The deepest breaths I take are not in barre class or during a cliffhanger episode of This Is Us. No, it’s when I place my checked bag on the scale at TSA, waiting to see if my suitcase is over or under 50 pounds. I always come close. I mean, don’t you also pack eight pairs of shoes, five books, two laptops, a sun hat, multiple pairs of sweatpants, and ankle weights for a three-day beach vacation? Well, leave it to TikTok to come up with a genius way to stash all of your excess belongings without the fear of a last-minute overweight suitcase. The secret? A pillowcase.
TikTok user @nolimitua, whose name is Anya Iakovlieva, shared a video showing her stuffing a pillowcase with clothes to provide added cushioning. Not only does this become a cozy travel companion, but it’s also a sneaky way to bring extra clothes and accessories without stuffing a suitcase to the brim or checking a bag. And it shouldn’t count as your carry-on or personal item either. “The best travel hack ever!!! 'Pillow' flies for free," she wrote on the post, which has garnered more than 17 million views since it was posted on September 18th, 2021. Iakovlieva confirmed that the hack works—in fact, she’s done this seven times while traveling.
Of course, TikTok users couldn’t love the hack more. One commenter recommended putting the clothing in a vacuum-sealed bag, which would allow travelers to double the amount of clothes that fit inside the pillow. Plus, the vacuum seal will keep any airplane germs off your clothing inside the pillowcase. Another user said she tried the hack with her neck pillow and it worked like a charm. Someone else pointed out that in the dreaded event that your suitcase gets lost, you have some clothes to get you through a few days before you’re reunited with your loved one. Genius.
According to the TSA, pillows can be brought on an airplane. Generally, they’re considered part of your “attire” rather than an additional carry-on item. However, “[t]he final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.”