Every now and then, FareCompare asks a well-traveled employee to share a favorite tip. Editor Anne McDermott's best packing tip is especially good for carry-ons.
Does this sound impossible? A 12 day trip to Europe with a single carry-on bag. I did it and had plenty of neat and wrinkle-free clothes thanks to Sit & Zip. [Don't miss the video below.]
What is Sit & Zip?
Sit & Zip is what I call my space-saving packing method that will help avoid bag fees. I'd like to think I invented it but I'll bet others have been doing this for years. Here's how I do it.
Create more room in a suitcase by placing clothes in plastic bags with the air squeezed out. You could buy relatively expensive bags designed for this purpose (I've seen six for $20) and you might need a vacuum. Sit & Zip is a lot less complicated.
What you need:
- Box of gallon-size zip bags. Note: I've used both brand names and supermarket bags (50 bags for $3.99).
- Your behind (yes, the part of your anatomy you sit on).
- Take an item of clothing and fold lengthwise.
- Tightly roll up the item so it resembles a tube.
- Put the tube in the zip bag.
- Place the unzipped (open) bag on a bed or a chair, and sit on it hard to expel all the air.
- While still seated, zip up the bag to seal.
Result: A satisfyingly flat bag to place in your luggage. I got about a dozen into a small, no-wheels carry-on (plus a pair of shoes, toiletries, documents, random unbagged items and more). Total bag weight: 15 pounds or 7 kilograms. Here's Sit & Zip in action.
VIDEO: The Sit & Zip packing method.
What You Can and Can't Pack
I did not pack any 100% cotton must-iron items so I can't say if it would keep a shirt like that looking nice (doubt it!) but I do know it works on polo tops, pullovers, simple dresses, denim jeans, khakis and more. Next time you travel, consider Sit & Zip – and if you do, tell me how it worked out.