By Rhythm Sachdeva
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TORONTO (CTV Network) – With record delays and lost baggage claims plaguing Canadian airports, some travelers may be hoping to lighten their loads and ditch checked bags in favor of carry-ons.
However, for those who aren’t naturally light packers, switching to a lightweight pack can be a difficult transition. CTVNews.ca spoke with travel expert Jennifer Weatherhead, who says she hasn’t checked a bag at an airport in 12 years, for her tips on how to pack less for your vacation and still be prepared for anything . KNOW YOUR FLIGHT’S BAGGAGE RULES
The rules for hand luggage are not universal and depending on the flight you take, you may be asked to check your bag if you do not meet the airline’s rules. For example, Air Canada allows passengers to carry hand luggage along with a ‘personal item’ which can include a backpack, a garment bag, a purse or a shopping bag. Most airlines have measurement requirements that both bags must meet. Some airlines, such as Flair, require passengers to pay to carry on hand luggage, while a smaller personal item that can fit under a seat is free. LEAVE THE FLIGHT ASAP
Travelers should try to buy tickets in sections of the plane closer to the front if they want to get their luggage in faster, according to Weatherhead, although these can be more expensive. Due to limited luggage space, there have been an increasing number of cases where passengers have been asked to check their bags. According to Weatherhead, the easiest approach to prevent this is to board the plane earlier. YOU DON’T NEED AS MANY SHOES AS YOU THINK
Weatherhead says the number one item passengers always overload in their luggage is shoes. Along with excess toiletries and extra clothes that travelers will never wear.
“(Shoes) don’t fit well in your suitcase and you can’t wrap things around them … so if you’re going to pack an extra pair, make sure it’s absolutely worth it,” she says.
Weatherhead recommends planning each day of your trip to make sure you’re not packing clothing or products you don’t need. It’s also helpful, she says, to pack a backpack and see if you can fit everything in there before moving on to your suitcase. ‘BLESS’ YOUR ITEMS BEFORE PACKING
Increasingly, the most sensible route to packing seems to be sectioning or ‘cubing’ your items, says Weatherhead. This could mean rolling up and adding your clothes to a small cloth bag before placing them in your suitcase, or adding all your essentials to re-sealable bags before adding them to your bag of the back. The idea is that this will “compress” all your items and take up less space, according to Weatherhead, and lead to a more compact packing system. CHECK IF YOU WILL HAVE LAUNDRY SERVICE DURING YOUR TRIP
Many Airbnbs have washers and dryers in the house, and many hotels offer or are often close to laundry services. Weatherhead recommends packing clothes that can be easily washed and reused, and keeping heavy, fancy clothing to a minimum. Choose breathable fabrics that will dry faster than cotton and take up less room in your suitcase, she says. TURN OFF YOUR EVERYDAY PRODUCTS TO BE MORE COMPACT
Toiletries always end up taking up a lot of space in your bag, and very often, oversized bottles aren’t really necessary for any trip shorter than two weeks, says Weatherhead. Not to mention, most flights don’t allow items that weigh 3.4 ounces or more.
Weatherhead recommends going through the toiletries and removing the ones you don’t use every day, along with the makeup products, and making sure they can all fit into a single vanity bag.
“I think that once you go in, you can’t go back. You’ll just feel a lot better if you have all your stuff with you,” she says.
“And the more you try, the better you get at it.”
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