Packing A Carry On In 3 Easy Steps

It only takes losing your baggage once to make you rethink your packing strategies. Or at least it did for me.

When I first began flying my only concept for how to pack was, of course, to check a bag. I had this mentality of I’d rather pack it and not need it versus needing it and not having it. Although that mentality does work in certain situations, however packing for travel it does not. I always found myself packing more than I needed, not having enough room for the things I wanted to bring home, and having the struggle of toting around a massive bag around. I mean, for a girls trip to Vegas for three days (THREE DAYS, people!) I had a checked bag just for shoes. Oh, and I only wore one pair along with sandals the whole trip.

Flash forward a few years later, plus the addition of my husband, and I quickly learned a more efficient way to travel: a carry on. One thing my husband and I immediately bonded over when we met was our love for travel. The thought of packing a bag, jumping on the next flight and jet setting to who-knows-where was, and continues to be, an exhilarating idea. However, the way in which we traveled couldn’t have been more different. He was capable of packing everything he would need neatly into his Jack Spade duffle bag whereas I had a hard time just thinking about how I would fit everything into my newly purchased carry on.

Pros to Carrying On:
+ No checked bag fee
+ No potential lost baggage
+ Quicker getting in/out of an airport

However, over the years I can say that I’ve grown a lot since that checked bag girl of the past and have really learned the carry on game. With us heading for the airport yet again this week my mind has been all about what I’m going to pack for our trip. Here are some of the tips and tricks to packing for a carry on that I live by no matter where our destination lies.
Tips & Tricks for Packing a Carry-On. Try these helpful tips for when you’re planning your next trip.

Plan & Coordinate
I will always make the case that it’s much harder for women to pack a carry on than a man simply because we have outfits that need to be practical, comfortable and, of course, cute. Whereas men, they can wear the same shirt and shorts all throughout their trip with no problems. With this being said, us ladies have to get creative and resourceful when planning outfits to pack. Here are a few well known tips:

+ To get the most out of the space in your bag, plan and coordinate outfits that share common pieces.
+ Always pack the basics such as camisoles, cardigans, neutral shirts and jeans (don’t forget your underwear and bras!)
+ Dresses are easy outfits to pack and they work for warm or cold weather!
+ Pack accessories such as jewelry, scarves, tights, or hats.
+ Use Pinterest for outfit inspiration!
+ Always check the weather prior to packing so you know what to prepare for. It’s a no-brainer but a step that’s easily forgotten.


Genius Space-Saving Ideas for Packing Your Suitcase

Saving Space & Packing Smart
The ultimate key to fitting multiple outfits in a carry on is about how you pack it all. Be smart and try to fold, roll, or squeeze as much as you can to make room for your clothes. Also, consider wearing larger items like boots and outerwear while flying rather than packing them in your luggage to save room.

+ Save space by rolling your clothes, bag them using gallon-sized ziplock bags or use packing cubes.
+ Take 2-3 pairs of different shoes depending on where you’re going and reuse them for different outfits.
+ Use a shower cap or bags to keep shoes from getting your packed clothes dirty.
+ Plan a comfy airport outfit and think in layers.


14 Clever Travel Hacks To Make Your Trip Awesome

Put Your Large Purse To Work
If you don’t have a larger tote or purse it would be wise to invest in one. I highly recommend Longchamp personally because mine have been everywhere with me and I use them as my work purse when not traveling. Longchamp totes are durable, waterproof and don’t have flashy labels, which is great for traveling overseas. They are easy to clean too!


What’s in my bag?

+ My iPhone (always) and sometimes my iPad for entertainment.
+ Earbuds for the plane.
+ Wallet on hand that’s easily accessible for when navigating the airport.
+ Sunglasses and my regular glasses.

Keep room for:

+ Any snacks or drinks purchased after the security checkpoint
+ Magazines or books
+ Anything your husband wants you to carry 😉

DIY Travel Hacks That Will Change How You Pack Forever

Never leave home without these carry on flight essentials! See more and other travel tips for packing for a carry on!

Outfit | Purse: Longchamp | Earbuds: Beats by Dre | Wallet: Kate Spade
Luggage: Longchamp (similar) | Scarf: Shein | Hooded Neck Pillow

Do you have any travel hacks or tips to share? What are your favorites that you know are tried and true?

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  • When Jordan and I first got married you could still check bags for free so we would usually share one larger suitcase. We both thought we could never take only a carry on! Well the times have changed and I’ve learned to leave things behind. Particularly when it comes to hair tools, toiletries and shoes. It can be done!

    • Oh I remember the days! Today travel has become so difficult and expensive. We already pay $100 each way to travel with our pup. I’ve had to learn to leave things behind too…and realize what I really need versus what I think I’d need. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Great tips, sister! We are adventuring to Colorado over New Years to see family, and I’m borrowing ski outerwear, so we’re each taking a single carry-on. I’ll remember these!

    • Thanks Chelsea and safe travels! My life was changed once I got smart and learned how to pack everything I would need into a carry on – I was skeptical when my husband first brought up the idea. Of course, there are exceptions and sometimes a checked bag is necessary, but these little tips and tricks have saved me so much room and I love the feeling of using everything I bring with me.

  • I’m a pro at overpacking. Since my boyfriend is stationed in MO I’ve spent a lot of time in airports. I always overpack and don’t wear half of the things that I bring. I’d like to fit it all in a carry-on someday, but it’s so tough. Great tips though!

    • Oh it totally is and I used to be the very same way! I’ve only just begun to get this packing game down and I’m happy that I’m able to pack with more purpose versus just throwing everything in. Plus I like carry ons because I can just get on and off the plane no problem and not have to worry about baggage claim! 🙂

  • I’m so horrible at packing. I take every imaginable thing with me. Great tips!

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