Flight attendants know a thing or two about how to pack a bag properly
We’ve all had luggage panic the night before a flight, checking that our bag fits the weight and size requirements of our airline in a bid to avoid unexpected fees at the airport. Though some airlines offer reasonably generous free hand luggage allowances, others are much stricter, meaning you can find yourself caught out if the strap of your bag or even its wheels make it too big for the baggage sizer.
Even if you’ve managed to find the best easyJet deal on a holiday or the best British Airways deal on flights, realising you might need more luggage than your ticket allows you can mean the cost of travel quickly adds up.
But when it comes to packing like a pro, flight attendants are a great help. Spending most of their time travelling the world, cabin crew members know a thing or two about beating baggage restrictions and keeping your suitcase organised.
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite packing hacks to help you organise your luggage like a professional. Scroll down for complete guide or click on the links to jump to the relevant section.
Before you start packing, it’s crucial you understand exactly what limitations are in place for your chosen airline. You can find out the latest baggage rules, as well as some handy ways to get more for your money, in our Jet2 baggage rules and tricks guide, our “cheapest” easyJet luggage tricks guide or our handy guide to Ryanair’s baggage policy.
Fit ’12 to 14 days of clothes’ in a carry-on bag
Flight attendants often share their tips and tricks online with passengers eager to make the most of their luggage allowance. Posting to a Reddit forum under the username Phxflyer, an anonymous passenger shared a tip a cabin crew member had offered them.
According to the passenger, the flight attendant recommended always rolling your clothes. In fact, this hack works so well, it could allow you to pack as much as two weeks’ worth of clothing into a carry-on bag.
“Definitely roll your clothes,” the Reddit user explained. “I can get between 12 to 14 days’ worth of clothes in a carry-on rolling bag if I roll, slightly less in the winter. A flight attendant told me about it and I’ve been doing it for a while now.”
Rolling clothes can help to make the most of the space in your suitcase
Rolling is one packing method which is regularly recommended for its space saving benefit, and if done correctly, it can even help to reduce wrinkles in your clothes.
The reason the method works well is because it forces air from between folds allowing you to make the most of the available space.
However, according to experts, this hack only works if you’re properly rolling. Experts from Travel + Leisure say the key is to practise something called “Ranger Rolling”.
“To properly roll your clothes, lay the item of clothing out flat,” they explained. “Then fold the bottom two inches of the item inside out so it creates a type of pocket along one side of the clothing.
“From the opposite end, roll the item tightly until you get to the pocket you’ve created. Fold one side of the pocket over the roll, securing it tightly.”
Disguise excess hand luggage with this neck pillow hack
One TikTok influencer revealed a clever hack which might just mean you can sneak some extra clothes onboard without exceeding your hand luggage weight or size restrictions.
The trick comes in the form of a handy fillable neck pillow, which can be purchased for under £20 on Etsy or on Amazon for £79.
While the majority of airlines limit the number of cabin bags passengers can bring onboard, most let passenger bring a neck pillow with them. Instead of selecting a cushioned neck pillow, look for a fillable neck pillow. These can then be stuffed with soft clothing items.
TikTok travel influencer @cheapholidayexpert put the hack to the test and described it as a “game changer”.
The hack can be used with airlines including easyJet and Ryanair – for more easyJet packing tips you can view our easyJet “cheapest” baggage tricks guide or if you’re flying with Ryanair, learn some crucial packing tips in our Ryanair baggage guide.
Save space with packing cubes
Another flight attendant must-have are packing cubes. Cabin crew member Rhiannon Corbett shared a video of her top packing tips to her Instagram page, and explained how she makes use of packing cubes.
“I like to use pouches for my clothes and shoes as it kept everything organised and nothing moves around while travelling,” she explained.
The crew member added that she typically packs her cosmetics into a clear bag or pouch. “A clear cosmetic bag so I can see everything that I have already and I don’t need to unpack too much when I get there,” she said.
Packing cubes not only keep your suitcase organised, but once again they can help to ensure you are maximising the space available to you. And the good news is, you don’t need to fork out a fortune in order to find some decent ones for your next holiday.
Stay organised with this Ziploc bag hack
Although you might typically put Ziploc bags to use in the kitchen, they can be particularly useful when travelling. Not only are Ziploc bags essential for transporting any hand luggage liquid items through security, larger bags can double up as makeshift vacuum packs and, you guessed it, squeeze some extra space out of your baggage allowance.
You can find reusable Ziploc-style bags on Amazon for £5.49 which are a more eco-friendly altenrative to traditional, disposable Ziploc bags.
Re-usable Ziploc bags can make for a savvy way to save space
These plastic bags can also be helpful if you’re travelling for a short time and want to pre-plan outfits to avoid overpacking, or can help keep things organised when jetting off on holiday with little ones.
Organise your outfits into piles, folding them and then placing each one into an individual Ziploc bag. Then, simply sit on the bag to push all of the air out before sealing them to condense the space the items take up.
Finally, you can create a label to pop inside or stick onto each bag to easily identify what outfit is stored in each.
Opt for a lightweight travel bag
If you’re finding that your is tipping the scales every so slightly, you might want to consider a lightweight bag. Many airlines put weight restrictions in place for hand and hold luggage, so the lighter your bag is when empty, the more items you’ll be able to fit in without exceeding your allowance.
Of course, before purchasing your luggage make sure to check the size restrictions specified by your chosen carrier.