In an era of constantly increasing add-on charges and baggage fees associated with air travel, learning to pack like a pro has become mandatory. There was a time when only business and other frequent flyers needed to rely on carry-on luggage, but nowadays the need to travel light confronts most flyers looking to avoid exorbitant fees for extra bags and excess weight. The failure to pay attention to height, weight, and restrictions on the number of bags allowed can quickly bloat the real cost of an Economy or Supersaver fare exponentially. Here are a few tips for keeping down travel costs and expediting your journey at the same time:
Start by making a list. Give your list a thorough review, cross off everything that is not necessary, and then stick to it. For clothing, focus on multi-purpose outfits that can carry you through the day and evening. When possible, stick to lightweight, wrinkle-free materials in neutral color schemes so you do not have to worry about matching. Before you leave, stop at your local pharmacy or dollar store and purchase TSA-approved travel-size toiletries. Most hotels and vacation rental homes supply hair dryers, irons, etc. Fancy hotels often supply robes. Check in advance and leave it home if you do not need it.
Invest in a few quality packing cubes to help organize and consolidate the contents of your luggage and save space, time, and money. Your clothing and personal items will stay organized and tidy.
Roll It – Don’t Fold It
Unless you are a very experienced packer with retail experience and yards of tissue paper and plastic, you are better off rolling your clothes instead of folding them. Rolled clothes take up less space and have fewer wrinkles.
Unless it’s a tuxedo jacket, plan on wearing your coat or jacket on the plane. Even if you are departing from a hot climate, take your outerwear onboard to save a huge amount of space in your luggage. Airports are often chilly anyway.
Airline Credit Cards
Even non-frequent flyers can access perks normally reserved for “elite” travelers by applying for and using an airline credit card and enjoying privileges that often include free carry-on and checked baggage for the cardholder and travel companions. Look for a card that does not come with an annual fee, but bear in mind that even one flight with free baggage can end up paying for the cost of the card.
Learning to pack like a pro will save you travel dollars that can be invested in more rewarding pursuits. Lighten your load and you will be able to move from cars to airport terminals to rental waiting lines with far greater speed while saving money at the same time. Your bank account and your aching back will both thank you.