Need help with FCDO advice, traffic light system or COVID cover? Find out more in our COVID Help Centre

Holiday packing tips to make the most of your baggage allowances

Posted on April 27, 2016 by Kelly Johnstone
Packing a suitcase

Packing is one the most important pre-holiday preparations you’ll undertake: What will I wear? How much sunscreen? Will I need a scarf or a sarong? How you answer these questions could have a significant impact on how much you enjoy your holiday.

To add to the issue, after ticking every item off your holiday packing lists there are few things more frustrating than being told you’re over the baggage allowance.

So what can you do to make the most of your baggage allowance and avoid unnecessary extra costs? Download our handy checklist to keep for later and read on.

Check airline baggage policies before packing

First and foremost, every airline is different, so checking the policy of the company you’re travelling with is a must before you open that first zipper.

You tend to have to pay extra anyway to put a case in the hold, but there is still a weight limit and extra costs for exceeding this at check-in.

Holiday packing lists

Holiday packing lists are a great place to start, whenever you go on a new type of holiday – beach, skiing, cruise or city break for example – keep a record of what you packed in a notebook, cross unused items off after the holiday and reuse the list next time you go away.

Your lists can be as sophisticated or simple as you like, you may want to have packing lists that relate to planned activities, season or length of stay to complement your standard inventory.

Spend a reasonable amount of time thinking about and making your travel packing list and store your notebook with your passport – that way you’ll never misplace it and always have a good place to start your holiday preparations.

Share the weight out

If you’ve got members in your travel party who are incredibly light packers it makes sense to share the weight around to ensure nobody gets caught out by surprise costs at check-in.

As well as the financial benefits, splitting the baggage means that if someone is unfortunate enough to lose a case one of their travel companions will have a few of their clothing items.


Putting hand luggage into an overhead compartment


Invest in lightweight luggage and handheld scales

Investing in quality lightweight luggage will invariably give you a few extra kilograms to play with.

Invest in some handheld luggage scales and ensure you take them with you. Souvenirs, extra clothes or shoes and any extra toiletries you decide to bring back will add weight to your case and the baggage allowance will still be there on your return leg. If you’re a little close to or over the limit, consider wearing some of the heavier items of clothing as it’s likely to be a little chillier when you land anyway.

If you haven’t got scales, use the old fashioned method of getting on some scales while holding your bag then subtracting your own weight from the equation.

Save some room for souvenirs

On the subject of souvenirs – it’s likely you’ll pick up a few during your travels and you’ll need to allow for this when packing your cases in order to get them home. Before you jet-off, make sure there’s a bit of space and a little leeway in terms of weight to make sure you can bring your cherished buys back with you.

Roll clothes and use vacuum compression bags/packing cubes

There’s a lot of toing and froing in relation to the benefit of rolling clothes in order to create more space in your bag. While there’s not likely to be much difference in terms of space used between rolling and folding, rolling your clothes makes sure you don’t arrive at your destination with a pile of ironing to do.

To save space, put your clothes in vacuum compression bags or if you want to separate your items you can invest in packing cubes to organise your case.

Fill the void

If you’ve got weight to spare, use every bit of space in your case to make the most of your baggage allowance – stuff underwear and socks into shoes, use every pocket and place flat items at the top and bottom to ensure a tidy fit.