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The ultimate bag packing tips for travel

Planning on taking a trip abroad for a week or two? There is nothing worse than over packing and not having room for all the things you want.

Here are a few travel packing hacks I picked up while travelling to get the most out of your limited carry-on space.

The bag.

The bag you choose is very important in order to maximize your space. If you get a bag that’s awkward and bulky it can be a pain to carry around and may not be using the carry-on allowance to your advantage. When you are buying a bag look for one that is within the carry-on restrictions. As so many people are now opting to take carry on luggage most small luggage cases are within the size restrictions but just double-check before you buy

luggage bags


Two wheels or four wheels.

I have read a lot of people discuss the benefits of two wheels over four wheels etc. If you choose a bag with two wheels it supposedly has more space. However, I think what is more important in a bag is one that has a good deal of pockets or sections to keep your things organized. You see other bags that have a hard shell on the outside? While this will keep your things safe inside I feel there is less of a need for this with a carry on as you will have your bag with you at all times and won’t be thrown around as much as if you were to check it in. The hard shell cases can also add weight to your bag. River Island currently has some really stylish carry-on bags with lots of pockets to put your things away.

Travel bag.

I cannot recommend these enough, by purchasing these bags and putting your clothes in them it keeps your stuff organized and saves so much space. The prices of these vary but you don’t need to get expensive ones. I bought a three pack at Ikea for 7 euros and they are fit for purpose and have lasted quite a number of trips.



The dreaded liquids bag, you know the one where you have to put all your liquids into a tiny clear plastic bag and hope that everything will squeeze in. Before you get to the airport organise your things in advance.

Zipped clear Bags

You can get lovely clear zipped bags that meet regulation and are much neater if you need to take things in and out of. They are currently on sale in Dunnes for 6 euro, which also give you clear bottles to put things into. Penny’s/Primark are also selling them for 3.50 euro with face wipes. I find even though they are supposed to be the same size as the plastic bags you get at the airport, there seems to be more wiggle room in them and much sturdier so less likely to fall apart at check-in.



Many makeup companies also give free samples of their product. When you’re next buying a makeup product ask the server if they have any free samples. Keep them then until you are traveling which will save you the hassle of trying to bring a full-size product away on holidays. Benefit Cosmetics is especially good at travel sizes. Another handy tip, if you are going for a night away in a hotel somewhere keep the little bottles of shampoo as you may need them when going on holidays abroad especially if you are in self-catering.


A handy trick I picked up was to put your jewellery in a zip lock bag. If you leave the ends sticking out of the bag and zip lock the bag around the jewellery, this stops your necklaces from getting tangled.


54321 Rule

I am the worst in the world for over packing I always bring too many clothes and then regret it when I’m lugging a heavy bag to and from holidays. I have since tried to cut down using the 54321 rule which is 5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 dresses 2 pairs of shoes and one swimsuit. I try my best to co-ordinate the clothes I am bringing so I can mix and match. While I might sneak in an extra top, I do my best to stick to it and as a result, I bring clothes I actually end up wearing as opposed to bringing a whole pile of clothes I don’t need.


Hand bag.

Before when I was travelling I always brought a big handbag as most airlines allow you to carry a handbag as well as a carry-on, I felt it was a sneaky way to carry more stuff. This is all well and good if you are not travelling far to and from the airport but what usually happened was I would get tired of carrying it around and eventually my arm and shoulder would ache from trying to carry it through the airport. I now bring a small shoulder bag, which will just carry the essentials (phone, keys, wallet passport etc). I now carry my liquids in my hand until I get through the security check and then put it in the front pocket of my bag (this is where all the sections in your luggage become handy). It makes travelling so much easier as you only have to worry about hauling one luggage bag instead of two. If I’m going on longer flights where I feel I might need more stuff on the plane within easy reach I bring this small backpack. I can put it on my back so it’s not in the way and it also has a handy zip at the back to put important things so it’s harder to get stolen. It also converts into a handbag if I want to use it this way while on holidays. I also saw this tiny bag that converts into a backpack which would be excellent to throw into your luggage bag should you buy a few things abroad and want to bring them home. This is currently on sale in Paperchace.

Any handbag you are bringing for holidays in general, I suggest getting one with zips for safety or ones where there is a zipped pocket facing inwards.


Packing shoes.

Shoes can be awkward to pack as they take up space and it’s hard to separate them from your clean clothes. I wrap my shoes in a shower caps I get in hotels so the soles of them don’t dirty the bag, I also put socks into my shoes so I am using as much space as possible.

Other things I bring in the bag

 Dryer sheet – keeps clothes smelling fresh in your bag for your trip home.

Zip lock bags – In case I need to put dirty or wet clothes in

Portable charger – always handy if you run out of battery if you are using your phone as a camera

Face wipes – can also double up as regular wipes if you need to clean something in a jam.

Don’t bring everything and the kitchen sink.

The majority of places you go on holidays now you will be able to buy whatever you need. Try not to bring everything with you. Always go with this rule: Stick to your one suitcase and if it doesn’t fit you can’t bring it

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