I’m a light packer. No matter how long the trip, I never take more than a carry-on bag with me and make it a point to return with less stuff than I came with. This involves bringing worn t-shirts to sleep in or old sneakers that I can wear out and toss at the end of the trip. When it comes to souvenirs, I try to either bring back meaningful items or nothing at all. Really, who needs a snow globe when you can gift someone delicious coffee from Bali that they can enjoy for weeks to come?
Not everyone shares this minimalist philosophy: On our recent trip to Mecca, there were eight of us traveling with nearly a dozen bags. At the end of the trip, my mom and grandmother each bought new bags to fit all of their gifts. This reminded me of an idea I had before the trip that I really should have mentioned to them: Buying an IKEA UPPTÄCKA carry-on bag.
Years ago, I noticed these flimsy carry-on bags from IKEA that cost just $14.99 (the price has since increased to $15.99). They’re super cheap (both in terms of price and material) and very convenient for people who tend to come back with more stuff than they left with. That’s because these bags are collapsable. You can fold and stuff them into your main carry-on, then fill them with souvenirs when you return. I don’t think I fully understood the value of these bags until the very end of our trip, when everyone had way too much stuff and not enough space in their luggage to fit everything.
If you don’t have an IKEA store nearby, you can order these carry-on bags right off their website. The regular price is $19.99 but IKEA family members get it for $15.99. IKEA family is free to join, so signing up is a no-brainer.
Anyway, I thought the IKEA UPPTÄCKA carry-on bag would be great for those of you who have a tendency to return from trips with lots of gifts or personal purchases. At roughly 14 x 22 inches it can easily fit into most carry-on bags, in case you do come back from your trip empty-handed.
Have you picked up an IKEA UPPTÄCKA carry-on bag or similar for souvenir storage during your travels? Please share your tips in the comment section.