Travel Tips

5 Packing Tips for Budget Airline Survival

My trip is around the corner (Yay!!!) so this is a great time to review packing tips. Effective packing is necessary with all the new airline rules especially on budget airlines. Now let’s get packing!

TIP 1: Use a Backpack

Whenever I tell people that I’m carrying a backpack instead of a suitcase there’s always a combination of shock, fear and disbelief written on their face ? This is no back to school JanSport backpack ? LOL I would never survive. Travelers backpacks are designed for the road and help keep things organized. Another huge plus is being able to take your backpack as a carry-on not risking the airline losing your luggage. I did quite a bit of research before choosing my first one for last years adventures and it was worth every penny! There are a few things to consider when choosing the right backpack for you:

  • Size. Check your airline rules to make sure that it meets the requirements for dimensions and weight once filled. It’s always a good idea to not go too large so that you won’t overfill your backpack. Additionally, the size you choose depends on how long you will be traveling. There are nice compact ones for a short trip and full sized ones for the serious wanderer.
  • Front loading VS Top loading. Many backpacks out there are top loading meaning you pack everything vertically to the bottom and work your way up. This is ideal if you are carrying a small load and will be able to see things right away. In my opinion, it was rather uncomfortable to unpack the whole backpack anytime something I needed sunk down to the bottom, it’s similar to a filling a laundry bag. Front loading backpacks are similar to a suitcase, the front panel opens like a door. This is ideal because you can see everything right away which keeps it organized. It may also have luggage straps inside to keep everything where it belongs.
  • Separate Compartments. Having a separate area for your electronics and your clothes makes it a lot easier to move through airport security and to find your stuff. There should be lots of different pockets throughout your luggage to store cosmetics, essential documents and snacks

I wanted something that I could use for long term travel with ease. I chose the Outbreaker Exploration Bundle Backpack 35L+Daypack from The main backpack is front loading, is the perfect size, and has lots of pockets. It has thick soft padding so it feels super comfortable on my back, even the hip belt has more pockets and provides additional support.

I even love the daypack that came with the bundle. It can be folded flat into the main backpack to use when you get to your destination. Its ideal for activites while exploring the city and its waterproof so you dont have to worry about ruining your stuff. There are several different options on

Tip 2: Packing Cubes

Another plus to having a front loading backpack is that its perfect for my second favorite travel item, packing cubes! They are a lifesaver, if you aren’t using them already I suggest that you add it to your list soon. Packing cubes are inexpensive, lightweight, come in many different designs and most of all, keep everything organized. They come in packs of different sized cubes so each cube can be for a different category item. When you open up your backpack or any other type of luggage you can see everything right away without having to dig around. I’ve also just discovered compression packing cubes, I fit a whole winter coat into one of those cubes with no problem. I’m totally hooked! Don’t forget to roll your clothes in the cubes and even if you aren’t using packing cubes, rolling saves space and keeps your clothes neat.

Tip 3: Create a Packing List

Now you know which type of carry-on you need and how to pack it but not so fast! Nothing can be done without a packing list ?. A packing list will ensure you have the essentials and will give you a visual of exactly how many items you are carrying. I have a good friend that makes my packing lists for most of my trips hehe. It really works well if you keep a packing list on your phone, that way over time you can add and subtract what you really need and it will become a master packing list. You will find that you can travel with the minimum of certain things and can restock at your destination. In the future I will create a sample packing list blog but there are many websites that will provide free sample packing lists.

Tip 4: Travel Size Containers

The TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule means that you are allowed to bring one quart sized bag of liquids that are 3.4 oz (100 milliliters) or less per item through the security checkpoint. My suggestion is to check out your nearest dollar store, you are sure to find sets of empty containers meeting the 3.4 oz allowance. If you are short on time and have Prime Membership with Amazon you can get these inexpensive travel size containers delivered to you same day. The containers are perfect for filling them with your perfume, cosmetics and hair products, at least until you can buy more at your destination.

Tip 5: Layer up!

Your baggage will be weighed even if its just a carry-on. Don’t waste space or having to pay for overweight luggage with bulky items that you can wear instead of packing. Try to wear your heaviest items on the plane especially during the winter months. Think boots, sweaters, bulky jackets and thick scarves. Having lots of pockets helps too, sometimes you might need to take out a few bulky items that can fit into your pockets like a battery pack, digital camera, sunglasses, on ear headphones, wallet, cellphone, etc.

Bonus Tips

  • Put dryer sheets throughout your baggage, it keeps bed bugs away and keeps your clothes smelling fresh!
  • It’s usually cheaper to purchase extra baggage on your airline website instead of at the counter-just in case you need it.
  • Bring your own cooked food and snacks instead of splurging on mediocre airline food.
  • Check the rules at your local airport and airline for all above suggestions as guidelines are always changing!

Happy Travels!

2 thoughts on “5 Packing Tips for Budget Airline Survival

  1. Hello Jackie!
    Thanks so much for these pointers! I for one hate to travel with luggage and a fellow backpacker, but I didn’t know of the little tid bits- i.e dryer sheets. Learn something new every day… :))

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