Air travel packing: how to pack in a smart way. Sometimes I get a feeling that I pack too often. 🙂 However, I never complain as I love traveling! Just in 2021, during Covid times, I have taken 22 flights so far. And the year isn’t over yet! Yes, each travel usually requires a lot of packing (and unpacking!) as we travel a lot between India and Poland and enjoy some additional travels.
How to smartly pack when traveling by plane? How can you fit all that you want and travel comfortably at the same time? What are some of the ‘magical tips’? Check the below. I will share them all with you here! Plus, I know that you will have a lot of great suggestions too. Add them in the comments below. Let’s extend this list!
HOW TO PACK IN A SMART WAY
Normal life: wears the same top every day for a week.
Packing for a 3 day vacation: I will probably change a few times a day so I will take 21 tops.
Does it sound familiar to you as well? I am sure I am not the only one. 😉 And maybe not 21 tops but 6 will do! Plus I pack some shorts, skirts, dresses, shoes, handbags. And the suitcase is nearly done! Not forgetting the kids’ section, that has a long list too! When I travel between India and Poland, my luggage is full of regional food delicacies, things that I can’t find in the other part of the world, and of course some gifts. I need to admit it: usually, I am overpacked, well overpacked. But then, when traveling just for holidays, I can always make it happen! The last time when I traveled with the Little One to visit my sister, we had only one small suitcase to share in two. And we did it! I even managed to leave 1/3 of it for gifts!
Highlight: I do not pack 30min before the travel and have it all done in 15 minutes like my Better Half. However, I feel I have become nearly a pro in packing till now! 🙂 Need some tips? Check the list below!
Item number one: check the potential weather forecast for your travel destination. Don’t assume, as you might be surprised by a weather change or an unexpected rainy week. That’s what happened to me last time when traveling to my sister. I didn’t check the weather as I assumed warm July days in the Alps. We had good weather, but it rained a lot too. I wish we have taken more leggins than shorts. India is a great example too! Don’t assume sunny days. There is a rainy (monsoon) season, and in the north of the country, it can also get cold.
TIP #1: Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly
KNOW YOUR LIMIT
Before flying with a new airline, I always check the baggage number and weight limits. There are many airlines that I know the rules by heart already. Yet, it is good to check your limit so you can plan your packing (and shopping… haha) accordingly. Also, when flying with multiple airlines on one ticket – the main airline baggage rules follow. If you buy separate tickets, you might have some issues as the weight limits might vary significantly. When flying with most of the airlines in economy class, you will be eligible for 23 kg checked-in luggage (e.g., American Airlines, ANA, Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa). However, if you fly with Singapore Airlines or Thai Airlines, you can check in even 30kg. It makes a difference!
TIP #2: Check your luggage allowance based on your airline and ticket type
This item comes from my own experience of ongoing travels and my regular complaint: it is not enough kilograms that I can pack in my suitcases! 🙂 Hmm. When flying with regular airlines (not low-cost ones), I always add 0.5-1.2kg more weight per suitcase. Last week, in this way, we came from Poland to India with an extra 3.5kg. We checked in 4 suitcases (2 regular ones and 2 handbags). I increased their weight by 0.7, 0.8, 0.8, and 1.2 kg each. Just once in my entire flying history, I was stopped for this. It happened in the US, flying with Delta. I guess lb measurement is more precise than kg. How did it end? I was ready for it! 🙂 I always keep in the suitcase (on the top or in the pocket) something that I would not be sad to leave behind. So, I removed two magazines, and I continued my journey with no worries.
TIP #3: If needed, you can overpack your bag a bit. An extra 0.5-1kg will always work.
SHARED WEIGHT LIMIT
Potentially less known item when traveling in a couple or a group: some airlines allow you to combine the total weight limit and share it between yourselves when traveling together. Many airlines specify it in their baggage rules, like Air France: ‘A group (2 or more people) can transport at no charge the total number of their combined individual baggage allowances.‘ We used this option recently when flying with Air France and also GoAir when returning from Goa.
TIP #4: You might be able to share your baggage allowance! Cross-check it in advance.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS ALLOWANCE
An item that might be additionally helpful, especially when traveling with low-cost providers. Most airlines allow the passengers to take on board some additional items. It is worth checking, especially when you travel only with the handbag or your luggage weight limit is limited. What is usually allowed? A jacket or blanket, books or magazines, medicines, medicinal equipment, or duty-free shopping.
TIP #5: Need some extra space? Check the additional items allowance for your airline.
CHILDREN’S BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE
Are you traveling with your little ones? Don’t forget that children can also have baggage, including infants. Infants’ baggage allowance weight varies from airline to airline. Once they cross the age of 2 years, their baggage allowance is the same as adult passengers. In this case, traveling in the economy class, usually, you will get an extra allowance of 23kg checked-in luggage, 8kg hand luggage, and a small handbag too.
Do you feel overwhelmed that you will need to pack so many suitcases, including your children’s ones? If they are older, let them pack alone. Our Bigger Angel started to pack on her own at the age of 7. She was just asking how many days and nights are we going to travel. All the packing was done by her! What a great help!
TIP #6: Don’t forget that your children are also permitted some baggage allowance. Let them pack on their own, if possible!
CHILDREN’S TRAVEL ITEMS
More good news if you are traveling with children! You can bring, free of cost, at least one baby’s equipment. It might be a stroller, car seat, foldable cot, or a backpack-style baby carrier. How many? The number will depend on the airline and the child’s age. There are usually two options. You might be able to check in the item or take it with you to the door of the plane. Traveling with our Little One, I always check the destination and our travel plans. When I was visiting my sister in July, I had to bring a car seat as it was required by the airport shuttle (2 hours drive). However, when traveling recently to Santorini or Paris, we didn’t take anything. Too many stairs in the cities to carry any additional equipment.
TIP #7: Traveling with children, you can bring baby equipment (for children up to 11 years old). However, check if it is handy for you during the travel.
CHECK-IN ALL SUITCASES
That’s one of my favorite tips, already mentioned in a few of my previous posts. Are you worried that you are going to travel with too many suitcases? You can always ask during the check-in process to check in also your hand luggage. For travelers with children, seniors, or any illness, it is very rarely questioned. For other travelers, the regular airline will often agree too. Just one time, I was rejected to check in both of our handbags, so I traveled with one. Still, it helped. In this way, you can also be more comfortable carrying your backpack, laptop bag, or children’s bag.
And don’t worry! Usually, you are still allowed one more personal item. It might be a laptop bag, a backpack, or a handbag. So your fragile items, documents, or baby food will still be with you!
TIP #8: Travel smartly and comfortably: check in your hand luggage.
Is your packing nearly done? An important element of packing smartly: leave a bit of space in your luggage. Unless you are traveling to your family or friends, fill it in with gifts or some yummy food. There are always very high chances that you might buy something during your holidays. As a result, you would need extra space (and weight) in your suitcase. So plan it well! Would you return home from France, Australia, or South Africa without at least one bottle of wine?
TIP #9: Leave some extra space in your luggage for intended or unintended shopping! 🙂 Somehow, it always happens.
ROLL & BOXES
That’s a very well-known method to pack more items in the luggage: roll! Roll your clothes and keep tight next to each other. I used this method a few times already, especially when traveling back home from the USA. I would also suggest, to save space, whenever possible, to forget boxes. Leave them or remove them, opening to the flat format, if you need them. You will save plenty of space. You can also use clothes to cover things that are more fragile or need an additional cover. Avoid too many bubble wraps as they occupy space. Replace them with your clothes, where possible.
TIP #10: Rolling might be your best packing friend. And unfriend with boxes! 😉
That’s one of my own habits when packing: I prepare a content list. What do I mean? I simply take a piece of paper and I note down all that I keep in each suitcase. How does it help me? When traveling for a short holidays I might pack the day before. However, when I travel for longer duration and I need to pack also the bags for our Little One, I start preparing earlier on. For example, now when traveling back to India I had 4 suitcases to pack. A week before the return we were traveling to Paris. So I packed two suitcases before our trip to France. Later on, when packing the remaining two suitcases I exactly knew what I have already packed. Sometimes I also unpack something to take something more important so with such a list it is super easy to find all. Additional plus? In case your luggage gets lost, you exactly know what was inside!
TIP #11: A quick luggage content list can work magic!
At the end of my packing I always revisit my content lists and ask myself: do I really need all of it? Even when my suitcases are already fully packed, I do not mind to opening them and removing things that are really unnecessary. Something I remove things that I not needed at all. Maybe it was that one top that I wanted to use the last time during my holidays. And finally I decided: in fact it is not needed any more, I can travel and live without. So do not worry to declutter from your packing list or revise your travel content. Challenge yourself when still at home so that you can enjoy your travel more!
TIP #12: Remove what is unnecessary from your suitcase, even last moment. Travel smartly!
A bonus item! That’s one of the things that I am yet to implement myself. My Better Half follows it, and I have learned it from him. He has made on his mobile his travel checklist, a super useful list.
What does it include? It refers to the travel preparation and home readiness before the journey. For example, documents and passports to carry, Wi-Fi and gas to turn off, cycles closure, plants watering, dustbins clearance, windows closure. You can easily create a list that would match your travel readiness. I wish I had it with me in Poland one week ago. I left for India forgetting to turn off the Wi-Fi and left behind one bag with gifts. Luckily, my parents are there to help us. Yet, a quick travel checklist can take away a lot of worries, especially now when traveling during the pandemic.
TIP #13: Create your travel checklist and travel freely.
TRAVEL PACKING APPS
PackPoint travel packing list
‘PackPoint is a free travel packing list organizer and packing planner for serious travel pros. It will help you organize what you need to pack in your luggage and suitcase based on length of travel, weather at your destination, and any activities planned during your trip.
Once your packing list is built and organized, PackPoint will save it for you, and then you can choose to share it with your friends and family in case they need help packing too.
Punch in the city you’re going to travel to, the departure date, and the number of nights you’ll be staying there.’
‘Packtor: Packing lists how you want them to be: easy to create, comprehensive and customized for you and your travels, easy to use, fully editable and always available when you need them. No registration needed.‘
OneBag: Travel Packing List Organiser
OneBag offers a simple to use platform to plan your own perfectly tailored packing lists for your travels. Travelling with others? Export your trip as a simple text list to share with family and friends.
Create your first trip, start adding your personal belongings and they’ll be stored in an inventory so you can use them again and again, making packing for future trips a breeze.
OneBag makes it easy to stick within strict airline weight limits. Record your item weights and the total weight of your packing lists will be automatically calculated for all your trips. A convenient trip summary displays a breakdown of total packed weight by bag and by category, so you can easily see where to cut back.
Easy Pack – travel packing lists
Easy Pack is a free packing organizer you can use for travel and everyday activities. It can be used as a planner as it also includes a checklist of things to do and buy before you go. The app is fast, simple, lightweight (3 Mb), and can be easily customized to fit your needs.
SmartPack – Bag packing list for travel
SmartPack is an easy-to-use packing assistant which helps you to prepare your packing list with minimum effort. The app comes with several common items suitable for different travel situations (contexts), which can be customized as desired.
When your list is ready, you can start packing without even looking at your phone by using Voice Mode, where the app will read the list out loud sequentially and wait for your verbal confirmation as you pack each item. Or you can use your watch to go through your list.
What is your best packing tip? Share below! Sharing is caring.
Moments that matter, no matter the packing.