Everyone’s been there. Your have a teeny weeny small suitcase and you have a gigantic pile of clothes that you want to pack inside it.
Hmmm… what can you do?
I know I will squeeze it all in by force, then quickly shut the lid and pray that the zippers are going to close!
What if there was a better way than sitting on your suitcase?
Well there are a few methods. You can use them with carry on luggage but you might not necessarily want to once you think it through…
A compression bag reduces the space that your clothes take up. It can be especially handy when you have restrictive luggage sizes that you need to adhere to.
You know the space saver bags that you use in conjunction with your vacuum cleaner?
You can buy smaller bags that work just like that but that been adapted for travel (more specifically travel without an enormous vacuum cleaner).
There are 2 types and they both DO work to reduce the amount of space your clothes take up.
You could use regular space saver bags but then will there be a vacuum cleaner where you are going? Specific travel compression bags are a better choice than space saver bags.
There are a few things that you need to bear in mind though.
Compression travel bags really squeeze down your clothes a lot. They can dramatically reduce the size, especially if it’s something fluffy like a sweater.
They also crunch up your cloths. And this combination of high-pressure squeezing and crunching means that your clothes get wrinkled.
You can use that space saved to pack a travel iron and spend your vacation ironing!
The main reason that I don’t like to use these vacuum bags for travel isn’t acutally about wrinkles.
It’s simple but you might have missed it.
If security at the airport want to check inside your bag they might want to open up the plastic vacuum bag to take a look inside.
If that happens you’ll be left struggling to repack your suitcase and compress everything again. Let’s just say I hope you left plenty of time to catch your flight!
And compression space saver bags for travel are not really very easy to use. Especially the variety that comes with a little plastic air pump.
There are specific cases where plastic vacuum bags work best. Like if you want to pack a big fluffy jacket or a pillow.
For most regular trips or vacations I recommend a different compression packing product.
Compression packing cubes are a modified version of regular packing cubes. They don’t squash your stuff anywhere near the same amount as vacuum space bags but then they are much easier to use.
They can be better for wrinkles too. You can control the amount of pressure your garments are under by the amount of clothes that you put in each cube.
I suggest if you need more space in your luggage that you check them out first. We published a long article comparing all the compression packing cubes and you can find it here.
Lastly I just wanted to clear something up. Space bags don’t make your luggage lighter!
Well they do scientifically by removing air molecules but the effect is so tiny it makes no difference to how heavy your bag feels.
If you do experiment with using compression packing techniques make sure you use a luggage scale to measure the weight of your bag. It’s easy to get carried away and go over the weight limits!
Let us know in the comments if you use those plastic compression bags when you travel and any tips you might have for our readers!