How to Pack

Not sure on how to squeeze all your essentials down to one 50lb suitcase, a carry on case and a laptop satchel or handbag? We’ve got some packing tips, tricks and hacks to get you and all your stuff to Spain without having to pay for an extra bag.

Saving Space

Packing Suitcase

We could fit a few more things in here, especially with the roll-bundle method

Some people swear by the roll-up method to maximize space and reduce clothing wrinkles, but remember that there’s always more than one way to shoe a horse. Did you know you can fit a fall jacket, a button down shirt, two pairs of jeans, five tops, a dress, a toiletries bag, plus two pairs of shoes all in a dinky little carry-on? Check out this video from Travel Noire to see how she did it. The World Travel channel also has a video upon on how to use the same bundle method to cram two weeks worth of clothes into your cabin bag.

Another thing you can do to free up some precious suitcase real estate is to wear some of your heavier, bulkier items on your person during your journey. Even if you’re traveling during a heatwave in August, the plane will probably be freezing cold, so wear your jacket or a thick cardigan if you’ve packed it, on board the plane. I usually wear my sneakers on the flight to free up a couple of pounds in my checked bag but when space and weight were especially precious, I’ve worn my boots. It’s incredibly uncomfortable but if you have a direct flight and can take your shoes off during most of it it’s just barely bearable.

The Weighing Game


Buy or borrow a luggage scale. I have one I bought at Marshall’s and it changed my life. No more wondering or worrying if my bag is going to be overweight and I’m going to have to throw away liquids or shoes or souvenirs in the airport to get back within my weight allowance. It’s so worth it.

Next, if the airline you’re flying with doesn’t have a weight limit for carry on bags, exploit that fact. Will your boots fit in there? A wool jacket? Any books that you feel you absolutely have to bring? Put ’em in. This will free up space and some of your weight allowance in your checked-bag, which will be essential if you want to bring lots of liquids (shampoo, conditioner, spirits, etc.) with you.

What I usually do is pack my checked bag first and then weigh it. If (when, which is always) it’s over the weight allowance I start assessing what I could move to my carry on. The ankle boots will fit in nicely if I bag them separately and lay them horizontally on top of my clothes. The text books won’t add a lot of visible bulk if I put them in one at a time and lay them flat in the outside pocket so they rest next to each other and not on top of each other. A leather moto jacket can usually be tucked around the edges of the clothing bundle.

If you have to bring any important documentation (like your apostilled background check to complete your TIE process upon arrival) you should back that in your hand bag or carry on. Do not let your documents out of your sight. If your flight has been overbooked and you are forced to check your carry on suit case at the gate, grab your docs and put them in your satchel or hand bag.

Downsize and Declutter


Just think how easily this would all roll up and fit inside a couple of suitcases…

Maybe Marie Kondo’s method of discarding anything that doesn’t give you joy seems a little hippy-dippy to you, but it’s a great philosophy for when you’re trying to shove a year of your life into three black bags. Depending on how you manage your money and whether or not you’re willing to do private tutoring, there might not be a lot of extra dough for shopping so you could be stuck with whatever you brought. That white t-shirt that doesn’t fit right may seem more practical when you’re packing, but you will wear it less than that red sundress that slays.

This is a great time to get rid of things if you’ve been meaning to go through your wardrobe, downsize and donate what you don’t wear. Did you know that some chains like H&M will give you a discount your next purchase if you bring in a bag full of old clothes and textiles for donation?  It’s possible that not every location will participate in the program, but all you need to do is call and ask before you load up the car.

Check out this article from LifeHacker for more tips on how to clear our your closet and declutter before your big adventure!


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