Airlines are becoming increasingly restrictive about the size of baggage you can carry on and check during a flight. That means travelers must be increasingly efficient with the space inside their suitcases. When items are haphazardly tossed into a suitcase, much of the interior space is wasted. Items that do not fit together well create air pockets and fill up the volume faster. If you follow a few space saving tips you can fit more things in less space.
Before you save space inside your suitcases, you have to know how much room you are working with. On most airlines carry on luggage is limited to one bag no larger than 45 linear inches. Add the length plus the width plus the height of the bag to measure its linear inches. Checked luggage can be no larger than 62 linear inches. Some airlines permit you to check two suitcases without charge. However, an increasing number of airlines are charging extra for a second bag and some even charge extra for your first checked bag. This is a strong argument for space saving in your carry on bag and not checking suitcases at all.
Before you pack anything, lay out everything you think you need to take. Consider what you really need to bring. It is a waste of space to pack something in your suitcase and bring it back home unused. Consider how to get the most use out of the fewest items. Pick outfits that mix and match so garments have multiple uses. Layer clothing so that you are prepared for cold weather but won't need to bring a bulky jacket. Shoes are heavy and take up a lot of room. Take only one extra pair and make them black since that color goes with everything. All toiletries should be travel sizes. Don't take a big bottle when you will only use a small amount. Most hotels provide shampoo, conditioner, lotion, hair dryers and towels. Don't bring these items unless you have special needs.
A lot of space can be saved inside suitcases by rolling up clothing. This squeezes out every last bit of air and has the added benefit of keeping them relatively wrinkle free. Roll up all your socks and underwear and put them inside your shoes or the collars of pressed shirts. Also roll up pants, t-shirts and other items that were not professionally cleaned and pressed. All toiletries should be placed inside two zip locked bags. If anything leaks it won't damage everything in your suitcase.
Your suitcase functions best when the heaviest items are at the bottom. Remember that the bottom is the side facing down when the suitcase is standing up. This is the side with the wheels. Put your shoes on the bottom and fit their tops together facing each other. Leave the dry cleaning plastic on all professional cleaned clothes to reduce wrinkling. Place them sideways inside the suitcase with the bottom half inside the bag and the top half hanging out. Pack rolled up pants and shirts on top being sure to fill all the spaces. Use extra socks and underwear to fill in any other gaps. Fold your dry cleaning over the top. Leave a small space at the top of the bag for your toiletries. This way they will not be under the weight of your other possessions.
Always weigh your suitcases before leaving for the airport. Airlines enforce strict weight limits. Most charge extra if a suitcase weighs more than 50 pounds. Some flights wont even take suitcases over 70 pounds. If you are only taking a carry on bag, be aware that airline security prohibits sharp objects and liquids in the passenger cabin.