Avoid The Hassle Of Checking Luggage With Samantha Brown's Space-Saving Hacks

From extra costs to long airport lines, checking luggage isn't always ideal — especially if you're going on a shorter trip. Thankfully, Samantha Brown has shared many clever hacks for saving suitcase space. Having visited over 70 countries, the renowned Travel Channel host has a wealth of experience and expertise. Brown has perfected the art of packing a carry-on bag with her simple, efficient, and inventive approach.


Brown typically packs her belongings in a 22-inch (or smaller) case, the standard carry-on limit for many domestic flights on U.S. airlines (slightly less for international travel). Not one to procrastinate, Brown considers what to bring a week prior to departing. She told Forbes, "I keep a pad of paper around and write down things I need to pack as they pop into my head. This allows me to remember more specific items, like my favorite blouse that still needs to be dry-cleaned." Brown's packing process covers various bases and is strategic and smooth from beginning to end. These tips work particularly well for week-long trips.

Maximize outfits with these wardrobe equations

Choosing travel clothes can be overwhelming, especially when aiming to pack light. Save yourself the headache — and space, of course — by applying Samantha Brown's wardrobe equations. Brown's 54321 system, which she relayed to Forbes, helps streamline the process. She selects five tops, four bottoms, three pairs of shoes, two accessories (like a belt and scarf), and one dress. If you're going away for a week, Brown suggested picking three tops and three bottoms that you can mix and match on her blog. Less clothes, more outfits!


Brown has another trick up her sleeve: using a complementary color scheme to coordinate outfits. Though minimalistic, this method doesn't have to be boring. In a piece for the Travel Channel, Brown wrote, "Choose either black or brown, and then add accessories like fun costume jewelry, colored scarves and belts to brighten up your outfits." Aside from enlivening an outfit, a scarf is a multifunctional accessory. Brown told Travel + Leisure, "And I always have a neck scarf because it can be used for so many things whether its cleaning a screen, keeping my neck warm, etc."

Simplify your shoe selections

While bringing an array of shoes is tempting, being selective can significantly save suitcase space. Samantha Brown advised travelers to bring a maximum of three pairs for a week of travel via her blog. She'll typically pack sneakers, flats, and versatile shoes such as boots. Depending on the weather, Brown will adjust her selections accordingly. On her flight, Brown wears the toughest shoes to fit in a suitcase. Going a step further, Brown told Forbes, "I like to save an old pair of sneakers to use on my trip and throw them away when I get to my destination. This allows me to get all the wear out of my shoes and frees up space in my suitcase for anything I might pick up on my travels."


In an Instagram post, Samantha Brown gave guidance on choosing optimal shoes. One pair of shoes, designated for actual travel, should provide absolute comfort and support. Then, select a pair that's comfortable and presentable, as you'll be wearing these at your destination. Brown prefers slip-on loafers or boots. For your third pair, pick dressy shoes that aren't too heavy. Because flip-flops and sandals don't take up much room, toss a pair in your bag, too.

Neatly organize your belongings

There's no question that organization makes traveling easier. Samantha Brown stays organized by rolling her clothes in packing cubes. These compartments help save space, provide structure, and protect your belongings. Brown loves clear cubes, as they keep her garments in plain view. Plus, they reduce the hassle of unpacking at your destination. Once she arrives at her hotel, Brown places the cubes in her dresser drawers. "Because I've rolled my clothes into the cubes, I can see all the items at once, and none of them touch the inside of a drawer (how often do you think those things actually get cleaned?!)," she wrote on her blog.


If you're bringing along jewelry, try Brown's efficient T-shirt method. "I neatly lay out my necklaces, so they don't get tangled, attach any earrings to the shirt and tuck rings into the fold. Roll it up, fasten each end with an elastic and it's good to go," she explained to Forbes. Alternatively, separate your jewelry by wrapping individual pieces in napkins, as Brown shared through the Travel Channel. Then, put all of them in a large Ziploc bag. To avoid tangles, stick chains in straws, adding tape on each end.

Trim down your toiletries

Samantha Brown's unconventional tips for condensing toiletries are a game changer. As an alternative to perfume bottles or rollers, dampen cotton balls with the liquid and place them in a small plastic bag. To keep the moisture intact, release air and tightly seal the bag. Brown is a big fan of packing solid items to maximize efficiency. Opt for toothpaste bits instead of toothpaste, for instance. Consider using a solid lotion bar unless you're heading to a hot destination. Additionally, don't underestimate the power of detergent sheets for clean clothes.


Optimize suitcase space by packing sample sizes of essentials like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Who needs a standard bottle for a week-long trip? According to Brown, even smaller, reusable containers are inefficient and larger than necessary. In a YouTube video, Brown recommends filling a TSA-approved bag with tiny toiletries. "Whenever you go to a department store to get your skincare, always ask for samples," she shared. Or, ask for shampoo samples when you get your haircut. Travel-sized pill jars, found at drugstores, are another great solution for storing skincare products.

A lesson in compression

Separate your clothes by packing your dirty laundry in vacuum compression bags. Samantha Brown described the benefits of this hack in a Today segment, saying, "You squeeze it [the air] out. It compresses everything you have by 50%." These bags are an ideal space-saver if you buy souvenirs on your trip. Plus, the plastic keeps any unpleasant smell contained. On Instagram, Brown shared another trick that exemplifies the value of compression. After filling her suitcase to capacity, she opens the expansion zipper, enlarging the bag. Then, she adds a puffy jacket on top of her clothes. Brown zips the suitcase back up, which releases air and reduces inches.


When packing your carry-on suitcase, don't overlook those sneaky luggage compartments that can easily fit small items. In an episode of Pickler & Ben, Brown pointed to the space between the bottom suitcase handles, which she uses to store underwear, socks, and stockings. As Brown told Forbes, front luggage pockets are the perfect place to pack your undergarments, too.