How to Successfully Pack in Your Carry-On

Welcome previous visitors and new!! Today, I wanted to write a quick post about how to successfully pack in a carry-on. I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve that will not only save you time, but save you the hassle of checking in.

I have a tremendously strong love for travel, I do not, though, have a romantic affair with airports. But, for most travel, airports are essential. And don’t get me wrong I praise airports for allowing me the ability to not only see the world but do it in a relatively efficient manner. But with this I'll just end up getting into a rant about airports, which is not why you clicked on this post.

First off, I think it's important to establish that packing in your carry-on has a lot to do with your destination and your days of travel. If you are going skiing in the Alps you probably shouldn’t pack in a carry-on/ I'm pretty sure that's not even a possibility. But, if you are spending the weekend in Paris or maybe London then boom carry-on is the way. Now you might be thinking okay yeah sure a weekend but what if I'm staying for more than just two nights? Well that's a possibility too. The key is to be selective as hell. I'll use my trip to Singapore as my example for this post, that way I can prove that it’s actually possible to survive without half your closet, I know sounds impossible but it’s true.

So, for my Singapore trip I was gone for four nights and five days. I used these little steps below when deciding what to bring and what not to bring. This was a little bit of an experiment for me, seeing as I don't usually travel in my carry-on, especially for these types of trips. But it was successful in the end, and I even had some pieces to spare. 

  1. The first step is to check the weather. Do not expect to just guess how the weather will be, you can never be sure until you check and even when you check the weather can obviously vary. Singapore is warm and humid which obviously makes packing in a carry on easier because you don’t need any heavy or thick clothes. Packing carry-on is most definitely easier if you are packing for a relatively warm climate. Your clothes is lighter and more compressible. Also dresses. Dresses are light, small, can fit into the little cracks of your suitcase AND it's one outfit, meaning you don’t need to bring both a top and bottom. Boom easy.

  2. Second. Be selective. If you are traveling for adventure then you do not need to dress for New York fashion week. Be practical in what you bring and ONLY BRING WHAT YOU NEED. I am the queen of over packing. I used to end up not even getting close to using half of the things I brought on trips because I loved specific pieces that I brought. But, obviously don’t restrict yourself so much that you are going to be wearing gross, dirty clothes by the end of your trip. But pants are not gonna be unwearable after one wear, so bring one or two pairs of shorts (pants or leggings - pants are harder with space because they fill up more which is something you should consider). For my trip I bought a pair of jean shorts, blue shorts and these flowy light shorts. Now yes that's three pairs but the flowy shorts fill about as much room as a pair of socks.

  3. Third. In continuation with two, pack a simple base, shorts/pants/skirt/etc., (solid colors) and then bring more different tops. That way you don’t wear the same shirt twice, which you totally can but sometimes clean is nice and needed. Now because there still is a little bit of queen over packer left in me I brought like 5 tops. Obviously that is not necessary when I also have dresses with me but I like to pick my outfits based on my mood but more importantly based on the weather. So really, it’s okay to bring a little more than you need BUT only a LITTLE. Remember this is a carry-on. This thing needs to fit in the overhead compartment, and you also need to be able to lift it up there. 

  4. Fourth. Bring one cardigan. Obviously you need something to throw over yourself if your in a chilly restaurant or maybe if it gets chilly outside. But you really only need one. I brought a light grey long cardigan because it fits with every piece of clothing I brought and it's light enough to throw in my backpack but can still keep me warm.

  5. Fifth. Another tip in relation to adjusting to the weather. For this trip I am traveling in a warm turtle neck sweater (always freezing on planes) and a jean jacket. This way traveling with the jean jacket on gives me another option on the trip for more coverage, but it doesn't fill up room in your suitcase. #winning

  6. Sixth. The way you pack your bag is essential. Depending on how you fold your clothes and how you place them can give a lot more room that you realize. This obviously is also dependent of your type of suitcase but if it's a typical roller bag then these little tips might be helpful. On one side of the suitcase it is divided up into three little slots because of the handle coming through the middle of the bag. These little slots can be quite annoying because of the awkward placing of clothes or so I used to think. Start by placing all of your little things into the slots, such as socks or maybe dresses and t-shirts that don’t wrinkle. That way you fill up the spaces and don’t waste the open space. Another thing is rolling or folding your shirts and pants three times. Making them into this rectangular shape, you can place them into the suitcase against one of the walls and stack a bunch next to each other. (A little "explanatory" below). I promise, if you haven’t tried this you will be shocked by the effect it can have.

  7. Seventh. Lastly, be smart about your "personal item". With every flight you are allowed a carry on and a personal item. So really you can bring two bags, they just need to be inside the regulated size and don’t be that person who brings two roll on's, like there is not enough room in the plane for that kind of stuff, so just don’t (unless you have like four kids with you, then you do you). So you may not be able to bring two roll on's but you can bring a backpack or bag and the regulations aren't ridiculously regarding these. So bring a bag that's big enough to be carried with your roll on (without getting carried away) and can hold all of your personal items is perfect. I bring my Day bag. It’s like a bottomless pit actually but it fits all these extra things that I just need to bring. Such as my computer, a magazine, a book, my notebook, passport, headphone, etc., you get the idea. But most importantly I keep my toiletries in this bag, simply for the reason that it makes security just that little bit faster. If it’s in this bag and not in your roll on you can just quickly pull it out with your computer or iPad with no hassle of opening and finding it in your roll on. Not only will you be happy because you got through security faster but all of those around you will also be happy that you aren’t that person who takes 10 minutes trying to get all there stuff out and then still forget to take their belt off… We all know those people. :)


But I think that’s it. Now none of these are mind-blowing or magical, it's actually quite straight forward but we don’t always think of the simple solutions. I hope you found this at least a little helpful and I wish you luck on your next carry-on adventure! Get out there and travel! It's a gift that keeps on giving, through memories and life changing experiences.