Packing carry-on only is the way Chris and I prefer to travel: It’s light, it’s easy, and it saves time.
I used to think it was too difficult to pack everything I’d need in a carry-on, but I’ve changed my tune. Think it will be too hard? Challenge yourself: just to plan to pack in your carry-on. Seriously. Just say that you will and then do it. Amazingly, I still always overpack even with the limited space.
Here are guidelines I follow to make sure I pack well for each trip…
I use a carry-on roller suitcase from Away that has tons of compartments, buckles, and zips that make the interior of the case clean and orderly. I also have a great weekender bag that fits under the seat in front of me that I always bring along. In a pinch (or, really, on a budget airline like Spirit or EasyJet), this tote is my only bag.
Here’s what I always do before I pack for a trip:
- Check the baggage limits and specifications of the airline I’m flying. I’ve seen too many people get stopped and charged extra at the gate. No thank you!
- Peruse Accuweather’s extended forecast for my destination.
- Stock up on toiletry samples. If you buy your products at a department store, ask for sample sizes of your products.
- Compress it! Compression bags are LEGIT. For our trip last summer we had to pack for three different climates, and compression bags made carry-on-only possible.
- Use packing cubes sparingly — they’re great in theory, but I tend to use only one or two at a time. I find the smaller ones to be the most helpful.
I use my rolling suitcase for clothing and other various and sundry items. Also: Roll your clothes! It saves so much room.
Here’s my current suitcase situation for 2 weeks in Italy (summer climate = HOT, maybe some rain):
- Undergarments (in a packing cube)
- Bathing suit
- 5 easy dresses
- 1 pair of linen pants
- 1 jumpsuit
- 3 tees
- Too many shoes (ballet flats, leather sandals, Stan Smiths, and a practical wedge to feel dressed up for dinner)
- A cute crossbody purse
- A lightweight scarf
- Pretty earrings for dinner dates
- Rain jacket
- Vegan leather moto jacket for cool nights
- Travel size dual voltage iron
- Dual voltage flat iron
- Travel size humidifier
I use my weekender bag for everything else, especially the things I might want to access on the flight.
- Liquids & other toiletries (i.e., glasses, make-up, comb, toothbrush, meds/vitamins)
- iPhone, earbuds, charger
- Camera, lenses, & camera bag
- Compression socks
- Power converter/adapter
- Snacks & gum
- Collapsible water bottle
What to Wear on the Plane
Dress for comfort! NO JEANS ALLOWED on 12+ hour flights.
- Bulkiest shoes (Stan Smiths for this flight — I’ll trade them out for my compression socks once I get settled in.)
- Running tights
- Soft t-shirt
What tips do you use while packing for your longer trips? Or is checking a bag no big deal?