Carry-on luggage only travelers are elite packers.
But most people pack more than necessary for every trip. And that’s bad, especially for your bank account.
Over-sized and additional luggage fees are unwanted expenses. Also, lost baggage can be costly, especially without travel insurance.
Don’t sweat it. We’ll teach you how to pack your carry-on luggage like a pro.
Stick with us. You’ll never waste money on extra baggage fees again.
Here we go.
Disclaimer: No necessities will be left behind in the packing of your carry-on luggage.
Use Packing Lists
Packing is a science. And science is orderly. Bring order to your packing with a list. What’s the weather like where you’re going? Which activities do you have planned? Give yourself a day or two to get organized. Write down everything you intend to travel with. Then find important documents. Do laundry if need be. This will give you peace of mind and prevent last minute forgetfulness.
Roll Your Clothes
Travelers often debate the best way to pack clothes. Folding is the neatest way to pack. It works well for easily wrinkled clothing. Bundle wrapping also works well for preventing creases. To save space, roll clothes vertically and tightly. This works best with nylon, polyester, silk, satin and wool.
Toiletries and Grooming Products
Who doesn’t want to look and smell good on vacation? Absolutely no one. But you don’t have to bring the whole bathroom cabinet. Don’t pack shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash or lotion. Most hotels, hostels and Airbnbs provide toiletries/grooming products. Just make sure you check in advance.
If you need specific products, use travel size versions. Transfer all liquids into bottles of 100 ml or less. Next, use multipurpose products whenever possible (IE: 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner). Finally, basic grooming products are available everywhere. They may even be cheaper than buying them locally. If you’re low maintenance, buy your products upon arrival.
Tip: Buy a pack of contact lens containers. You can get them online or at a department store. Fill them with your products and hit the road.
Travel veterans know the power of layering up. This packing hack is tried, tested and true. You don’t have to drown yourself in layers of clothing. But wear a few of your biggest clothing items. Airports and airplanes are notoriously cold. Wear your sweatpants, sweater and clunky sneakers. Wrap your jacket around your waist too. Is this strategy sexy? Not one bit. Is it effective? Every single time.
Fill Carry-On Luggage with Items Within Items
Every item in your carry-on luggage should store or contain something else. It’s an effective but often overlooked strategy. Here are a few examples of how to do it. Remember those travel size bottles we mentioned? Great. Wrap them in socks or underwear. Next, roll your underwear/socks into pairs. Take the bundles and place them in your shoes.
To avoid smelling like feet, put them in a plastic bag first. BOOM! You just scored a 3 for 1. Repeat this with all items that have pockets. Jeans, jackets, sweaters, sweatpants—they’re all fair game. Fill pockets with chargers, undergarments, jewelry—anything that fits.
Also, here’s a short list of items that making packing easy:
- Travel Bands: To keep cumbersome clothes neat and compact
- Luggage Scale: To weigh your carry-on luggage and help avoid fees
- Compression Storage Bags: To get the most out of your luggage space
- Packing Cubes: To organize your suitcase like a pro
- Travel Size Bottle Packs: To carry your favorite grooming products
- Cord Tacos: To keep cords untangled and in one place
We get it. We really do. The smell and feeling of a real book cannot be replaced. But this post is about traveling as lightly as possible. And hard copies take up lots of space. If you have a mobile device, download whatever you’re reading. Smartphones have loads of apps to make digital reading easy. We promise, this won’t make you any less of a literature purist.
Use Soft Carry-On Luggage
Choose the right type of carry-on luggage. It’s as important as what and how you pack. Admittedly, a shiny, hard outer shell on wheels looks great. It’s easy to carry too. But it’s less space savvy than a soft-shell bag. They’re made of fabric. And that means there’s room for expansion. Travel with a duffel bag (many have wheels) or soft suitcase. You’ll be glad for the extra space.
Color coordinating makes packing and traveling easier. With many of your pieces being interchangeable, you’ll need less of them. Mix neutrals with similar colors and you’ll be set. If you’re photogenic, add pops of color for extra flair. Instagram will be proud! But remember, dark colors absorb heat quicker than light ones. So, stick to light colors when visiting hot countries.