Six tips for stress-free holiday travel

Megan Pinckney | 12/15/2016, 1:50 p.m.
Flying is always a part of the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Sometimes it runs smoothly like clockwork; other ...
Luggage/travel Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Flying is always a part of the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Sometimes it runs smoothly like clockwork; other times it’s a disaster waiting to happen. One way to ensure your Christmas travels go as planned is to travel with just a carry-on suitcase. Not checking a bag gives you the freedom to arrive at the airport a little later, as well as the reassurance that all of your items will arrive at your destination with you and that you won’t have to spend nearly a half-hour in baggage claim after you land. If you follow these six simple tips, not only will you become a seasoned packer, but also you’ll save yourself added stress, wasted time and dozens of possible inconveniences.

Tip 1: Invest in a good suitcase

This tip is No. 1 for a reason. You can’t pack for a week in a carry-on if you don’t have the right equipment. There are only three qualities to a good carry-on suitcase. One, its dimensions should comply with TSA and each individual airline’s regulations (22x14x9 is standard). If not, your bag is useless because they’re just going to ask you check it. Two, it needs to be sturdy and of good quality. Don’t waste your time trying to stuff all of your things into a cheap suitcase or attempt running through the airport with it—the zippers will bust, the wheels will come off or the plastic will bend. And three, make sure it has no dead space. Neither the wheels nor unnecessary pockets should take up space.

Personally, I prefer suitcases with four wheels because they roll easier and have two distinct sections that don’t take away from space; however, if you prefer suitcases with only two wheels (as they are better when walking up inclines) just make sure the inside depth is as deep as the dimensions allow and that it isn’t a hard-shell.

Tip 2: Convert as many toiletries as you can to travel-sized containers

Sure, you may have gotten some liquid past TSA that you shouldn’t have, but don’t count on that happening every time because chances are you’re going to get stopped, they’re going to search your bag and it’s going to add 10 minutes (minimum) to your process. And I hate to mention the obvious, but space is what you’re trying to maximize! Why waste it all in products? Prioritize what is most important. Decide what you can’t get where you’re going, or what would cost the most to replace. Start by packing those into plastic travel containers first. Be sure you have travel-sized toothpaste, mouthwash, body wash, etc. because you’d be surprised by how much room all of those things take up.

Tip 3: Roll clothes (or pack them flat) instead of folding them

Two different techniques, one concept, which is to take up the least amount of space. I personally roll my clothes; that way I can roll other things (see next tip) into them. Well, that and I think my clothes tend to be a little less wrinkled when I roll them. But I have laid clothes flat on top of one another and recognized the saved space. Whichever you prefer, choose a technique and use it. Your clothes will ultimately take up the most room so the more you can squish them together, the more room you free up!