a close-up of a couple of suitcases

Tip #1: Don’t ; )

Ok, ok – we’ve had our fun and we get it – you need to check a bag. No more jokes about how you should follow packing tips and tricks to squeeze things into your surprisingly generous carry on allowance or how diva it is to check a bag. We promise. Successful trips hinge on good packing, bags arriving and nothing spilling – so here are a few tips to maximize your chances of all going well!

a group of luggage on wheelsSplit

Traveling with a companion? Lucky you. It may just be the thing that saves your trip – or at least your fashion sense for a few days. Airlines lose bags all the time, but if you’re traveling with a companion you have a hack available. Put half your clothes in each others bags. That way – if one bag goes missing, you and your companion will both have the necessities to take great Instagram pictures and travel in comfort.


If you ever had the feeling that rolling saves space, reduces wrinkles (in clothes, at least) and is the best way to pack – you’re right. Go rub it in all of your friends faces. Rolling is proven to be the most space efficient way to pack. By rolling you’re able to use more surface space and also stack layers using the vertical space you’re saving. We recommend starting with the heaviest items, like jeans on the bottom layer in the corners, and leaving the softer, lighter stuff like t-shirts and socks for the top – since they can be pressed down easily.


Never place valuables, cash, cameras or ANYTHING with a rechargeable battery in your checked bag. Just don’t. Forget everything you’ve ever heard about how it’s a good idea. There’s a full ban on lithium ion batteries going into checked bags, so your luggage could be discarded if you do not follow that rule alone. As for cash, stealing from checked luggage is one of the most popular crimes in travel. Keep all belongings on your person. It’s not illegal to carry more than $10k in cash, you just have to declare it.

a close-up of a couple of suitcasesPhotocopy

After you finish jamming all your (neatly rolled) stuff into a bag place a print out of your itinerary in plain site, with the lettering facing up. Make it really, really obvious that the piece of paper has your name, flight numbers, record locator and ticket numbers on it. If the bag does go missing, this is one of the first moves an airline will do to see where the bag was meant to be. Of course, having your name and contact on the outside helps as well. Tag it!


The two main reasons not to check a bag are time and money. You waste time checking it in and waiting to get it back. You waste money paying the fees to bring it along. But if you get an airline credit card, or find an easy airline elite flyer status to reach – your bags may be free forever. Not just for you, but for everyone on your reservation. This can be a game changer and may even lead to a reduction of jokes at your expense while traveling!

What’s your best packing tip?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. I always check in one medium size suitcase when I travel. I have no desire to use a carry on suitcase that I’ll have to drag around the airport with me whilst I wait for my flight. A suitcase that will likely have no extra room to bring back any purchases whilst away. I am 6ft tall so three weeks worth of XL clothes plus two pairs of size ten shoes and toiletries won’t fit in a carry on no matter how much I roll it. I treat myself by paying extra for an upgraded seat because sitting cramped in economy with 34″ leg is very uncomfortable. Upgrading allows me to check in bags included in the ticket price. I also buy airport food and treat myself to a beverage because I’m on vacation for goodness sake. Being frugal and avoiding check in fees is a choice for some but the vast majority of passengers check in bags. We who (insist on) checking in bags often have good reasons for doing so. I’m tired of being judged because I choose to check in a bag or spend extra on myself when I travel.

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