Packing for a trip can be stressful, especially when it comes to fitting all your belongings into suitcases and carry-ons that meet the airline’s size restrictions. Exceeding those dimensions means you’ll likely have to pay annoying overweight or oversized baggage fees at the airport.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer to measuring luggage: Use a soft measuring tape to measure your bag’s length, width, and height in inches. Round up to the nearest whole number. Compare your measurements against your airline’s published size limits.

This article will walk you through the complete process of accurately measuring your luggage prior to travel, using either a soft tape measure or common household items. We’ll also look at how to find your airline’s size restrictions, tips for maximizing your packing space, and alternatives if your bag ends up being oversized.

Measure with a Soft Tape

When it comes to accurately measuring your luggage dimensions, using a soft tape is the best method. It allows for flexibility and ease of measuring, ensuring you get the most accurate results. Here’s a step-by-step guide to measuring your luggage dimensions with a soft tape:

Lay bag flat on the floor

To begin, lay your bag flat on the floor. Make sure it is fully extended and not folded or compressed in any way. This will provide you with the most accurate measurements.

Measure the length

Start by measuring the length of your bag. Take the soft tape and place one end at the bottom of the bag, then extend it to the top. Make sure the tape is straight and not curved or bent. Read the measurement on the tape where it meets the top of the bag. This will give you the length of your luggage.

Measure the width

Next, measure the width of your bag. Take the soft tape and place one end at the widest point of the bag, usually the middle. Extend the tape across the bag to the opposite side. Again, make sure the tape is straight and not curved.

Read the measurement on the tape where it meets the opposite side of the bag. This will give you the width of your luggage.

Measure the height

Lastly, measure the height of your bag. Take the soft tape and place one end at the bottom of the bag, then extend it to the top. Ensure the tape is straight and not curved or bent. Read the measurement on the tape where it meets the top of the bag. This will give you the height of your luggage.

By following these simple steps and using a soft tape, you can accurately measure the dimensions of your luggage. Remember to measure twice to ensure accuracy, as even a small discrepancy in measurements can cause issues when traveling. Safe travels!

Measure without Tape

Measuring your luggage dimensions accurately is essential when it comes to air travel. However, if you don’t have a measuring tape handy, don’t worry! There are several alternative methods you can use to measure your luggage without a tape measure.

Use paper strips

One simple and effective way to measure your luggage without a tape measure is by using paper strips. All you need is a sheet of paper and a ruler. First, tear off a long strip of paper and wrap it tightly around the luggage, making sure it covers the length or width of the bag.

Then, mark the point where the paper strip overlaps and use a ruler to measure the length of the strip. This will give you an accurate measurement of your luggage dimensions.

Use string

If you don’t have any paper available, another option is to use a piece of string. Similar to the paper strip method, wrap the string around the luggage and mark the point where it overlaps. Then, measure the length of the string using a ruler.

This method works well for measuring irregularly shaped luggage or bags with curved edges.

Use a ruler

If you have a ruler but no measuring tape, you can still measure your luggage accurately. A ruler with centimeter markings can be used to measure the dimensions of your bag. Simply place the ruler against the length or width of your luggage and make a note of the measurement.

Be sure to measure all sides of your bag to get the most accurate dimensions.

Remember, it’s important to measure your luggage accurately to avoid any issues with airline restrictions. By using these simple methods, you can ensure that your luggage meets the required dimensions for a hassle-free travel experience.

Compare to Airline Rules

Check airline website

When it comes to accurately measuring your luggage dimensions, one of the first steps you should take is to visit the airline’s official website. Airlines typically have specific guidelines and restrictions regarding the size and weight of luggage that passengers can bring on board.

By visiting their website, you can access this information directly and ensure that your luggage meets their requirements.

Most airline websites have a dedicated section where you can find detailed information about their baggage policies. Look for terms like “baggage allowance,” “carry-on restrictions,” or “checked baggage rules.”

These sections will provide you with the precise dimensions and weight limits that your luggage should adhere to.

Call customer service

If you have any doubts or questions about the airline’s luggage rules, don’t hesitate to contact their customer service. They can provide you with accurate and up-to-date information regarding the dimensions and weight restrictions for your luggage.

Calling customer service allows you to speak directly with a representative who can address any concerns or inquiries you may have. They can guide you through the process of measuring your luggage correctly and help you avoid any surprises or issues at the airport.

Note regional differences

It’s important to note that different airlines may have varying rules and regulations, especially when it comes to regional carriers or international flights. While some dimensions may be similar across the board, there may be specific variations in weight limits or additional charges for oversized or overweight luggage.

Take note of any regional differences in the airline’s rules, especially if you are traveling with multiple carriers or connecting flights. Pay attention to the specific requirements of each airline you will be flying with to ensure that your luggage meets their individual guidelines.

Remember, it’s always better to be well-informed and prepared when it comes to your luggage dimensions. By comparing your luggage to the airline’s rules, you can avoid potential hassles and ensure a smoother travel experience.

Tips for Packing

Pack non-essentials first

When it comes to packing your luggage, it’s important to prioritize your essentials. Start by packing non-essential items first, such as clothes that you won’t need immediately or toiletries that can be easily replaced.

This will help you create space for the items that you will need during your trip.

One helpful tip is to pack items that can serve multiple purposes. For example, instead of packing a separate beach towel and a regular towel, consider packing a lightweight, quick-drying towel that can be used for both purposes.

This way, you can save space and reduce the overall weight of your luggage.

Roll clothes tightly

A great way to maximize space in your luggage is to roll your clothes tightly instead of folding them. Rolling clothes not only helps to prevent wrinkles but also allows you to fit more items in your suitcase.

This technique works especially well with lightweight fabrics like t-shirts, shorts, and dresses.

Additionally, consider using packing cubes or compression bags to further save space. These handy organizers can help you neatly pack your rolled clothes and compress them, making it easier to fit everything into your luggage. It’s a great way to stay organized and keep your clothes wrinkle-free.

Fill dead space

When packing your luggage, don’t forget to utilize the dead space inside your suitcase. This can be achieved by filling gaps with smaller items or accessories. For example, you can stuff socks or underwear into shoes to make use of the empty space.

You can also use the inside pockets of your luggage to store smaller items like toiletries or chargers.

Another option is to consider using packing cubes or compression bags to fill in the dead space. These organizers can help you maximize the available space and ensure that everything is snugly packed. Remember, utilizing every inch of space will allow you to fit more items without exceeding the weight limits set by airlines.

By following these packing tips, you can ensure that you accurately measure your luggage dimensions and make the most efficient use of the available space. Happy packing!

Oversize Baggage Options

When it comes to traveling, ensuring that your luggage meets the airline’s size requirements is crucial. Oversize baggage can result in additional fees, delays, or even being denied boarding. To avoid any inconvenience, here are some options to consider:

Redistribute to smaller bags

If you find that your luggage is exceeding the allowed dimensions, one option is to redistribute your belongings into smaller bags. This can help you stay within the size limits set by the airline. Consider using compression bags or packing cubes to maximize space and minimize the overall size of your luggage.

Ship luggage ahead

Another option to avoid oversize baggage fees is to ship your luggage ahead of time. There are various shipping services available that can transport your bags to your destination. This option not only ensures that your luggage meets the required dimensions but also saves you from the hassle of carrying heavy bags through the airport.

When shipping your luggage, make sure to compare prices and services offered by different shipping companies. Some companies even offer tracking services, so you can easily keep an eye on your bags during transit. Additionally, consider insuring your luggage to protect against loss or damage.

Pay oversize fees

If you prefer to travel with all your belongings and cannot redistribute or ship your luggage, you may have to pay oversize fees. These fees vary depending on the airline and the specific dimensions of your bag.

It’s always a good idea to check the airline’s website or contact their customer service to get accurate information regarding their oversize baggage policy and fees.

Keep in mind that oversize fees can be quite expensive, so it’s important to weigh the cost of paying the fee against the convenience of bringing all your belongings with you. If possible, try to pack strategically to minimize the chances of having oversize baggage.

Remember, accurately measuring your luggage dimensions before your trip can save you from unnecessary stress and extra expenses. By considering these oversize baggage options, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience.


With some preparation and clever packing, you can avoid those dreaded baggage fees. Just be sure to measure your luggage carefully before leaving for the airport. Bon voyage!

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