Whether you're planning a quick getaway, flying to summer camp or heading to a GAP year program overseas, there's something thrilling about flying... But wait... I need to pack first! Excitement gives way to stress. What size bag can I take? How will I fit all my stuff in? What if my bag is too heavy? 

Choosing a bag is a balance between navigating airline restrictions and your own personal preferences and needs. This guide looks at the basic factors you should consider when choosing your bag for air travel. We'll also suggest some packing accessories to make the whole process easier. Let's get started!

Maximum Bag Size

Most airlines allow a maximum bag size for checked baggage of 62 inches of all the dimensions combined (length + width + height).

By far, our most popular bag for air travel, especially among GAP year students, is the 36 inch rolling duffel. At capacity, this bag slightly exceeds the typical restriction with a combined size of 67 inches (36" x 15.5" x 15.5"). However, the height of the bag is something you can play with because when it’s not packed to capacity, it won’t be at its maximum height. 

In our experience, customers who have traveled with 36 inch trunks have not had a problem, but of course we can’t provide any guarantees.

A popular lightweight travel bag like the Samsonite Tote-A-Ton falls exactly into the typical airline restrictions with a combined 61.5 inches (33" × 11.5" × 17"). 


If you choose to take a 42 inch soft trunk, which is really popular with camp goers, that’s considered OVERSIZED by all airline standards and you will be charged for the luxury.

Wheels or No Wheels

The wheels or no wheels debate centers around the weight versus convenience issue. Wheels add weight to the bag itself which means that bags with no wheels allow you to pack more items into your bag before reaching the airline weight limit.

On the other hand, when you imagine typical air travel, having the ability to wheel your bag from place to place can be super helpful. You are probably going to be walking long distances inside or outside the airport and when you get to your destination, there may be a lot of moving around too.  

This is an ongoing debate among gap year students but in our own experience we have found the wheeled option to be more popular. 

Identifying Your Luggage

We all know that feeling of standing at the baggage claim, looking for our luggage which looks exactly like everyone else’s. Choosing a bright colored bag is one way of having your bag stand out in a crowd. In addition, all of our bags can be personalized with your name or other words that you can identify. Also, colorful luggage tags is another way to ensure that your bag stands out and saves you time identifying your luggage.

Packing Neatly and Efficiently

One way to save space in your bag is by packing neatly and efficiently. There is a great little packing accessory called a packing cube, which enables you to do this. Using packing cubes you can neatly pack all your items tightly into space saving bags and even organize them by category. 

The cool thing is that when you get to your destination, you can simply place the packing cubes into your cupboard or drawer and use them to keep all your stuff neat and organized.

Enjoy Your Travels

Packing for air travel can seem daunting, but when you have the right luggage it becomes much easier. Of course, you still have to figure out what to take and how to fit it all in, but that’s a subject for another blog post...

We're here to help

At Pack for Camp, we have years of experience serving customers whose children go to summer camp, gap year and more so if you have any questions please contact us and we’ll be glad to help.