With the exception of Southwest Airlines, most domestic airlines generally charge to check your bags. If you are going on a trip for less than two weeks, you can realistically fit all your belongings into one carry-on bag.
“You have lots of guts to even suggest something like that,” you may be thinking about me and my theories. But if you travel with only carry-on bags, I assure you that you will save time and money – time before your departure because you can check in from home, and time upon arrival because you don’t have to go through baggage claim.
Limit Your Bottoms
Since your bottoms (slacks, jeans, skirts, etc.) are generally larger than your tops, limit the number of bottoms that you pack. Bring one pair of each type of bottom and create variety in your outfits by mixing your tops.
Color-Coordinate Your Outfits to Reduce Accessories
As you are packing for your trip, plan your outfits so that they are all in the same color family. You can eliminate having to bring extra pairs of shoes and jewelry to match all the different outfits by sticking with one color scheme. This doesn’t mean that you wear only one color, but if you will wear only black bottoms for one trip, for example, all you’ll need is one pair of black shoes.
Eliminate Extra Clothing
Be realistic. If you will be out of town for five days, do you need a day and evening outfit for every day? Chances are you won’t be changing that often. If you’re going to visit family for the holidays, what are the chances that you need so many dressy/cute outfits? So, pack only one cute/dressy outfit. If the need arises, you can go to the mall and buy something. And that probably won’t even happen.
Pack Travel-Sized Toiletries
Have a small toiletry bag and keep it stocked with travel-sized products. Can’t find a travel-sized tube of your favorite toothpaste? Buy two (yes, I said two) full-sized tubes: one to stay in your bathroom and the other to keep with all your travel items. Buy some small travel containers that will fit into your toiletry bag and fill them with whatever you need from the full size containers.
This may seem like a waste of money, but I recommend doing this because if you travel a lot, having two stashes that never get mixed makes packing for travel so much more efficient. Your toiletries are always packed and ready to go.
Wear Oversized Clothing & Accessories
If you are traveling from a warm climate to a cold climate, or vice versa, wear your coat on the flight. Wear the shoes (or boots) that take up a lot of packing space, as well. You will save so much space by not trying to fit these items into your luggage.
Wait Until the Last Minute to Volunteer to Check Your Bag
More and more people are carrying on their bags, making the boarding process longer than usual. Everyone is looking for a small space in an overhead bin where they can stuff their bag. To combat this, most gate agents will offer to check passenger bags at the gate for free.
The key is to wait until the very last minute to volunteer to check your bag. Wait until boarding has started, or even better, wait until you have boarded the plane. Your bags will probably be the last ones on the plane and the first ones off the plane.