Picking the perfect suitcase is essential for your travels!

How many bags can I bring? Do I get a free bag? Is this bag too big? What if my bag is overweight? All of those questions may be running through your head as you start prepping for your journey. The key to understanding what you can and can’t bring is by reading through the luggage policy for the airline that you are traveling.

Airlines are very different when it comes to their luggage policies. Some airlines, such as Southwest, give you two checked bags for free! While others, such as Allegiant, do not give you any free bags besides one free personal item. If you take a budget airline, you can expect everything to be priced separately. It’s important to remember this when you are booking your trip. Can you pack all that you need in a 7 x 15 x 16 inch bag (Allegiant free personal item) that can fit under the seat in front of you or will you need to check a bag?

I am a fan of low cost airfares and while I can get really great deals, a lot of the airfares I do book have strict luggage policies. This means that I have to get really creative when it comes to packing. When I booked my last flight to London, I chose the “seat only” option with WOW Air. I did not pay to choose my seat or pay for any luggage. This meant that I was only allotted one free personal item (17 x 13 x 10 inch) for a 7 day trip. Wow is right!

I did not own a bag that small so I scoured the internet and found the perfect duffle for my trip. I purchased the 16 Inch Hand Luggage Duffle Bag on Amazon for $15.99.(Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for Bold & Free to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.) This duffle is very simple with only one pocket and comes in black and plum. This bag will actually come in handy for many trips including the trip I am taking to Chicago in just under a month where I am only bringing a personal item. I am flying Frontier Airlines so instead of paying for a bag, I am taking the duffle I purchased for my trip to London!

I am going to share with you my secrets to packing light when you do not have a large bag. If you are able to pack a larger suitcase, these tips will help you make the most of the space that you do have. For larger suitcases, I recommend the brand, TravelPro. The blue suitcase shown in the picture at the top of my post is a new TravelPro that my parents purchased for me for Christmas! I absolutely love the space in it and the fact that it has four wheels. Check it out here!

Travel Hacks 102: How to pack light

There are a few tricks that I use when packing light to make sure that I utilize all of the space I have in my suitcase. The first thing I do is take inventory of the items that I am about to pack. It is essential to pull out everything that you will be bringing and laying it out to see if you have everything ready to go. Normally, I pack all of my clothes a few days prior to my trip and wait to pack essentials, such as toothpaste and deodorant until the day before or the day of the trip.

Once I have everything laid out, I determine where the items will go in the suitcase. For my trip to London, it was easy to figure out since I only had two sections to pack; the pocket in front and the main section of the bag. I knew that I had to pack for 7 days so it took some time to figure out exactly what I needed.

Just remember that you need to think about weather when you are packing. I had to pack winter clothes for my trip to London. It was warm in Arizona, but once I was in England, I was glad I brought my coat.

I have listed the items below that I packed in my bag to London for the 7 day trip. I did buy a few t-shirts when I arrived but brought mostly everything with me.

  • Travel size toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush.
  • Make-up bag
  • Hairbrush
  • Wristlet
  • Map of London, power converter, passport, travel documents
  • Umbrella
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 5 blouses
  • Set of pajamas
  • 2 dresses with 1 pair of leggings and a belt
  • Undergarments and socks to last the duration of the trip
  • Boots and flip-flops
  • Snacks

I wore yoga pants, sneakers, a cardigan, scarf and my winter coat on the plane. I also clipped my airplane pillow onto my bag so I was set and ready to go!

The items that I packed in the front pocket were smaller items that could easily be stacked. The snacks, map, passport, wristlet, etc. are all very stackable so they fit easily in the front pocket. My recommendation would be to pack half of the front pocket first and then move onto the large area of the suitcase. Then, finish packing the front pocket at the end in case you need to rearrange anything.

The key to packing the main section of the bag is to pack the bulkier items first. This will be your shoes, jeans, pajama pants and dresses. The boots I brought are cloth and can easily be rolled. I rolled them flat and placed them side by side in the bag along with my flip-flops.

  

Then, I rolled my jeans very tights and placed them next to the boots on the bottom of the bag. After that, I moved onto the dresses. In order to ensure that you do not wrinkle your dresses and shirts, you will want to lay them flat on the bed and smooth them out with your hands. Once they are smooth, I fold my dresses in half and tightly roll them while smoothing them out as I roll to ensure that nothing is bunched up.

Once the bottom layer is packed in the bag, you’ll want to start working on the top layer, which will consist of the remainder of the clothes and your toiletries.

    

You will want to fill in any gaps or cracks in the lower level of clothes with thin blouses, undergarments and socks before layering the rest of the clothes. Socks can get bulky but if you separate the pair, you will find that there is so much more space. As soon as you fill in any gaps, layer the rest of your clothes by rolling them and placing them side by side until your bag is full.

I place my toiletries and make-up bag on the top so I have easy access to them during my journey. Once the main section of the bag is full, anything that did not fit can go into the pocket or on your person. It takes some patience while rolling your clothes but I can guarantee that you can fit so much more in your bag by strategically rolling your clothes and placing items where you see any gaps.

Voilà, you are ready for your trip! Packing light does not have to be stressful. You just have to get creative with it. I really enjoy only bringing one item with me on flights as I do not need to worry about bulky luggage. It makes the journey much more enjoyable.

Now you know how to pack light and find great deals on flights. Nothing can stop you from traveling now. For those of you who don’t like to spend a ton of money on food at the airport, we will be talking about homemade snacking ideas for your travels next week. You don’t want to miss it.

Be bold to live free, xo Aimée

“Traveling. It leaves you speechless, then it turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battutat