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Using vacuum sealed bags for travelling: The BEST way to save luggage space

Using vacuum sealed bags for travelling: The BEST way to save luggage space

Have you seen the viral videos online showing people packing for a month away using vacuum sealed bags and just a tiny suitcase or backpack?

If you’ve ever used a vacuum sealed bag before you’ll know how amazing they are for compressing soft items and saving so much space. Many people have used vacuum storage bags for years for items like seasonal clothing and bedding. I used them for my ski clothing as I rarely use it and a vacuum bag allows me to squish these bulky items into a tiny bag and slip them under my bed.

Vacuum sealed storage bags work by removing the air from a bag and therefore compressing the bag by up to 75%.

Not only are vacuum sealed bags great for storing soft items in your home, but they’re brilliant for travel.

Here’s my guide to using vacuum sealed bags for travelling and my recommendations for the best vacuum bags for holidays.

I used 2 x vacuum bags in my small hand luggage bag (The Travel Hack Tote) to fit all of these items!

Can you use a vacuum sealed bag for travelling?

Yes, you can! Vacuum sealed bags are great for travelling because they save so much space in your luggage.

And vacuum bags can be used without a vacuum cleaner to suck the air out – so you don’t need to worry about finding a vacuum cleaner when you’re on holiday! All of the vacuum bags I’ve mentioned in this post do not need a vacuum cleaner!

Even if you will have access to a vacuum cleaner, I wouldn’t recommend buying vacuum bags that rely on a vacuum cleaner to remove the air. If you need to open your vacuum sealed bags at the airport you’ll need a way to suck the air back out of them so they fit back inside your luggage, so I recommend using one of the 3 I’ve mentioned below.

I like to use them for:

  • Family holidays where we all share one big suitcase – vacuum bags keep everyone’s clothes separate and save space too
  • When I’m travelling with just hand luggage and need to save space
  • When I have lots of bulky items like winter holidays and ski trips
  • On my return journeys when I have more to come home with than I left with!

My 3 favourite vacuum sealed bags for travelling

Vago Portable Luggage Compressor & 1 X Medium Bag - White
Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
Roll Up Storage Bags for Travel, 4 Pack Medium 60x40cm Compression Bags for Suitcases, No Vacuum Needed, Save More Space in Travelling
Vago Portable Luggage Compressor & 1 X Medium Bag - White
Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
Roll Up Storage Bags for Travel, 4 Pack Medium 60x40cm Compression Bags for Suitcases, No Vacuum Needed, Save More Space in Travelling
Best vacuum, portable electric pump, most effective at removing all air
Portable hand pump great for travelling
Best price and surprisingly effective! Roll to remove air so no pump needed.
Vago Portable Luggage Compressor & 1 X Medium Bag - White
Vago Portable Luggage Compressor & 1 X Medium Bag - White
Best vacuum, portable electric pump, most effective at removing all air
Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
Portable hand pump great for travelling
Roll Up Storage Bags for Travel, 4 Pack Medium 60x40cm Compression Bags for Suitcases, No Vacuum Needed, Save More Space in Travelling
Roll Up Storage Bags for Travel, 4 Pack Medium 60x40cm Compression Bags for Suitcases, No Vacuum Needed, Save More Space in Travelling
Best price and surprisingly effective! Roll to remove air so no pump needed.

Are there any disadvantages to using a vacuum sealed bag for packing your suitcase?

The main disadvantage to using a vacuum sealed bag in your suitcase is that your clothes are going to be creased. I’ve tried rolling and folding my clothes in many different ways but there is no getting around it, your clothes will be more creased using a vacuum bag.

Travel Hack Tip: Rolling your clothes rather than folding them does help but it won’t avoid the creases all together.

For some clothing it isn’t really a problem if you crease them and other items will quickly and easily iron out. But there are some items of clothing that will need to be rewashed if they’re REALLY creased. 

Can I use a vacuum sealed bag even if I don’t want my clothes to be creased?

I often use a vacuum sealed bag but I actually only use the vacuum compression part when I’m coming home with a suitcase full of dirty clothes.

I’ll use the vacuum bag like a regular packing cube for my departure and I won’t compress it at all. But when I come home (and my clothes are dirty and creased and will need to go straight in the washing machine anyway) I’ll use the compression part. 

I find this works really well because I often end up coming home with more stuff in my suitcase anyway. I will have picked up souvenirs and gifts while I’m away so that extra bit of space comes in very handy.

Without using a vacuum bag
With a vacuum bag and the clothes take up half the space

Should I travel with an iron if I’m using vacuum sealed bags?

If your accommodation on holiday doesn’t have an iron available then I do recommend travelling with either a travel iron or a steamer.

Personally, I always travel with a steamer. I just have a cheap travel steamer from Amazon and it’s great. The exact one I use is out of stock but this steamer here is basically the same one. I use it at home now too and I barely ever get the big iron out. A steamer is much easier while you’re travelling as you don’t need an ironing board and it’s much lighter.

Mum hacks - best Amazon buys

You do need to consider the amount of space a steamer will take up in your luggage vs the amount of space you’re saving by using vacuum sealed bags. 

It’s also worth noting that many hotels don’t have irons in the room but they are available on request.

I REALLY don’t want super creased clothes!

If you really don’t want your clothes to be creased then I’d recommend using a compression bag rather than a vacuum bag.

A compression bag will compress your clothing and will save a lot of space, but it won’t remove the air completely so your clothes won’t be as squished.

I like to use The Travel Hack Compression Packing Cube alongside The Travel Hack Backpack. These items have been designed together so the cube fits perfectly inside the case. 

Will my suitcase be too heavy if I use a vacuum sealed bag for my luggage?

Another thing to be aware of is that your luggage could quickly become overweight if you’re using vacuum bags!

You’ll be able to fit so much more in your luggage so it’s obviously going to weigh a lot more so be very careful and make sure you weigh your luggage.

When I’m at home I weigh my suitcase with my normal bathroom scales but if you’re travelling it might be worth getting some travel scales for luggage

Travel scales cost around £10-£15 and I think they’re worth it to give you peace of mind and avoid the extortionate fees you’ll pay for having overweight luggage.

What happens if there isn’t a weight limit for my hand luggage?

You’ll often find that there isn’t actually a weight limit for your hand luggage. Many airlines simply request that you can lift your luggage into your overhead locker unassisted so, if you’re strong enough, your hand luggage can be as heavy as you like.

If this is the case then go for it!

Just be aware that you may need to carry your luggage a long way and often up and down flights of stairs, so don’t make it so heavy you can barely carry it! I’d also recommend trying to act casual around the airline staff if your suitcase is really heavy! Don’t draw attention to it and try to act like it isn’t that heavy.

Which are the best vacuum sealed bags for travelling?

There are lots of vacuum sealed bags to choose from which will work perfectly in your luggage for a holiday. I’m going to keep it simple and share three of my favourites.

In all honesty, all vacuum bags are fairly similar so you don’t need to go trawling the internet looking at different designs as there isn’t much of a difference.

The main thing you want to look out for when looking for vacuum bags for travel is that they can be used without a vacuum cleaner! Many of us won’t be able to rely on having a vacuum cleaner available while we’re travelling so you wouldn’t be able to vacuum it shut for your return journey. There is also the possibility that you’d be asked to open it in the airport and you’d need to be able to remove the air and seal it shut again while you’re at the airport.

Vago Portable Luggage Compressor & 1 X Medium Bag - White
Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
Roll Up Storage Bags for Travel, 4 Pack Medium 60x40cm Compression Bags for Suitcases, No Vacuum Needed, Save More Space in Travelling
Vago Portable Luggage Compressor & 1 X Medium Bag - White
Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
Roll Up Storage Bags for Travel, 4 Pack Medium 60x40cm Compression Bags for Suitcases, No Vacuum Needed, Save More Space in Travelling
Best vacuum, portable electric pump, most effective at removing all air
Portable hand pump great for travelling
Best price and surprisingly effective! Roll to remove air so no pump needed.
Vago Portable Luggage Compressor & 1 X Medium Bag - White
Vago Portable Luggage Compressor & 1 X Medium Bag - White
Best vacuum, portable electric pump, most effective at removing all air
Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
Portable hand pump great for travelling
Roll Up Storage Bags for Travel, 4 Pack Medium 60x40cm Compression Bags for Suitcases, No Vacuum Needed, Save More Space in Travelling
Roll Up Storage Bags for Travel, 4 Pack Medium 60x40cm Compression Bags for Suitcases, No Vacuum Needed, Save More Space in Travelling
Best price and surprisingly effective! Roll to remove air so no pump needed.

#1. The electric pump – Vago Electric Portable Luggage Compressor

Sale
Vago Portable Luggage Compressor & 1 X Medium Bag - White
  • Compressible - Soft items get compressed to make up to 50% more space
  • Small - Only weights 77g and is 70mm long
  • Smart - Detects pressure and stops automatically
  • Quick - 5 Minutes is all it takes to compress a vacuum bag
  • Clean - Eliminates bad odour & bacteria in luggage

The Vago portable luggage compressor with an electric pump to remove the air is my favourite. These bags were my first introduction to using vacuum sealed bags for travelling 

I wrote this Vago baggage compressor review back in 2018 and I still love it and use it today.

The main benefit with the Vago vacuum bag is that the pump on it is electric so it does all the hard work for you.

Of course, this could also be a disadvantage because there is the chance your pump could break or you wouldn’t have a plug handy. So that’s something to consider.

The pump is small and you get a medium sized vacuum bag included with the pump. Larger vacuum bags are also available to buy separately. 

Pros for the Vago Luggage Compressor

  • Good quality
  • Has lasted me years with lots of use
  • Electric pump is easy
  • Variety of bag sizes available for the pump

Cons for the Vago Luggage Compressor

  • Most expensive
  • Electric pump could break and relies on being close to a plug

The hand pump – Spacesaver Vacuum Storage Bags with Hand-Pump for Travel

Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
  • 2 X JUMBO SIZE BAGS FOR EXTRA LARGE ITEMS! Store away your duvet, bed sheets, towels, blankets, and more! 80% more space than other bags on the market!
  • SQUEEZES EVERY BIT OF AIR OUT OF THE BAG! The unique Double-Zip Seal and the Triple-Seal Turbo Valve are designed to get every ounce of air OUT of the bag in the suction process - and nothing gets back in! Other storage bags let air back in, and defeat the purpose. Not these!
  • INCREASE YOUR STORAGE SPACE without having to clean out your closet! Our Spacesaver bags are an ideal solution for adding more storage space to your wardrobes, closets, garages, basements, lofts, and suitcases.
  • FREE TRAVEL PUMP INCLUDED! When you're travelling and want the MOST space so you don't have to take a lot of luggage, these storage bags are PERFECT! And when you have to re-pack for the return trip, just use our FREE convenient Travel Pump, and your bags will be air-tight vacuum-packed again!

These Spacesaver vacuum storage bags are the best sellers on Amazon with tens of thousands of positive reviews. They come in a variety of sizes and they come with a small hand pump that is suitable for travel. The air can also be removed using a vacuum cleaner.

While using a vacuum cleaner is obviously much easier, the hand pump is also very easy and just as effective and doesn’t require any special strength.

Pros for the Spacesaver Vacuum Storage Bags

  • Great price
  • Can be used with a vacuum cleaner or hand pump

Cons for the Spacesaver Vacuum Storage Bags

  • You have to carry the hand pump with you – it’s quite small but it’s an extra thing to remember – or have a vacuum cleaner available.

No pump – Roll Up Compression Bags

Roll Up Storage Bags for Travel, 4 Pack Medium 60x40cm Compression Bags for Suitcases, No Vacuum Needed, Save More Space in Travelling
  • 4 Travel Roll Up Storage Bags: 24x16 inches (60x40cm), hand roll items into the storage bag, the Unique Roll-up Design squeezes every ounce of air out of the bags.
  • No pump or vacuum required: When you're travelling and want the most space, these storage bags are perfect. No need for a hand pump or vacuum to use, just simply roll up and seal.
  • Save Up More Storage Space: Rolling and pushing out air reduces the size of items up to 75% leaving extra space in your suitcase.
  • Ideal Protection: Made with high quality materials, offers ideal protection for all stored clothes against water damage, dirt and dust. Keep dirty and clean laundry well separated while travelling.
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: We committed to offering the highest levels of quality and service, please contact us first if you have any problem.

These roll up compression bags don’t have a pump at all and you remove the air by rolling them up and squeezing the air out before sealing them.

While they aren’t quite as effective as vacuum bags with a pump, they are still perfectly suited to travelling – possibly even better for travelling. They don’t remove as much air but this means your clothes aren’t quite as creased so for many people these will be a better option.

The fact that they don’t have a pump means there’s nothing technical that could go wrong with them and there’s nothing extra to pack (and potentially forget to pack!)

They are still brilliant for removing the air so they’re a great, simple and cost-effective option.

Pros for the roll up compression bags

  • There is no pump to potentially forget, lose or break
  • Clothes aren’t quite as creased
  • Cheapest option

Cons for the roll up compression bags

  • Doesn’t remove quite as much air as the vacuum bags with pumps
  • Can be a bit tricky as you try to squish the air out while also not allowing too much air back in – could be a little awkward if you have mobility issues (I found it easiest to sit or kneel on it)

There you have it. Three of my favourite vacuum bags suitable for travelling.

If I had to choose one favourite I would say it’s the Space Saver Vacuum bags.

Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags | Hand-Pump for Travel | Double-Zip Seal and Triple Seal Valve | Space Saver Organizer Vacuum Sealer Bags | Comforter, Blanket, Bedding, Clothes (Jumbo 2 Pack)
  • 2 X JUMBO SIZE BAGS FOR EXTRA LARGE ITEMS! Store away your duvet, bed sheets, towels, blankets, and more! 80% more space than other bags on the market!
  • SQUEEZES EVERY BIT OF AIR OUT OF THE BAG! The unique Double-Zip Seal and the Triple-Seal Turbo Valve are designed to get every ounce of air OUT of the bag in the suction process - and nothing gets back in! Other storage bags let air back in, and defeat the purpose. Not these!
  • INCREASE YOUR STORAGE SPACE without having to clean out your closet! Our Spacesaver bags are an ideal solution for adding more storage space to your wardrobes, closets, garages, basements, lofts, and suitcases.
  • FREE TRAVEL PUMP INCLUDED! When you're travelling and want the MOST space so you don't have to take a lot of luggage, these storage bags are PERFECT! And when you have to re-pack for the return trip, just use our FREE convenient Travel Pump, and your bags will be air-tight vacuum-packed again!

They’re extremely effective at removing the air and the portable handheld pump is really easy to use. The Vago one is better but it’s more expensive and relies on a pump you need to plug-in (which could be awkward if you need to open it and reseal it at airport security!)

The roll up bag is also brilliant and I couldn’t believe how effective it was even without a pump. So this is a good option for a budget vacuum bag or for anyone who doesn’t want to rely on a pump.