Most airline carriers restrict passengers to 50 pounds per checked bag (on international flights your first checked bag is free). When traveling abroad for the first time, many students think that the bigger the bag the better the packing. This simply isn’t true! Many of the really large suitcases will weigh well over your 50 pound limit once you fill them.
Even when you select a smaller bag (I recommend 24-27 inches), keeping it under 50 pounds is challenging. Here are some suggestions if you are having trouble getting your bag to 50 pounds:
- Ditch some toiletries! Common items can be purchased abroad and most are relatively inexpensive (items like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hairspray, razors etc.).
- Pack heavier items, like tennis shoes and jeans, in your wheeled carry on.
- Buy blow dryers and hair straighteners when you arrive. You can also save money if you split the cost of these items with roommates.
- Wear you coat/rain coat on the plane rather than packing it (and bonus it doubles as a blanket on a cold flight).
- Download Kindle editions instead of lugging a bunch of heavy travel guides and books.
- Bring only the electronics you need. Select either your iPad or your laptop.
- Pack smart – select items that can be mixed and matched in order to make more outfits with fewer pieces (here is a great example).
- Finally, always weigh your bag before departing for the airport and give yourself an extra pound or two, since airport scales always seem to say your bag weighs more!
Remember your suitcase’s weight is a part of that total weight limit. Select the lightest bag possible (but make sure it is still durable)!