How to pack a holiday in your hand luggage

Pack smart to save time and hassle this summer

For every 1,000 passengers that travel by air, about nine pieces of luggage are lost. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re one of those unlucky nine passengers then you feel like your holiday is pretty much ruined.

What follows next is a series of less-than-polite phone calls to the airline and you also have the honour of making a time consuming and expensive travel insurance claim to replace your stuff. Sounds like a fun-filled holiday; now you’ll never get to find out what happens at the end of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Wouldn’t it be easier to not have to go through all that bother? If you pack smart, you can fit a holiday’s worth of stuff in your hand luggage. Not only will it mean less lost baggage (and no baggage fees to pay), but you’ll also be that person who smugly walks out of the arrivals gate first because you’re not still waiting for that conveyor belt to bring you your suitcase.

Learn the mystical art of rolling

The key to packing in your hand luggage is to maximise the space as much as you can, and that means filling every single space and leaving no gaps. If you’re still folding clothes into your suitcase or just throwing them into the case, you’re going to have a bad time.

Instead, learn to roll your clothes in order to make them as small as possible. You can find a number of tutorials online about how to roll your underwear, socks and T-shirts efficiently, and you can maximise the space even more by stuffing your shoes with your rolled up underwear and socks. Literally fill your boots, and use your shoes to line the bottom of your case and create a foundation for the rest of your luggage.

The garment weave

Another useful technique that’ll help you with your smart packing is to interweave your bigger items together in order to reduce wrinkles and make use of extra space that is usually lost due to creasing.

Take one of your larger items (jeans, trousers, skirts, jackets) and place half of it in the case and half sticking out the side. Add another item on top of that, do the same but have half sticking out the opposite side of the case. Keep adding clothes on top until you’re satisfied, and then fold in those overhanging halves over the top of it all. Doing things this way will create a single clothes package that is less likely to get wrinkled and uses up all available space. Keep your shirts/blouses to one side for later.

Double decker

Bet you didn’t think you’d be able to pack even that much? But wait, there’s more! Your clothes are done, yes, but what about your toiletries, your eReader, your travel insurance documents? Where do they fit in with the dark art of minimalist packing?

Take a garment bag and lay it over the top of your clothes. This will be the separator between the bulk of your clothes and your miscellaneous items. On top of this bag you put your camera, toiletries (in a clear bag, don’t forget. It also helps to double bag this in case of spillages) books and whatever else you’re bringing with you. Try to group them in the centre of the case so that it offers the most protection. Finally, add your shirts on the very top to offer complete protection of your gadgets.

If you’ve packed smart your hand luggage should be filled with a week’s worth of clothes and items, meaning no heavy suitcases for you. Now that you’ve avoided the extra baggage charges, you’ve also got some extra money for the duty-free. Go on, treat yourself.

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