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Packing a carry on only can seem like a daunting task at first. If you do it once though, you will never want to go back to checking luggage. While it does require a bit more work and planning when you are able to pack in only a carry on, the trip is less stressful.
No more wondering if your luggage will make it to your final destination. You don’t have to wait in line to check your bag – you get to go straight to security when you arrive at the airport. That is, as long as you have a mobile ticket.
You also don’t have to find baggage claim after your flight and wait on your bags to show up. Not to mention the money you will save by not checking a bag.
There really are so many benefits to packing a carry on only. Here are a few tips to help you on your first time trying to pack a carry on only for your trip.
Packing A Carry On Only
1. Choose the Right Carry-On
When buying a carry-on you don’t want to make the choice lightly. Do your research before you purchase any luggage. You will want to find out the size requirements that budget airlines have because those will be the smallest requirements you have to meet. Check these because you don’t want to limit yourself on what airlines you can and cannot fly.
Figure out which style you prefer as well. Do you want a rolling bag, duffel, or backpack? Which will be most comfortable for you? Do you want a hard-sided or soft shell bag?
If you can, go look at the bags in person and hold them so you get a better sense of what you like. You will be carrying the thing through the entire airport.
2. Do Laundry On Your Trip
Go ahead and plan on doing laundry if your trip is longer than a few days – probably longer than 4 – 5 days. This allows you to pack super light so you have plenty of room for shoes, toiletries, and accessories.
You will likely be able to find a Laundromat or there will be laundry facilities in the hotel you stay at. Worst case you can turn your sink into a wash basin.
Bring along some laundry detergent sheets and it will be no problem to wash your clothing in the sink.
3. Get Compression Packing Cubes
Packing cubes help with organization because you can keep your different clothing types separate. They can also help with space too.
Compression packing cubes zip down so they take up less space. You can buy zippered compression cubes or ones that vacuum seal.
The zippered ones are much easier because you don’t need the vacuum cleaners to seal the bags up. Packing cubes are the perfect gift idea for any traveller.
4. Be Okay With Less
It can be difficult to pack when you feel like you need a sporty and dressy outfit for each day. It’s easy to overpack when you don’t have a plan. Why not wear the same outfit twice though? Wash a load of clothes halfway through your trip and you have just doubled the outfits that you brought.
If you are worried about the photos, no one will realize how many times you wore the same outfit. You can also bring different accessories to style the outfit in different ways each time you wear it.
Get used to the idea that you don’t need a new outfit every day. You can get by with wearing the same thing twice. A general rule of thumb is to lay out everything you want to take and then cut that in half.
5. Start Packing Early
Make a list and start the packing process early. Then stick to your list! Like I said, you want to lay out everything you want to bring and then cut it in half. To do this you need to start early.
If you can start getting your items together at least a few days before your trip, then you can slowly whittle the list down.
As you make a plan on what you will do during your trip you may be able to cross things off your list. You may also add things, but it’s likely that you will realize some of the things you have packed are unnecessary.
6. Use Your Personal Item Wisely
Don’t forget you have a personal item that you can use. Double-check the airlines’ guidelines but many will let you use a regular-sized backpack as a personal item.
You can fit a lot of clothes, electronics, and other needed items in a backpack. Don’t forget about this space when planning out how you will pack. The best part is women can always stuff their purses in a larger bag so you don’t have to use a small purse as your personal item.
Some budget airlines don’t allow a personal item at all so you will have to take that into consideration. They usually charge an additional fee for one if they aren’t allowed.
7. Opt for Solid Toiletries
Solid toiletries weigh less than liquid ones and typically take up less space. You also don’t have to worry about the 3-1-1 ratio when bringing solid toiletries.
You can get shampoo, conditioner, and soap all in solid form. Do your research on the brand that you buy and you may end up liking it better than your liquid toiletries.
Another option here is to rely on the toiletries supplied by the hotel you are visiting. Hotels don’t always have the best quality on hand, but if you want to pack really light then this is the best option.
8. Layer Your Clothes
This is especially important during the winter. Bring clothes that match with multiple different pieces and that are easily layered. Instead of large coats and chunky sweaters, bring multiple layers of clothing that can keep you warm when used together.
The multiple layers will take up less space than one giant coat in your carry-on. It’s also terrible if you try to wear a giant coat through the airport. You are sure to get hot and sweaty if you do that.
9. Be Selective With Footwear
Shoes can take up a large portion of space in your bag. This means you will want to wear the bulkiest shoes that you plan on bringing.
Choose footwear that will be comfortable to wear but can form into small spaces. Sneakers, sandals, and flip-flops are all good for this.
10. Skip the Souvenirs
If you are worried about how you’ll fit your souvenirs in your bag – don’t. Instead of large souvenirs why not focus on getting some good photographs on your trip that you can print when you get home?
If you absolutely must have a souvenir then what about a postcard? Christmas ornaments are also small and don’t take up much space. Another option is a scarf or other small accessories.
Many times souvenirs will clutter up a room and you don’t do anything with them once you return home. Just be selective with what you buy on your trip. You will be surprised at what you actually need.
Packing A Carry On Only Review
Packing a carry on only is definitely doable. You just need to start packing a little earlier and be willing to cut the excess wardrobe items. You really don’t need as much as you think.
Opt for clothing items that will pack up smaller – especially when it comes to things like shoes. Pick the right carry-on bag and get the biggest one that still fits in with airline requirements. Don’t forget to utilize all the space allowed for your personal item. A backpack or large tote is perfect for this.
Make a plan and you will be going carry-on only from now on!
Anna is a content creator for giftideascafe.com where you can find fun gift ideas for anyone in your life. If you need to find a unique gift then this is the resource for you.