Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tips to maximize your carry-on capacity

On Sunday, I watched a piece on the local news talking about American Airlines' $15 fee for the first checked bag going into effect. The segment offered suggestions on how to pack lightly and maximize your carry-on capacity, so as to avoid checking any bags.

Among their tips was a recommendation to utilize "the space in your shoes." I eventually figured out that they meant to put items in your empty shoes that you pack into your bag, not to stick stuff into the shoes you're actually wearing. However, my initial misunderstanding got me thinking about various other ways to carry on as much as possible.

Pants Pockets. This one is obvious. Besides, your wallet, keys and iPod, think what else you can fit into your pants pockets: several pairs of underwear (clean on the outbound flight, dirty on the return), your TSA-approved 1-quart Ziploc bag of toiletries, even a hair dryer (you can holster it in your pocket and pretend you're an air marshal).

Under Your Hat. Depending on the size of the hat you're wearing, you can probably fit some extra socks or a T-shirt or two underneath. Even if all you're wearing is a yarmulke, you can still hide some emergency cash or stash a pair of nail clippers.

Layering. Wear all of the clothes you're bringing with you at once. This not only frees up extra space in your carry-on bag, but will also help keep you warm in the plane's frigid AC when they run out of blankets after giving them out to the first three rows. This same strategy is also useful for scuba divers like me. Rather than be forced to check a bag with all our dive gear, we can just board the plane wearing our wetsuits and buoyancy control vests.

Underclothes. Your pockets aren't the only space within your pants where you can stash some extra belongings. You can pack half your luggage under your blouse and look no different than your large cabin mate who's taking up one and a half seats. Or you can fit a pair or two of socks in your underwear (men, think of the extra female attention).

Body Cavities. I'll leave it mostly up to your imagination, but this extra space could help you sneak on that 3.5-ounce bottle of contact lens solution that's a half-ounce over the TSA-allowed size.

So don't despair! The airlines may be making your travel more inconvenient, but with a little creativity and imagination, you can avoid that $15 fee. What other ideas can you think of?

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Blogger usamctwo said...

Hubby had to travel overnight to Greece for business. Packed his carry-on which he has not used for a while. He had his hair gel confiscated today by airport security. I know he had less than minimum airport requirement, but they took it anyway. And he was pissed off. And to think I almost asked early this AM if you were allowed to take a razor on the plane. Maybe that would have prompted him to think about the size of his hair gel...too late now.

June 17, 2008 at 1:47 PM  

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