Carry on my wayward son
Avoid those airline fees and pack it all in your carry-on bag.
Let’s face it, it’s just not an affordable time to be traveling. Airfare is consistently on the rise (round-trip tix to L.A. used to be around $250 but are now way over $300), and with American Airlines and United charging $15 to check your first bag, you practically need to take out a loan just to make it to your departure gate. Luckily, you can pinch pennies by carrying on your bag and taking advantage of the Container Store’s (908 W North Ave, 312-654-8450, containerstore.com) travel sale (through July 6). Flight 001 (1133 N State St, 312-944-1001, flight001.com) makes it even easier for TOC readers to save moolah by offering 15 percent off all Flight 001–branded travel products when you mention Time Out Chicago in the shop (through Wednesday 25). Since it’s cheaper to carry on, you better be a fabulous packer. Susan Foster, author of Smart Packing for Today’s Traveler, says you should always think about what you’re wearing on the plane as part of your vacation wardrobe. Instead of stuffing your space-hogging sneakers into your bag, wear them on your travel day instead. “Wearing your bulkiest thing on the plane is sometimes the most practical way to do it,” she says. Here are more smart packing tips:
1. Let go of the idea that you need to pack a different outfit for each day by picking interchangeable pieces based on neutral color. “I choose black because it doesn’t show when I spill or wrinkle,” Foster says. She adds that packing two pairs of pants, one jacket and four shirts should last you a week.
2. “Make use of every piece of real estate in that bag,” Foster says. Create extra space by filling your shoes with rolled up socks, underwear and workout clothes. “I’ve even tucked a pair of spare glasses into them,” she adds.
3. Carrying on means you won’t be able to check your shampoo bottles, so get this Airline carry-on kit ($6 at the Container Store), which includes seven 3-ounce containers the FAA will approve. Also check out minimus.biz for travel-size products.
4. Travel books offer insider info on your destination, but they also take up space in your luggage. Save room by making photocopies of pertinent pages and bringing those in a folder instead.
5. Load your dirty laundry in one of these plastic travel bags ($5–$6 at the Container Store). Fill the bag with your dirty clothes, zip it and then roll it up to compress the air. This will help make room for all those souvenirs you’ll be bringing back.
6. Another way to keep your bag more compact is by stocking up on space-saving kits. This Flight 001–branded Spacepak ($30–$65 at Flight 001) helps compress unmentionables. The whole system (which includes packs for suits, shoes, toiletries and more) fits comfortably in most carry-on bags.
7. Instead of fishing around in your bag’s outside pockets for your passport and tickets, store them all with this document case ($10 at the Container Store) which is slim enough to fit anywhere in your suitcase.