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Tuck and roll to maximize space in carry-on bags

Posted November 19, 2018 3:17 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2018 5:24 p.m. EST

Since baggage fees can add $30 to $50 to an airline ticket, more and more travelers are going with just a carry-on.

If you roll through the airport with multiple bags or one really big one, it may be time to maximize space and learn to pack efficiently.

"The number one thing you need to do is make a list of your essentials," said Consumer Reports Travel Editor Octavio Blanco.

Include everything: clothing, shoes, toiletries, medication, electronics and documents you need, such as passports.

Next, forget having an outfit for each day. Instead, mix and match.

A good rule of thumb, according to packing experts, is to choose three tops for every neutral bottom. And, stick with just three pairs of shoes.

Pack shoes toe to heel on the bottom of your luggage. And, roll clothes instead of folding them. Using compression bags can help.

Tucking some of your clothing items can also optimize space. Tuck socks and undergarments in shoes. Tuck accessories like scarves and belts along the edges of your luggage.

In order to prevent wrinkles, lay bagged wrinkle-prone items flat on the top.

The outside pockets are also useful for holding items like itineraries and computers.

Lastly, wear your bulkiest clothing on the flight.

Paring down lightens the load and the stress.

Follow these steps, and you might have room for souvenirs.

When you're all packed, make sure you can lift the luggage so that you can get it into the overhead bin without injuring anyone.

And, check with your airline to see what size carry-on they allow. These days one size does not fit all, and many airlines are strict with their rules.