The Australian airline industry has recently shifted taking a stricter stance on carry-on luggage. Budget airlines especially have clamped down on the number of bags you can take with you, as well as reducing the amount of weight you can have inside. All of this has been taking its toll on us poor travellers who are being limited more and more on what we can take for free.
If you fly with Tigerair for example then its worth noting that only last month they changed their carry-on weight allowance from 10kg down to 7kg. The unsuspecting customer may think its business as usual until they arrive at boarding and have their case weighed. I want to help everyone avoid this conundrum by showing you the most efficient way to pack your carry-on. Get more value for your money without having to spend extra on baggage fees by following a few clever packing strategies.
The best people to look to for advice on this are flight attendants who fly regularly. An article was published in the New York Times, which looked at how a flight attendant flies around the world, sometimes for 10 days or more at a time and only takes a carry-on bag. The methods that flight attendants use to avoid hefty baggage fees allowed them to have enough clothing for their entire trip every time.
First and foremost the weight of your case can have a big impact on the amount of clothes you carry. A 3.5kg bag under Tigerair or Jetstar’s new 7kg allowance doesn’t leave you much room to play with in terms of packing. If you travel often, or even if you like to travel but don’t like incurring luggage costs, then it will be well worth you time and money finding a light carry-on case or holdall bag.
Once you have a lighter case don’t just start packing. In order for flight attendants to have the correct clothing for a 10-day journey they plan and then plan some more. Start with a list and go through each day in terms of what you can and can't re-use, then multiply out for the amount of days you are away. Set yourself a rule that every piece of clothing to enter you case must pass the “When am I going to use this” test.
Also remember that Australian airlines on domestic flights do have limits on liquids so again use the same test for your liquids, as you do your clothes. However, if you would like to make more room for clothes inside your case, attach your toiletries bag onto the outside of your carry-on. You don’t have to put it inside your case, plus this provides for easy assessment by security teams while also speeding up the security check process overall.
When you get to packing clothes it has been proven that the most efficient way is to roll your clothes. This consolidates them to as small as they will possibly go plus prevents creasing to a certain extent. Another tip is to pack your heaviest rolled clothes first through to your lightest on top. This helps the clothes compact more in the case creating more space. Then leave enough room on top for your toiletries bag if you don’t want to attach it to the outside, so, you have easy access to it when going through security.
Space, in travelling terms, is money so be smart and think of Russian dolls when packing. If you pack a pair of shoes place them at the base of the case (heel to toe) to save space and to balance your carry-on. Then utilise the space inside the shoe for a few pairs of socks or undergarments, this will also help keep the shoes shape. This rule applies for anything else you pack, think smart and capitalise on any empty space wherever possible. Your toiletries bag might be another example.
If you are still struggling with space, purchase a couple of air-compression plastic bags to help you reduce the size and weight of your clothing by squeezing all of the air out.
Finally, tech is something we all have around us, but you don’t always necessarily need it with you whilst you’re away. Ensuring your devices are all charged before you fly can help you reduce weight by not taking chargers.
Take for example an iPod, batteries last a long time and this item can be taken in your pocket for a 10-day journey, so packing a charger would increase weight unnecessarily. However, devices that require more power such as tablets and laptops might require you to take a charger. If your tablet can be charged by USB, remove the bulky head that connects to the mains and charge the tablet through a USB port on a hotel TV for example. This is not possible for laptops so, before you travel check with a friend or family member at your destination to see if they have a charger you can use whilst visiting. Otherwise utilise jacket pocket space for chargers wherever possible.
All of this effort may seem petty, but when you look at some of the new charges such as Jetstar’s $70 fee for having an overweight bag, it puts things into perspective.