How to Travel Without Checked Bags

Our recent review of the “Bigger” Away Bag got some attention. It’s a really cool bag but we want to show you how to make the most of it. Those checked baggage fees can make a good deal on airfare not such a great deal, so we’ve created some tips for traveling without checked bags.

Think Ahead

This usually comes with practice, but the best thing you can do is think ahead. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when planning…

Does your destination have laundry service or a washer/dryer for use?

Does your destination have toiletries available for use or complimentary?

How many and what types of outfits do you REALLY need?

You may find yourself packing things that you MIGHT need…just in case. Don’t do that! More than likely, your destination will have somewhere those “just in case” items could be purchased. Those items will still probably cost you less than a checked bag fee.

Roll vs Fold

The long asked question! Well, it all boils down to wrinkles. Some clothes become a wrinkled mess when rolled. Folding will reduce the number of wrinkles but rolling will always allow for more space. If your destination has an iron or steamer, problem solved…roll it! Think ahead though, if you have some fragile items that need to be packed, roll them into your clothes.

Neutral Colors and Flexible Attire

This tip can greatly increase the space in your bag. Our clothes are what take up most of the room in our bag, so anything that can reduce the quantity, the better. Neutral colors will help in creating options with the clothes you do pack. Think about your destination’s climate and season when picking flexible attire. Will it be too hot for wearing pants or shirts more than once during your trip? Shoes also fall under this scrutiny. If we can wear flip flops for the whole trip, we will!

Minimal Toiletries

Toiletries are another big item that use a lot of space. Especially the ladies’ bags! This is another area where you need to screen needed and unneeded items. Another big saver is investing in travel-sized containers (< 3.4 oz) that meet TSA guidelines for bringing in your carry-on. Remember, if it’s something you HAVE to have, you might be able to just buy it when you get there. $5 bottle of shampoo is less than $25 checked bag fee!

TSA Limits

Like we mentioned in our write up of the Away “Bigger” Carry-On, the bin at the airport used to check the size of your carry-on is a little bigger than the published measurements on the TSA website. This is what makes the “Bigger” bag beneficial in traveling without checked bags.

So, you got your carry-on stuffed but need just a little bit more room. Well, TSA allows you to carry-on an additional personal bag of similar size to a purse, diaper bag, camera bag, laptop carrier, or briefcase. This allowance is for every person in your group, even kids :), if you get what we mean. A lot of times the airline will allow you to check your carry-on at the gate to make sure they have enough room. You can almost guarantee this. Also, if you need a coat at your destination, wear it or carry it on the plane.

For our military peeps, don’t forget, airlines like Delta allow you to check up to 2 bags for free by just showing your military ID.  Unfortunately, American Airlines isn’t as cool and require you to be on orders.

We hope these tips help and please feel free to message or comment with any tips you have that might be worth mentioning. Thanks for reading!

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