I’m tired of draping my coat over my expandable 25-inch suitcase in an attempt to hide it from airline employees. Yes, I am that person. My bag exists on the fringe of airline carry-on size limits. But I have a plan to change. I’m going to ditch my large luggage and travel the world with a tiny 18-inch spinner with which I can zip past even the most fastidious gate agent.[st_content_ad]
How? With space bags, also known as compression bags. I’ve used them before. But over the past few years, I had forgotten about the handy little wonders and switched back to the sit-on-the-suitcase method for successful packing.
It is time to use space bags once again as airlines continue to reduce their carry-on size limits, basically rendering my 25-inch spinner too big to bring on some planes. (You can check your airline’s size requirements with our Ultimate Guide to Airlines Fees.) I tend to pack a generous amount of clothes, but I hate checking bags almost as much as I hate sitting in front of the nine-year-old who thinks my seat is a soccer ball. Space bags are the solution to my problem.
[st_related]The Best Carry-on Bags of 2017 [/st_related]
First, a caveat: Space bags allow you to fit an amazing quantity of clothes into a suitcase, thereby making your bag kettlebell-heavy. Watch out for airline weight limits, and buy a portable luggage scale if you want to be safe. That said, space bags are the number-one way to fit more clothes than you ever thought possible into a suitcase.
Here’s how they work: You place your clothes in the bag, then you suck the air out. Methods for air removal vary by type of space bag: Some bags require a vacuum, while others work by rolling and pushing down on the bag to release the air. The latter is best for travel, obviously.
[st_related]10 Reasons You’re Packing Too Much (Video) [/st_related]
Once the air is removed from the bag, your clothes will be compacted into a tiny, hard lump. Sure, they may get wrinkled. So pack a travel-size Downy Wrinkle Releaser and no problemo.
I like the Eagle Creek Compression Sac Set. You remove the excess air from this bag by rolling, so you don’t need to find a vacuum. Other options are this Samsonite Luggage Kit, which includes 12 bags, and these Ziploc-brand space bags.
Have you used space bags when traveling?
More from SmarterTravel:
- The Ultimate Packing List
- 10 Packing Mistakes You’ll Definitely Regret
- 9 Packing Tips for Lazy People
[amazon_native_ad tracking_id=”smartrav-20″ search=”space bags”]
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2015. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.