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How to Pack for a Short Flight

Travelers Today       By    Katherine Hewitt

Updated: Nov 11, 2014 03:52 PM EST

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Flying somewhere for just a few days can be quite stressful.  Making sure you pack everything while meeting size requirements is a challenge in itself.  Decisions like "Should I check a bag or not?" always come up.  So here are a few handy tricks to make short trips a little less stressful and little easier.

1. Don't check your bag.       

If you are flying somewhere for less than week, then don't check a suitcase.  Take a large duffel bag as one of your carry-ons.   Find one that is large enough to fit your clothes but also will fit the size requirements set out by the airlines.  This way you will not have to worry about standing around baggage claim waiting for your bags to appear.  And you do not have to worry about the worst scenario...lost baggage!  If you have a carry-on, you can spend more time out and about exploring the place you are visiting instead of looking at the walls of the airport!

2.Don't pack completely different items to wear each day.

When figuring out what to wear, try to re-wear a few things.  Like shoes.  Shoes take up a lot of space and can be heavy. Try to pack outfits that one or two pairs of shoes will go with instead of packing a different pair of shoes for each day.  Jeans and dark colored shorts or pants can be worn again with different shirts.  And ladies, try to minimize the accessories.  You will be surprised how much space they take up.  Bring basic pieces that can be worn with any outfit. 

3. Lay out your clothes and toiletries.      

The next challenge is trying to fit all your stuff into one bag.  I find that laying out the clothes you will wear and all the other items you plan on packing helps to visualize exactly how much you are bringing.   You can easily tell if you have too much or if you have room for that extra sweater you wanted to bring.  You will also be able to tell if you forgot to pack something-like your pajamas.   

4. Consolidate     

I like to put all my shirts together, all the pants together and so forth.   I find this makes packing go a little quicker.  I just pick up the pile and put it in the duffle bag.  Put all of your toiletries together in one place because it will be easier to find them when going through security.   

5. Don't throw clothes into your bag.  

If you just throw clothes into your bag you will run out of room.  If you have a lot of clothes roll them.  Personally, I compartmentalize my duffel bag.  On one side I put my shirts, sweater, cardigans, etc either folded or rolled.  Then on the other side I put my pants.  In the space between these two sides you can put your toiletries or shoes.  You can always roll up something like socks and put them in your shoes to save space as well.  You can also put shoes around the side of your bag and put something else in the middle.          

6. Wear bulky or heavy items. 

If you plan on bringing a coat, you can wear it/carry it instead of trying to stuff it into your bag.  Most likely you will need it when you get to where you are going.  You want it be easily accessible.  If you have bulky or heavy shoes or an extra pair you wanted to bring you can wear them as well.  Some people like to travel in jeans and that would take some space out of your carry- on as well.  And remember, if you can't fit everything in one duffle bag, you can always bring a small backpack as your second carry-on to put overflow items in.  

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