has coin-operated laundry facilities, or ask friends/family if you could run a load.
Even if you bring your own clothesline and laundry bar, it’ll take up less room than additional clothes.
You may double-up on outfits, but you’ll be saving some dough.
11. Don’t bring things you can get at your destination.
Things like diapers, personal care products and toiletries can all be big space-gobblers. You can most likely buy these wherever you’re going.
12. Maximize your clothing by packing a capsule wardrobe.
Don’t want to wear the same outfit a few times on your trip? Pack a capsule wardrobe — which basically just means you pack tops, bottoms and accessories that are interchangeable.
13. Fill shoes, water bottles and other hollow items with clothes to maximize space.
You can also fill them with fragile items like glass perfume bottles or jewelry.
In related news, pack your underwear inside your bra to help the cups retain their form.
14. Leave the rechargeable toothbrush and hairdryer at home.
Instead, bring a much more space-friendly regular old toothbrush and make sure that wherever you’re staying has a hairdryer.
15. Use an old Tic-Tac box to hold bobby pins and a pill box for small jewelry.
No more metal mess.
16. Use shirt collars to hold rolled up belts.
17. Bring a combination shampoo/body wash in travel size and skip the soap.
You don’t need soap.
Bring the 2-in-1 liquid or just rest in the knowledge that pretty much anywhere you’ll go has soap on hand.