July 7th, 2015

Minimalist Travel Style: Packing an Under-the-Seat Bag

Don’t get bogged down at baggage claim. Instead, try these travel tips to pack everything you need in a bag that fits right under your seat! 

Going on vacation? Use your pre-trip time planning out meals and fun excursions, not laboring over what to pack in your massive suitcase. After all, cramming your entire house into your suitcase just makes getting through security and baggage claim a hassle. Instead, save precious minutes and your sanity by packing everything you need in an under-the-seat bag (thus also avoiding the battle for overhead bin space) so you can get off the plane and onto the adventure faster. Here’s how to do it:

1.    Pick the Right Bag.

The first step to minimalist packing is making sure your bag will actually fit under your seat. Unfortunately, not all airplane seats are created equal: Each airline has different seat dimensions, and that includes the space underneath. So, before you start packing, visit the airline’s website to find out what those dimensions are, and measure your bag to be sure it fits.

2.    Roll Your Clothes.

Folding is for amateurs. To save serious space in your bag, roll your clothes — including everything from tops to jeans, and even socks and underwear — tightly and pile them on top of each other. This includes everything from tops, jeans, socks, and even underwear. Check out Eagle Creek’s Compression Cubes and Sacs. The bonus: It’ll also help prevent your clothes from wrinkling. This will create noticeably more space in your bag, but be sure not to pack more in the process — you’ll need that extra room for potential vacation purchases!

3.    Think Beyond Single Use.

When it comes to planning your wardrobe for your trip, make it a point to pick basic pieces that you can mix and match. You’ll be able to wear the same things twice without repeating complete outfits. As long as you’re not going on an extreme, active vacation (in which case your clothes will probably need to be washed after one wear), reusing clothes will seriously reduce your suitcase clutter.

4.    Whittle Down Your Technology.

Here comes the tricky part: If you’re interested in minimalist packing, you’re going to have to be selective with the technology you bring on your trip. While it may be nice to have your laptop, iPad, and Kindle with you, all of those devices (plus accessories like chargers and cases) will only weigh you down. Instead, choose your most lightweight and multi-functional electronic (think: one that allows you to read, play games, and browse the Internet). Just make sure to put it in a protective sleeve; duffel bags tend to offer less protection than a standard suitcase.

5.   Leave Things Behind (If You Can).

Ideally, you’ll leave some extra space in your bag when you pack in anticipation of acquiring souvenirs. But understandably, that’s not always possible. It’s not a lost cause, though. Think strategically about things you can use on your trip and get rid of when you head home. For toiletries, pack half-full items like toothpaste and face wash and get rid of the empties once you’re done with them.

Do you have an efficient packing tip you live by? Share it in the comments below!

Colleen Travers writes about health, fitness, travel, and women’s lifestyle for various publications.

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by Colleen Travers

Colleen Travers writes about health, fitness, travel, and women’s lifestyle for various publications.

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