Flight Attendants' Top Packing Tricks For Maximizing Space And Staying Organized

It's no secret that travel planning, with all the details and considerations involved, can evolve into a massive headache. But with packing added to the mix, it can quickly become chaotic. For some, packing can prove to be a challenge — and a difficult one at that, especially if you aim to pack light and wish to fit everything into a single suitcase. After all, doing so requires flexibility, resourcefulness, and careful strategy.


But rather than relying solely on generic travel advice, what better way to cull packing tips than to listen to flight attendants? They quite literally have to fit their lives into suitcases due to the demands of their job, so packing efficiently has inevitably become their forte. For those who find packing a consistent struggle, the tips in these TikTok videos (created by flight attendants) can be a game-changer. From maximizing packing cubes to using all-in-one toiletries, here are some flight attendant-approved tips for enhancing luggage space utilization and staying organized throughout your trips.

Start your packing process with a comprehensive list

You can't expect to make packing a breeze if you don't know what to pack in the first place. If you merely toss stuff inside your suitcase arbitrarily, chances are, you'll pack (and maybe overpack) things you won't need, or worse, end up forgetting to bring essential items. That said, TikTok user @ouiouinicoled suggests writing a list of things you need to bring for your trip so you can have a handy reference point during packing, reducing the likelihood of leaving something important behind.


"Keep a list of things you normally pack and print it to cross off/double check that you have all the things," she wrote. It doesn't have to be on pen and paper — you could do it digitally on your phone or computer. The list can be also tailored to your preferences, whether in a simple bullet-point format or a more organized categorization by item type or outfit.

When you have a list, it can make for a more streamlined and stress-free packing process. After all, not only does having one simplify your current packing, but it also becomes a valuable tool for your subsequent travels, saving you time and the hassle of last-minute scrambles.

Wear your bulkiest shoes and clothes on the plane

If you plan on bringing sneakers, boots, and heavy jackets on your trip, wearing them during transit can be a strategic move. TikTok user @diyplaybook, who observed her veteran flight attendant sister pack for a multi-day trip, noted that doing this trick can help you free up significant space in your luggage. "She [her sister] wears her biggest shoes and scarf, and jacket on the plane," she said. "Extra shoes go in her carry-on."


Adopting this approach is particularly effective as shoes and outerwear tend to hog the biggest chunk of luggage real estate. However, it can slightly complicate airport security checks, as removing multiple layers may be required. Still, it's a worthwhile trade-off for those aiming to fully maximize their bag's capacity, leaving extra room for souvenirs. Plus, there's an added perk to this tip that people tend to overlook. Considering the typically chilly cabin temperatures on planes, wearing extra layers may even help enhance your comfort during the flight.

Roll your clothes and put them in packing cubes

An all too common conundrum that many travelers face is deciding whether to fold or roll clothes. But if space maximization is your priority, flight attendant Kat Kamalani shared in a viral TikTok video that rolling is the way to go. "Make sure you are rolling your clothes rather than folding, cause first, nobody wants a wrinkled shirt or wrinkled pants, and second, you get way more clothes in the bag than you do folding," she explained.


What's more, instead of arranging the rolled pieces across your bag and risking making a mess, she suggested organizing them using packing cubes. "They act like drawers and they keep you really organized," she added. You can even take things up a notch by adding labels to the cubes to make items easier to find. However, given that many of them are made with a sheer design, she suggests flipping them over and affixing labels on the reverse side. With the rolling and packing cube combo method, you're simultaneously fitting as many clothes as you can in your luggage, all while making sure that everything is orderly and accessible.

Bring versatile, all-in-one items

When it comes to toiletries, you don't necessarily have to bring one of everything. Many accommodations provide basic essentials, and convenience stores can fill in any gaps. However, for travel in unfamiliar areas where accessibility to necessities is uncertain, @trendytraveler shared in a TikTok video that it's much more convenient if you bring items that serve multiple purposes instead.


"Eliminate multiple products by bringing products that are all-in-one," she said, giving a body wash-soaked sponge as an example. "[It] cleanses, exfoliates, and moisturizes all-in-one," she noted, which just means that the product can function as both a body wash and body scrub.

If you're not keen on using versatile products, another alternative for minimizing bulk is using solid toiletries. In lieu of transferring shampoo and conditioner in tiny bottles, consider opting for their solid versions. They are TSA-compliant, requiring no separate security screening, and their compact form saves precious luggage space.

Pack your luggage vertically

Instead of organizing your stuff horizontally, @nicks.travels suggests doing it the other way around. As it turns out, this method provides two key advantages: first, it ensures a more even weight distribution, preventing your luggage from toppling over, and second, it encourages placing bulkier items at the bottom, maximizing space and preventing the bag from being overstretched.


"You need to stop thinking about it like this (flat) and [instead do it] like this, up and down, with the heaviest up at the bottom and lightest at the top," he explained. This arrangement not only optimizes space but also enhances the stability of your luggage. Additionally, for those facing issues with bags tipping over, he recommends using two-wheeled bags instead of four-wheeled for improved balance.

Elsewhere in the video, the flight attendant also highlighted the flexibility of packing cubes, underscoring the fact that you can utilize them depending on your individual needs. "Just because your packing cube says sock bag doesn't mean you have to use it for that," he pointed out, noting that, in his case, he uses the sock bag to store his chargers.