How to Pack Light for a Weekend Trip and Avoid Carryon Baggage Fees

How to Pack Light for a Weekend Trip and Avoid Carryon Baggage Fees

With today’s changes in luggage requirements for airlines—now having to pay additional charges to take a suitcase instead of a carry-on, I’m finding that it’s more important to pack light from the beginning just to save extra expenses. Some domestic airlines are charging up to $50 for checked bags, which makes the low cost of the ticket more expensive than others in the long-run.

Even a weekend trip can go up an extra $50-$100 just because you want to bring your favorite bottle of perfume with you that doesn’t meet the size requirement for liquids in a carryon. At that point, it’s probably cheaper to get a different perfume or go without it, just to save on costs for a checked bag (something I rarely think about and just spend the extra money for the checked luggage).

A good example of this was my friend who just took a three day trip to Los Angeles. She found a cheaper flight but didn’t realize until she got to the airport that she would have to pay more to check her bag, which was JUST over the size requirement for carry-on. Since she was traveling on a budget, she had to pay the extra $100, which cut into how much she could spend while she was in the city. While she tried to be positive about it, it was easy to tell she was upset.

I’m no different—No matter how many trips I take, I always find that I overpack and end up never using half of the items I bring with me. I like to think that I’m a cautious packer, trying to cover all my bases in case something comes up and I need to dress up for a night out or dress down for the last minute trek or camping adventure. When it comes down to it though, I usually never need most of what I end up taking with me.

The best advice I ever got for packing was from my mother:

Pack everything you think you need.

Cut it in half.

Cut it in half again.

Somehow, my mother manages to pack just the right amount of everything, while I still end up overpacking. For this trip, I’ve decided just to bring the basic essentials, and anything that I need later I can just buy while I’m there (if I REALLY need it—only once have I ever had a special occasion where I needed high heels and had to buy them while I was traveling—every other time I’ve traveled, I’ve been able to make due with whatever I bring with me).

Another thing to think about when packing for a weekend trip: If you’re going to visit friends, and you KNOW you’ll need something that won’t fit in a carryon, think about shipping it a couple of weeks earlier instead—you can always ship it back later if you need to, and it might end up being much cheaper than the alternative of paying for a checked bag later.

If you’re traveling on a budget, it’s worth thinking about how you can save on upfront expenses, just to have more money to enjoy yourself with later without going over budget.

Organized Packing: What Works and What Doesn’t

This week I have packing on my mind: I just found out I’ve got to take an unplanned work trip for two weeks, and when booking the tickets, I had to pay extra just to get my bags checked on the flight. I’ve been trying to make packing lists to keep my luggage as LIGHT as possible since I don’t want the hassle of carrying it around everywhere with me while I go to a few different cities.

I got to thinking about how I’m going to organize everything—and what has worked for me in the past, and what I never ended up using. I don’t even want to tell you how many times I buy new packing cubes in cute, bright colors, only to have them lost somewhere in my apartment and no idea where they are when it comes time to travel.

After all, the domestic and international trips that I’ve taken though, here are a few things that I definitely can’t live without:

Sea to Summit Travel Bag

This toiletry kit has been a lifesaver for me when it comes to staying in hotels with small bathrooms, or even in hostels where I’m sharing a shower—the bag can hook up to towel racks so that you don’t have your stuff falling all over the place, and has enough pockets and zippers to keep everything separated. I highly recommend this for staying organized!

Packing Cubes

You can get these just about anywhere, but they make a world of difference for me—and not when it comes to packing clothing! I actually use these to keep all of my electronics, chargers, and adapters put away in the same place, where I can easily access them as needed. One of my biggest pet peeves is packing a charger in a zipper pocket or in the bottom of my bag, and having to pull everything out to try and find it. These work great to keep everything where it needs to go.  

Mesh Bags

I also love packing mesh bags for dirty laundry, that way I can keep it from mixing with my clean clothes. They make it easy to sort everything and take it to the laundromat while I’m traveling—and I’ve also got a set of bags that are water-resistant to keep dirty, smelly clothes from mixing with my clean clothes in my bag.


Amy Nguyen

Amy Nguyen

I feel happy to share my experiences with you about Travel - Food - Life around the world. I hope to inspire you to Live-Love- Laugh :)



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