How to pack your carry on for budget airlines?

Our summer holiday this year was devoted to exploring three of the most exciting cities in Italy – Milan, Bologna, and Venice. There are plenty of blog posts coming your way pretty soon, so make sure you follow me on my social medias so that you won’t miss anything interesting. In the mean time you can check my Milan Travel Guide and some of the outfits that I wore during our holiday.

But today’s post will be about some of my travel tips and tricks especially when you are traveling with a budget airline. I know that these low-cost airlines have become a real hit in recent years and we discovered the pros of traveling with them on our own as well. Last December we went to Athens just before Christmas for only 60 euros for a round trip for two people – now that’s what I call a bargain!

Of course, traveling with a low-cost airline can have its cons as well and I believe that one of its biggest disadvantages are the strict requirements that you have to comply with when it comes to the one-hand-luggage rule. It can become pretty annoying when it’s time to pack and you want to take all those beautiful summer dresses that you think would look perfect with the blue-and-white Santorini background but still they won’t fit in your 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm hand luggage (RyanAir standard for a big piece of cabin luggage). So, here are some of my tips and tricks of how to maximize the space in your bag when you travel with a budget airline.

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1. Check the weather forecast

No matter how long will your travel be, always check the weather forecast of your destination in advance! This may sound somehow self-evident, however I believe that before you start packing you should be aware of how warm/cool it is expected to be in order to be able to choose the clothing items that would be appropriate for every weather condition. You should also not forget to check the temperatures in the evenings, as well, since there are places that can get quite chilly in the evenings even though it has been hot during the day. So, don’t forget to pack a jacket/blazer/or at least a shirt and I promise you, you won’t regret it when you get chilly during those long summer evenings.

2. Plan your outfits

This tip is actually connected with the previous one. Once I know what weather I can expect during my holiday, I lay the clothes on the bed outfit by outfit, including shoes and accessories, and then I will try the outfit on and take a snap on my phone. Then, while I am away I can just scroll through the pictures and decide what outfit I would want to wear each day. It’s sound a bit crazy but in that way I don’t end up packing a lot of extra items that I would not need and it also takes off some of the stress – you don’t really have to decide too much while you are on a holiday. In addition, I tend to mix-and-match my clothes so I would pack some versatile tops that would go equally well with all my bottoms. Along the lines of mixing-and-matching, it is a really good idea if all of your outfits are along a similar color palette because that would really help you make diverse combinations. I usually wear the bulkiest items as my travel outfit – thus, they won’t take the valuable space off my case. Such bulky items can be wedge shoes, a hat, a jacket, a pair of jeans, etc.

3. Roll your clothes

I’ve only recently discovered that if I roll my clothes in the suitcase, I will save a lot of valuable space. So, I start by folding them and then roll them really tightly – I find that by doing this I can actually fit about 1/3 or more items in my case. Also, make sure that every bit of space is fully utilized by putting some of your items in, for example, your handbags. You can read a very interesting experiment with five methods of packing your suitcase here.

4. Check the airline’s carry-on restrictions

There is no standard carry-on size for all airlines so you should make sure that you have checked your airline’s restrictions! For example, the two low-cost airlines that have regular flights to and from Bulgaria have quite different restrictions when it comes to the dimensions of your suitcase and consequently I have had quite a different experience with each of the companies. RyanAir allows you to carry one bag which must not exceed 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size and 10kg in weight and one small bag e.g. handbag, laptop bag etc. must not exceed 35cm x 20cm x 20cm and should easily fit under the seat in front of you. (You can also check RyanAir’s FAQ for more useful information here) Wizz Air, on the other hand, allows you to carry only one bag which must not exceed 42cm x 32cm x 25cm. However, this is about to change pretty soon and you would be able to carry one bag (55cm x 40cm x 23cm) + one more small bag (40 cm x cm x 18cm) but only with a combination of Wizz Priority. (You can read all about it here).

5. Condense your liquids

Bear in mind that there is an universal flight restriction concerning your liquids! You are allowed to bring a clear, plastic, zip-top bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 100 milliliters or less per item and the total ml must not exceed 1l!

So it would be extremely useful if you keep all of your liquids in one place. When it comes to liquids, I am a big fan of travel size minis and sachets which can serve as substitutes for all the things I use on a regular basis (they can be extremely convenient for some bulky things like shampoo and conditioner). I collect them and store them in a small box in my drawer. Then, when I have to be away, I just pick my favorite ones and take them with me. In addition, for any cosmetics that are too big (like night creams, moisturizers, etc) I use small pots and bottles in which I put a small amount of the cream that I would need during my holiday. Finally, I would recommend that you leave the bag with your liquids at a very accessible place because you are going to have to open up your bag and take it out when you go through security.

I hope that you have enjoyed my top five tips when flying with a low-cost airline. Do you have any other tips and tricks that can become handy in such situations? Do you enjoy traveling with a budget airline? Tell me in the comments section – I would love to hear from you!

See you soon!



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