In the age of booked baggage fees, packing light is where it’s at. Of course, in practice, keeping your bulky bag down to size isn’t so easy. Enter plastic, vacuum-tight travel bags, which help you pack more into less space.
Plastic packing bags come in two basic types: one that requires a vacuum to suck the air out, and one that only needs a bit of muscle to seal. For serious travelers, I always recommend the second option – after all, who carries a vacuum around with them when they’re traveling?
The idea is simple: fill your plastic packing bag as full as possible, per its directions, and then squeeze out the extra air. As you do so, you items inside will be compressed, thus turning your four-shirt stack into the size of just one folded shirt.
Compressible packing bags generally come in three sizes — small, medium, and large — though small and medium are usually all you’ll need, though if you’re heading somewhere cold, you’ll want large bags for coats or bulky sweaters. Be sure not to pack hard, sharp objects in your bags — no combs, razors, or travel appliances — as they may rip the bag or break the seal.