As WestJetters, we travel a lot. And we’ve learned a few things along the way about how to pack more efficiently and prepare for the unexpected. First and foremost, please make sure you’re familiar with the allowances for checked and carry-on baggage – it will make things smoother. Here are a few more tips that we hope will help make things easier and get you on your way.
Expect the unexpected.
Overhead bin space is limited, so please keep that in mind if you’re bringing a carry-on. There is occasionally a chance we may need to send an optimistically packed carry-on into checked baggage. Be prepared by packing important necessities in your personal item. Medication, for instance. Keys. Passport. Cell phone and charger. Toothbrush. Deodorant. You get the idea.
Start smart with a packing list.
“I don’t have time to make a packing list,” you say? Well, you certainly don’t want to make time during your trip to go buy black socks. For $23. Take ten minutes, and make a list on your phone. You won’t regret it—and you can save it and adapt it for future trips.
Stay smart with the right bag.
First, regardless of if you’re planning to check your bag or bring it as carry-on, make sure your bag doesn’t exceed the size allowances. Next, find a bag that’s the optimal combination of strong and light. Light is critical, as you don’t want most of the weight allowance to be taken up by your suitcase.
Blue? It’s the new black. And so is black.
Pick a colour scheme for your trip, and pick the skirt(s), pants and tops according to that palette. A few smartly chosen items mean you can mix and match for a lot of great looks. And you can always accessorize with different little items—we hear bandanas are making a comeback.
This is how we roll.
An informal survey of WestJetters shows that most of us firmly believe in rolling, as opposed to bundling, folding or getting the kids to stand on the suitcase while you try to zip it shut. Tightly rolling clothing items makes them more compact, meaning you can pack more items more efficiently.
Shoes should go in feet first.
All the heavy stuff—shoes, boots and toiletries, can go in first. Then you can fill the space around them with smaller items like underwear or all those bandanas.
Speaking of shoes, yours look like little suitcases.
Not while you’re wearing them, of course—they look awesome then. But think about it: you fit your size elevens (or fives) into your shoes, so you should be able to fit a few small items into them. Socks come to mind. Underwear too.
A place for everything, and everything in its place.
Make compartments within your bag. You can use tote bags to achieve this, or Ziploc-type bags if you prefer. This will help keep everything organized, especially the little things: chargers, batteries, iPods, etc.
You’re leaving home, so leave home there.
Most comforts of home belong there—at home. If you’re going on a trip, it’s often a good idea to leave a few of your “necessities” behind. For example, many hotel rooms are equipped with clothes irons, so you can probably leave yours at home. Ditto the stack of books.
Travel items actually will help you travel well.
There are a host of specialized travel products. Solid laundry soap, for instance. We didn’t even know that was a thing. Now we do, and we pack it every time we go. Yep, that’s us – leaving the airport first.
Avoid little surprises.
Wrap your toiletries in sealed airtight bags, or go a step further and put a layer of plastic wrap under the caps to keep your shampoos, mouthwashes, or body wash from flooding the inside of your bag. Don’t forget, if you’re packing a carry-on bag, the security screening process regulates the size and packaging of all liquids, gels and aerosols.
Take a last look—then take something out.
Do you really need to bring four belts? Extra shoe trees? Bowling trophy? (No, no and no.) Until you’ve reached the most exalted rank of Packing Ninja, you’ll almost always find something you can take out of your bag, making your trip just a little bit easier.
You’re meant to fly, but some things aren’t.
For security reasons, and also for practical reasons, there are some items you should never pack in your checked bags. You know, restricted items like your leaf blower, road flares and pyrotechnic devices. Anything that you can’t do without—like your medication and passport—should go in your personal item.
Make your own statement.
By creating a unique visual marker on the outside of your checked bag, you can avoid confusion and save a bit of time at the baggage carousel. We think this is yet another great use for duct tape, but embroidery or silk-screened selfies will do the trick as well.
We hope this helps you on your way to travelling smarter and more enjoyably. If you’d like to do more research, there are many online resources that will explain in great detail how you can “Pack 7 to 27 Days Worth of Fun Into One Bag”. Rather than play favourites, we’ll suggest “how to pack smarter” as your search term, and let you decide which advice best suits your needs.