The Carry-On Queen: How to Pack Lighter and Smater

consider myself a carry-on queen. I use a two-piece luggage combo consisting of a hard-shell 20-inch carry-on and a 14-inch mini cosmetic case. The luggage has spinner wheels, which help me get through the airport quickly and efficiently.

When I pack, I use one side of my luggage for shoes and pajamas. I use the enclosed other side for my clothes. In my mini cosmetic bag, I keep all my necessities, such as toiletries, wallet/passport, headphones, hair products, sunglasses, a pen, and a small notepad. Depending on the occasion, I may add additional items as needed, such as books, makeup, and so on.

For warm-weather destinations (5–7 day stay), I pack lightweight clothing, such as summer dresses (both casual and dressy), a few shorts, a few tops, bathing suits, a dinner dress, or a linen outfit. I like to choose a few sandals, heels, and/or sneakers that will match every outfit. This way, I have room in my bag and don’t have to worry about carrying 10 pairs of shoes. I also consider the shoes that I am wearing while traveling to go with a few outfits in my bag. This way, I have less to carry and enough outfits for my stay.

If I am traveling to a cold-weather destination, I suggest doing the same thing as packing for the summer, but you will need a coat. I either wear a coat or a heavy sweater on the plane. Of course, if I get warm or uncomfortable on the plane, I can always remove it, but that is less storage to be used in my carry-on that can be used for jeans, sweatpants, lightweight sweaters, and tops. I wear boots or sneakers while traveling and I add 2 pairs of sneakers in my carry-on that will match each outfit in my suitcase. The key is to pack smarter, not harder.

Last but not least, the way you fold your clothes is important. Summer dresses, bathing suits, leggings, and tops can be folded into a small square and stuffed on the outer side of your luggage. Pants, lightweight sweaters, sweatpants, and so on can be rolled and placed in the center of the bag. Some clothing can lay flat on top of everything if you need to pack additional items. If that doesn’t work, Amazon carries various sizes of vacuum storage bags that can give you more storage room in your carry-on by placing your clothing inside of a bag and sucking the air out of the bag, shrinking your items. This is quick and it gives you a lot more storage in your carry-on.

Here are some additional tips for packing a carry-on:

  • Only pack the essentials.
  • Choose versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them to save space.
  • Use packing cubes to keep your belongings organized.
  • Pack a small cosmetic bag with your toiletries.
  • Bring a change of clothes in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost.
  • Wear your heaviest shoes while traveling to save space in your bag.
  • Be sure to bring your passport and any other necessary documentation.

By following these tips, you can easily pack a carry-on for any trip.

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