Luggage Tips from Expert Travelers

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The savviest travelers often know their luggage needs exactly. They’ve figured out which bags they need for specific kinds of trips, how to use their bags most efficiently, and how to avoid paying out the nose for bringing them along. To get the most out of your luggage, see the following tips:

Maximize the personal item

When you fly, you’re typically allowed to bring on a “personal item” free of charge. While airlines often encourage you to bring an item like a purse or a laptop bag, frequently the only real limitation on these is that they must fit beneath the seat in front of you. Using a backpack or even a small duffel bag as your personal item can help you maximize your storage space on longer trips without paying for an extra bag.

Use plastic bags to compress your clothing

Air-compression packing bags do a great job shrinking down your clothes to give you extra room, but even a regular Ziploc bag serve in a pinch, provided you roll it tightly enough. Plastic bags can also help keep toiletries and wet clothing separate from the rest of your luggage.

Weigh your bag ahead of time

Depending on your packing style, weight may be a bigger concern for you than volume. To make sure you don’t go over your luggage weight allowance and incur a hefty surcharge from your airline, carry a small luggage scale and make sure it’s accurate.

Use a 26-inch suitcase rather than a 29-inch suitcase

A 3-inch size difference may not seem very substantial, but 26-inch suitcases have a number of advantages over their slightly larger brethren. They fit more easily into the trunks of rental cars, and they weigh less, which lets you carry more without going over your weight allowance. If you get one with wheels, you can also put your carry-on luggage on top of it while you wheel it through the airport.

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