Pack it Like a Pro

Tips and tricks for getting the most out of the limited space in your carry-on luggage

They may be small, but nowadays they’re mightier than ever. More and more travellers are opting to ditch traditional suitcases and make their carry-on bags the star of their luggage sets to avoid those pesky checked baggage fees. But learning to travel sans suitcase can be daunting for even the most seasoned traveller. Follow a few simple trips to master the art of packing lightly and make your next trip a more Zen-like experience.

Know Your Limits

Each airline has restrictions on the number, size and weight of carry-on luggage. If you’re caught with a bag that doesn’t measure up, you’ll have to fork over the checked baggage fees. Most carriers, including Air Canada, Porter and WestJet, all allow two bags per person – one a personal item like a purse or laptop bag, and the other a carry-on suite case. The size and weight restrictions do vary, so make sure you check with the airline before heading to the airport to avoid any nasty surprises.

Remember the Restrictions

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has a strict list of what can and can’t come with you in your carry-on, which includes liquids and gels like shampoo, toothpaste and beverages. Containers of liquids must be 100 ml/100 grams (3.4 oz) or less. All containers must fit in one clear, resealable plastic bag no more than one litre in capacity and the bag must be transparent so screening officers can easily see the contents. There are some exemptions, like baby food and prescription medications. For a complete list, visit CATSA’s website. And don’t forget to pack these items somewhere easily accessible, since you’ll be required to take them out when you pass through security.

Be Realistic

You don’t need to try and cram your entire closet into your carry-on bag. Take only what you absolutely need and try to pack clothes that can be combined into multiple outfits. That goes for shoes too! Do you really need five pairs of shoes to go on a two-day trip? Probably not. It’s also a good idea to wear your bulkiest outfit on the plane, saving you precious space in your carry-on. And don’t forget in most cases you can find a way to wash your clothes at your destination – even if it’s in the hotel bathtub!

Get Rolling

If you’re going to be carting around your carry-on for any extended period of time (think delays, transfers, etc.), then it’s a wise idea to make sure your carry-on comes with a set of wheels. Lighter weight bags are also a great idea and mean you can pack more before hitting the airline’s weight limit.

Make the Most of It

Using space saver bags that compress can help make the most of your limited real estate. Look for other nooks and crannies to fill, including the space inside your shoes. They can easily be filled with rolled up socks or other small items. If you have delicate items that crease easily, pack them last, and keep them at the top of the bag. That way you can pull them out as soon as you arrive at your final destination.

Looking for a great carry-on bag? We’ve got you covered, just head to any of our CAA Store locations to check out our fabulous range of options.