Whether you're traveling carry-on only or you're trying to get more stuff through in the carry-on portion of your luggage - you've most definitely been in a situation where your bag is either too big or too heavy.

We've all gotten into arguments, or had some anxiety with getting our bags on the plane without the airline causing a problem - especially with budget airlines. I've gone through this a fair few times so I thought I'd share these tips with you so you can hopefully reduce the size of your bag, pack more things, and reduce the weight - avoiding problems on your next flight.

1. Make Sure Your Bag Is Carry-On Friendly

Get a bag/backpack that is the perfect dimensions for carry-on travel and big enough to fit everything - but not so big that it draws attention. This will allow you to get through security without any hiccups.

The rule for baggage size on most airlines is usually 22” x 14” x 9” so getting a carry on specific backpack will make sure that even if they measure it, you'd be OK to go through.

Our recommendation below has the perfect dimensions, it will be able to fit everything as it's 40 L, it also has great back support.

The Best Carry-on Travel Bag For Backpackers in 2020 | Review
If you’re a backpacker and want to save hundreds of dollars by not paying check-in luggage fees — I’ve got the perfect carry-on backpack for you.

2. Put Heavier Compact Things in Your Pockets When Weighing Your Bag

Wear some shorts or pants that have a lot of pockets, or carry your jacket separate to the bag (my favorite). Doing this will let you put your heavy items in various compartments and pockets, which will avoid any problems if you get weighed.

These things really don't have to be the regular things you'll find in your pocket. You could legitimately put your roll-on deodorant, or portable phone charger in your pocket/jacket - little by little you somehow take away 1-2 kg worth of stuff and avoid a problem when your backpack gets weighed.

3. Pack Thin Insulators & Quick Dry Clothes

Whether you're traveling during winter or summer, there are always very functional clothes that you should pack. Thermal under shirts, and merino wool sweaters for winter, quick dry sports shirts and shorts for summer.

  • Very light
  • Very compact
  • Thin yet functional

All of this makes it easier to pack your clothes and fit more in - especially in winter where your carry-on bag might get bulky. Amazon affiliate links below to our favorites.

Quick Dry Shirt - https://amzn.to/3alp0Lz
Merino Wool Base Layer - https://amzn.to/2sBxixO

4. Roll Shirts to Fit More In Your Backpack

There's a specific backpacker style shirt folding technique that's perfect for getting a lot of shirts in your bag so they're easy to fit and easy to grab in a hurry. You can roll them in a cylinder shape with the tutorial in the article below.

How To Fold Your Shirts For Traveling | Compact Cylinder Style Fold
How to fold your shirts in a super easy backpacker style so that they’re compact cylinders and don’t take up a lot of space for travel. Step by step guide.

5. Wear Your Layers Before Boarding

You hear this one time and time again, and most people will avoid it to not look ridiculous. But there are sometimes when you're on an extremely predatory budget airline where 500 grams over is being charged at $25-$40. This is when you're going to need to improvise and whip out this trick as a last resort.

You can use those extra layers to store even more stuff on your person, and use the extra money towards a different flight - it's all worth looking a little ridiculous until you get on the plane - don't even sweat it (figuratively because you'll be sweating literally).

6. Find an Airline With a Higher Weight Limit

Especially in Asia, there are budget airlines with higher weight limits. For instance, 10 kg limits exist but there are also options to increase the weigh limit by a kilo or 2 which is all you might need - all for a fee that's a fraction of check-in luggage prices.

Another way to get these extra weight limits on flights is to look for flight deals that are from travel agencies. As it's a deal, it'll be cheaper, and when the agencies buy these flights in bulk, they will usually get extra weight allowances per ticket that they'll pass on to you - use Skyscanner to find these deals.

How To Find Super Cheap International Flights | Saving 40% to 90%
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If you follow these steps when it comes to carry-on luggage, your chances of getting on without having to pay the extra ridiculous fees will be improved by 300% if I might be so bold 😜

Do you have any personal favorite tips? Comment below and we'll include them in the article :)

Best of luck with your travels,

Sah