Pack Lighter and Tighter

May 31, 2010 12:45:11 PM PDT
As if flying wasn't already expensive enough, some airlines are now charging for checked bags. So avoid those fees by packing light and tight for your next flight.Frequent flyer Heidi Cantwell always tries to pack light, whether it's for a weekend or a week away: "It makes it much easier to just be able to wheel your bag straight on."

It's more than just convenience, it's about cost. American Airlines is one of several airlines that now charges for checked luggage: 15-dollars for the first checked bag and 25-dollars for the second. That's on top of your ticket costs. And make sure your bags don't weigh over 50 pounds on domestic flights to avoid even more charges ... some as high as 100-dollars! Heidi says, "I am trying to pack lighter, and also I'm thinking about those extra fees."

Sandi Stone is a professional organizer and clutter coach. Her business "Everything in its Place" is also her life's motto. She says the number one mistake travelers make: "Overpacking. Trying to anticipate every kind of situation that can come up. Just in case."

Sandi went over Heidi's carry-on to offer some packing tips. To start: lose the extra shoes. They add a lot of bulk and weight. Coordinate your clothes so everything could go with the shoes you have on.

It's nice to have something new to wear every day, but Sandi says it's not practical. She suggests, before you pack your suitcase, lay everything out and put half of it back in the closet. Use accessories like a scarf or jewelry to change the look of one outfit. Sandi: "Dress it up, dress it down, put a belt on it, take the belt off, whatever. But I mean you have so many options that take up no space at all."

When things get really tight, roll your pieces to maximize space and avoid wrinkles. Sandi points out, "You can even stand things up like this up so you can just pull out things you might be needing."

Wear your bulkiest items like sweaters or jackets instead of packing them. Wrinkle prone items should go on top. Your purse counts as a carry-on, so do like Heidi and pare it down to a small clutch that fits in a laptop bag.

And remember two things: you can always buy something at your destination ... And there's usually a place to do laundry wherever you are going ... even if it's in the hotel sink.

Make sure to check your airline's baggage policies before your flight so you're not surprised by any rules or fees when you check in.

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