Carl Deane

Packing for a Vacation – Ways to Maximize Suitcase Space

When going on vacation, baggage fees can be costly, sometimes even reaching the cost of the flight itself! Carl Deane explains in the following article how travelers can maximize their suitcase space to reduce unnecessary fees.

One of the first things to do is make sure that only the necessities for the trip are packed; don’t be tempted to bring more than what is needed “just in case”! Once the packing list has been narrowed down, maximize space by rolling or compressing clothing, then choosing a bag that makes the most of the baggage allowance for that airline.

Choose the Right Bag

Most airlines allow for a carry-on bag free of charge, and then they will bill travelers for any checked-in luggage that needs to go into the hold. This means that savvy travelers must make the most of the carry-on baggage allowance such that if they do it right, they may not even need to check a bag at all!

One of the first things to do while booking a vacation is to check the airline’s baggage allowance. This way makes it easy to know early on what can and cannot be taken!

Using the max baggage dimensions, find a bag that exactly fits the criteria down to the tenth of an inch. By typing the airline into an online marketplace, for example, “American Airlines Cabin Bag”, a whole host of bags tailor-made to these dimensions will usually show up.

Fabric-based bags are also a far better choice than hard-shelled suitcases to use as hand luggage. As they are flexible, they are much more malleable when it comes to the dreaded task of fitting one’s bag into the bag sizers at the airport.

Roll it Up

When packing clothing, think tactically when placing it into the suitcase. Instead of folding the clothes in and stacking them on top of each other, consider rolling them up tightly. This not only compresses the clothing, pushing out any excess air to maximize baggage space, but it also reduces wrinkles and creases!

Smaller items like socks or underwear can also be rolled up in other clothing, such as into a top or a pant leg.

For those with doubts about whether this method works: ask a flight attendant. Almost all of them prefer rolling their clothes instead of folding them for traveling!

Vacuum Pack

Another way to make use of every bit of luggage space is to vacuum pack clothing and other soft items in bags. This compresses them even more and removes almost all air, massively shrinking down the space that they take up.

Although this method is quite effective, travelers should hope there is an iron in their hotel room, as their clothing is likely to have wrinkles and creases afterward.

Carl Deane

Toiletries Travel Hack

Toiletries can be a hassle when going on vacation, especially when it comes to making sure they follow the volume requirements and are ready for security.

Those traveling from larger airports can get around this by simply not bringing any toiletries at all (or at least only their preferred ones). Many of these essentials can be bought from stores in the departure lounge, and savvy travelers can even order their toiletries online before they travel, using click and collect to ensure it is all there ready for them to pick up!

Bring Only the Essentials

Even for those who plan to only pack light, taking more than what is needed for a vacation is far too common, as people tend to get carried away.

Plan ahead by counting out how many days there are on vacation, as well as checking the weather forecast before packing to know what temperature and conditions to expect rather than accounting for every imaginable outcome. Be conscious of the fact that items such as jeans and outerwear could be worn for multiple days, so an entire outfit is not needed for each day of the trip!

Speaking of outerwear, large and bulky coats and jackets are best worn onto the flight, as they won’t count towards the baggage allowance.

Carl Deane

Learn the Basics of Sailing

Sailing is nothing short of an adventure. It’s peaceful, it’s invigorating, and it’s sometimes a bit of a challenge.

But with sailing, Carl Deane says that the rewards far outweigh anything else. Start the adventure by effectively preparing to get on the open water as soon as possible. Ahoy, mateys!

Master the Language

Learning to sail is likely less difficult than the average person would expect. A good place to start is reviewing and mastering the lingo. Sailing vocabulary uses words likely heard before — port, velocity, starboard — and a few that may sound like a foreign language.

Start with the boat’s anatomy, such as the mast (the tall pole that carries a sail high above), the boom (the horizontal pole that connects to the mast that controls its shape and angle), then the keel (the fin under the water that guides the boat).

The sails and the keel are two of the four main parts of a sailboat, along with the hull (the boat body) and the rudder (a part connected to the steering wheel that also helps direct the boat).

Understand the Wind Direction

Add these four to your vocabulary list as well since they are needed to navigate communication while on a sailboat. The port tack is when the wind is coming from the boat’s left or port side. Starboard tack is when the wind is coming from the ride side, or starboard.

Face the front (or bow) of the boat when determining and referring to left and right. Downwind, or leeward means the sailboat is moving away from the wind, while windward refers to the way the wind is blowing at any given time.

Carl Deane

Get As Much Help as You Can

Never start out sailing alone. Instead, learn the basics quickly and step up the experience level over time through a few different avenues. There’s a plethora of instructional sailing videos available and many good ones are online for free.

Sailing schools and online classes are extremely helpful, though lessons aren’t required to learn how to sail.

Get Gear

Sailing gear can get extensive, but there are really just a few essential items to pick up before getting on the water. For clothes, don’t forget a good all-weather jacket, shirts and pants that dry quickly, and sturdy boots or shoes.

Other must-haves: hats, sunglasses, and waterproof bags to protect the gear. Many find a good sailing watch and heavy gloves — and sunscreen, of course — also helpful.

Safety First

Safety is key to sailing — and learning about them should be a big part of any classes or sailing schools. Safety equipment to secure would be lifejackets (never go sailing without them), a safety tether (if one falls overboard, the tether is what holds people on to the boat), sea sickness medicine, a proper first aid kit (that also includes personal medication).

Another good item is some type of personal location beacon (PLB) that is clipped onto a life jacket and alerts others on the boat that someone has slipped overboard.

So, get out on the water and enjoy bouncing through the waves and viewing the world from a different angle – seaward.

Carl Deane

Intro to Rock Climbing

Those who are interested in learning how to rock climb only need to master a few key concepts before attempting their first official climb.

There are many efficient ways to begin rock climbing such as joining a rock-climbing club, finding an experienced friend for instruction or even a qualified instructor. The gear necessary to start rock climbing includes shoes, a harness, belay device, locking carabiner, chalk bag, rope, a tarp/rope bag, and chalk.

Below, Carl Deane briefly explores the basics of beginning to learn how to rock climb, including how to get started and what specific gear will be needed.

How To Get Started Rock Climbing

As mentioned earlier, the best way to begin getting familiar with rock climbing is by joining a rock climbing club, getting instruction from an experienced friend or certified instructor, and starting regularly visiting a local rock climbing wall. All of these activities will help beginning rock climbers get an understanding of the basic fundamentals of climbing.

It is recommended that most beginning climbers spend as much time as they can observing more seasoned climbers in the way that they move and handle their gear. Bouldering (a practice where climbers only climb a short distance off the ground then land on padded ground once they fall) is also recommended as a great way to get comfortable with climbing.

Many rock-climbing gyms offer rock climbing clinics to help beginning rock climbers get some instructed practice. Making a point to establish friendships that center around rock climbing will ensure that new climbers continuously learn about rock climbing while simultaneously allowing them to practice in an observed and safer environment.

Gear Needed

Many people that are new to rock climbing do not start out with all the necessary gear. Rather, it is accumulated throughout the hobby as they continue to gain more climbing experience. First purchases of any new rock climber should, however, include chalk, a chalk bag, a harness, rock climbing shoes and a belay device.

It is important that new climbers get familiar with their gear at a gym or with experienced friends before going out solo and attempting to climb. This will ensure that the gear is being worn and used properly and the climber stays safe in case of any unfortunate accidents or struggle.

Carl Deane

Begin Climbing Outside

Once climbers have become familiar enough with the process of rock climbing to go outside and use their own equipment, they should do so to get some quality practice. At first, climbers should still stick with a group to ensure their first experience climbing isn’t an unsafe one. No matter how experienced a climber gets, it’s never recommended to climb outside alone.


Although rock climbing can seem like an extreme hobby, it is surely rewarding with the proper setup and practice. With gear such as chalk bags, belay devices, harnesses and rope, the hobby comes with its fair share of investment in the beginning.

However, once climbers have practiced (studies say an average of four years) they can become truly comfortable rock climbing and graduate from a beginner to an experienced climber. With patience, the proper gear, good instruction, observation and perseverance, anyone can become a good rock climber.

Carl Deane

Must-See Destinations While Backpacking in Eastern Europe

Backpacking through Europe has long been a treasured tradition for those looking to get the most out of a European trip while sticking to a low budget.

There’s something about the freedom of backpacking in Eastern Europe that makes the whole experience even more memorable. There’s a freedom to wander, to go off the beaten path and explore areas that rarely get the attention they deserve.

But with so many possible routes and destinations, planning a backpacking itinerary can be daunting. It’s difficult to see everything, but Carl Deane says to consider these amazing backpacking destinations discussed below for an unforgettable journey.

The Baltics

Often overshadowed by some of its larger neighbors, the Baltic region is an underrated backpacking experience. Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania all offer gorgeous, old city centers, super-affordable hostels, and unique sights.

In Estonia, there is horseback riding on the island of Saaremaa, then head to Latvia for bungee jumping in Sigulda National Park and Lithuania to marvel at the downright strange statues in Klaipeda.


Almost everyone who visits Prague comes back raving about their experience. Listen to them. The city is downright magical.

Yes, it gets even more bombarded with tourists year after year, but there is still room in the Czech Republic for fantastic backpacking adventures along its cobblestone streets. The city is dotted with islands and green parks, as well as the iconic Charles Bridge and Hradčany castle.

Česky Krumlov

While in the Czech Republic you won’t want to miss backpacking through this enchanting city and its landmark castles.

The Middle Ages-era town center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is remarkably well-preserved and home to the annual Five-Petalled Rose Festival, when the entire town becomes a medieval village once more, complete with jousting, artisans, and costumed musicians.

Carl Deane


Rising as one of the most popular spots to visit in the entire continent, Croatia offers everything from 3,600 coastline miles along the Mediterranean, fantastic nightlife, and surprisingly affordable accommodations and restaurants.

Don’t forget to explore the island of Vis, hike through the Dinaric Alps, and check out the charming villages tucked away from the main tourist stops.


Bulgaria isn’t visited nearly as much by tourists as some of its fellow Eastern Europe locales, but it’s a remarkable place that’s a vibrant mix of traditional cultures, including Russia and Turkey.

On the other hand, it’s also a young and modern city, with numerous art galleries, nightclubs, and more, making it an exotic yet accessible backpacking destination.


Backpapers with a taste for distinctive nightlife offerings head to Serbia’s capital.

For a bohemian night owl feel, check out the Skadarlija quarter and the street art scene throughout the city or explore the hidden gem of Zemun, a district dripping in ancient history minutes outside of Belgrade’s center that’s also home to exquisite showcases of modern art.

For an additional unique experience, walk through the underground tunnels of ancient Kalemegdan with a tour guide and a glass of wine (or two).