Posted 18th November 2014:
We’ve all been there; you arrive at the check-in desk, place your suitcase on the scales and nervously watch through your hands, praying that you won’t have to remove that eighth pair of shorts. With some airlines tightening their belts on the weight limits they allow, it’s vital that you pack sensibly in order to avoid excess baggage fees. Here are some of our top tips on how to perfectly pack your suitcase.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Invest in a good quality, light and durable suitcase – they will normally come with a guarantee for failure of parts (wheels, handles and zips). Carefully consider the right size: too big and you won’t fit it in your boot; too small and you’ll be sitting on the lid in order to do the zip up. An expandable 26-inch case is usually ideal for a fortnight holiday.
Luggage rules vary from airline to airline, so be sure to check before you pack. Economy airlines usually have a weight limit of between 20 and 25 kilograms. Don’t get caught out, though: you can check up to eight cases with easyJet, but the combined weight still mustn’t exceed 20 kilograms.
It’s time to embrace essentialism and resist the temptation to pack for every possible weather condition. Choose practical, versatile and comfortable items of clothing and avoid packing a different pair of shoes for every day of the week.
Sometimes we forget that our travelling clothes will also be part of our wardrobe once we get to our destination. Wear the bulkiest and heaviest items to travel in (including jewellery); this will save you valuable kilos on the baggage scales. Heavy items, such as books and cameras, could be placed in your hand luggage (just check with your airline that there are no weight restrictions for carry-ons).
Look online to find out what your hotel provides. For example, if there is a hairdryer in the room already, there’s absolutely no need to pack one. Put the iron back!
How often have you come back from holiday with two-thirds of your shampoo remaining? Invest in travel-sized toiletries or, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, decant yours into mini bottles. This will save taking up valuable luggage space with litre-sized bottles of shower gel.
Remember – you’ve got to pack to return home, too! Try to avoid buying heavy souvenirs from the local market. If you just can’t help yourself, consider shipping a package home before your return flight.
Be careful when using your home scales to weigh your packed suitcase; the results can be different from airport ones, so it’s wise to err on the side of caution. It is worth investing in a hand-held digital scale, as you can pack this in your hand luggage and weigh-in again before returning home.
If you think you can do it, travelling with just a carry-on can save you both time at the check-in desk and money. Although packing light can be a challenge, it could mean that you’ll never need to wait patiently by the luggage carrousel again.
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