Updated July 16, 2020
I was speaking with one of my clients not too long ago about the differences in price for her flights if she traveled by only a bookbag, bag in the overhead bin, and checking a bag in to go underneath the plane. She was quite shocked at how much she could save if she only took a bookbag. We are talking about saving hundreds of dollars or more! Now, like many other people she questioned if she could make everything fit in a bookbag because she felt as if she needed to take bigger luggage to ensure everything fits.
Most airlines consider a bookbag to be my personal bag and DO NOT CHARGE, so I pay NOTHING for baggage when I travel with only a bookbag. There are ways you can "cut corners" to help keep the cost down when wanting to travel on a budget. Companies have started making bookbags that are designed like suitcases which can be any traveler's best friend. (The bookbag my sister bought me and that I absolutely love is listed below.)
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When people start to think about what to pack before flying, something most people start to worry about besides packing everything is how much the bag will weigh when checking in. People dread this because they know this can result in either paying more for the luggage or figuring out how to get the bag to the weight of the airline company requires. Baggage at the gate can cost anywhere from $18 to over $200 depending on the airline company. So by taking a bookbag, you never have to worry about this extra "fee" on top of the fee.
Are you still freaking out about the thought of making everything fit into a bookbag? I am here to tell you, that you can fly with only a book bag and have an array of outfits to choose from. (If you do need more room, this method can be applied for larger suitcases to fit even more clothes into that luggage.) Learning how to pack your clothes to maximum every single space in your luggage is important when wanting to use only a bookbag.
The Art of Rolling is learning how to "fold" your clothes when needing to travel via plane to fit every piece of clothing you can. Now, if you are telling yourself you need all 16 outfits for the two nights you are staying somewhere, then you will have to learn to eliminate some outfits first. And this is one step I have to remind myself often when packing. What helps me is asking myself "Do I really need this?" Usually, I answer with "this would be cool to have just in case, but Sara gets real, you don't need it."
Now, after eliminating some of those outfits you will never wear, let's switch focuses on how you pack those items. The art of rolling is not complex to learn but can take some time to master and find your own grove. The whole idea of rolling your clothes is to eliminate extra space in your bookbag/luggage. Basically, your clothes should not be able to breathe when in your suitcase.
For me, I start with the thickest clothing items first because they take more room. And most of the time, these are the items I have to have like bathing suits, pants, etc. I leave the thinnest items for last because these act like my "plugin" items to go around my thick items. Keep on reading as I break it down even more you. This is my preference and if you rather start with thickest first, go right ahead. Just make it work for you.
To best explain this method, I have written an example from one of my trips.
When I went to California in January of 2018, I only packed a bookbag worth of clothes and items I needed. (To this day, I am super proud of how well I packed on this trip.) Since I was going somewhere that had warm days and chilly nights, I needed to pack smart for this trip. So, leggings it was! I pulled all my leggings out that I wanted to pack and laid the pile on top of my bed.