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Summer is officially here. I love traveling but waiting at baggage claim after a long day flying is not one of my favorite things. Simplifying how I pack and only taking a carry-on and personal item/backpack has eliminated my need to check bags for a few years now. I’ve learned to minimize what I pack and still manage to have all the travel essentials while on vacation.
Whether you are going away for a long weekend or an entire week here are a few tips to help you lessen the load and fit your necessities in a carry-on bag.
Tips for Packing Everything You Need in Carry-On Bags
Plan ahead – Think about what your daily activities will consist of and get the must-have items out ahead of time. Set all the items you need to pack in an area together so that you can see everything at one time.
Check the Weather – There is a big difference between a sunny 55 and cloudy windy/rainy 55. If you don’t have to take a bulky winter coat and boots don’t. A thin windbreaker/rain jacket is easy to pack and usually doesn’t wrinkle. I don’t mind adding these items to my luggage but large winter gear makes a big difference in what can fit…or not fit. A quick glimpse at the weather will prevent you from bringing unnecessary items with you.
Multipurpose Items – What items can you wear more than once? I make a cardigan work with a few outfits…wear it over a dress and a few days later with jeans, over a tank. Multipurpose items save space so finding more than one are great ways to conserve space. A cute pair of your favorite sneakers can double for a casual look and be functional for working out or a long day on your feet exploring.
Minimize the Shoes – I always try to wear my bulkiest shoes on the plane to save space in my luggage. I try to only bring one or two other pairs of shoes in my luggage and rotate them on my trip, sometimes using all 3 in one day.
Pack for Each Day or Activity – I pack everything I need for an outfit together. I place the largest item, folded nicely on the bottom of the stack and then add smaller items, finishing with the undergarments and socks. A common stack would include jeans, button-down, tank and undergarments. Once I have the stack complete I tightly roll it and place it in the suitcase. The only time I don’t include an item with an outfit is if it will be worn more than once. Those items are rolled individually and placed toward the top of the bag. Pajamas are also rolled and placed on top because they are usually the first item that will be needed after a day of traveling.
Hats – I often stuff extra socks or smaller soft items (the windbreaker I mentioned above) inside a hat to help keep its shape while it’s stuffed in the suitcase.
Toiletries – When traveling by plane I always pack two bags with bathroom essentials. One bag is small and clear and contains all liquid or gel items that need to be taken out of my bag at the security checkpoint. I buy travel sized items of all the regular products that I use to fit in this bag and comply with the TSA requirements. When traveling with more than one person, you can save space by sharing items like toothpaste and shampoo and conditioner.
*Be sure to check the TSA guidelines to make sure you are following the rules.
The bag containing liquids goes in my backpack, with my laptop, so that I only have to open one compartment when going through security. I remove the laptop and bag of liquids at the same time.
I put all my other bathroom items in another toiletry bag that is placed in my suitcase. It’s usually close to the top so that I can take it out easily when I get to my destination, but it can really go anywhere that you have room.
Medication – If you regularly take medication and/or vitamins place the amount you need for your trip, plus a few extras for emergencies, in a travel pill organizer. It’s a good idea to keep these items with your personal item so that in the rare event your carry-on must be checked you still have the medication with you.
Cords/Chargers – I use a small zipper pouch to corral all the cords and chargers that I need. I also bring a portable power bank/charger fully charged incase I don’t have access to electricity for an extended time.
Efficient packing allows me to skip baggage claim all together and I never have to worry about my luggage not arriving. I think I’m ready to plan my text adventure. What about you, where are you going on your summer vacation?
Lauren is the owner of Intentional Edit, a professional organizing company in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is passionate about being organized and efficient and making spaces beautiful at the same time. Lauren believes that a functional home and workplace that looks and feels pretty has a positive effect on all aspects of life. She hopes to inspire you to live your best-organized life! You can find out more about her on Instagram.