How to Pack Everything You Need Into a Carry On Bag

If you’ve read the news lately, then you’ve probably seen the horror stories of just how many pieces of luggage go missing all the time. From checked bags to forced checked bags, it’s no wonder people lose thousands of belongings from their flights. I haven’t checked a bag in a very long time, and I manage to pack everything I need into a carry-on bag, regardless of the length of the trip. It saves me money on bag fees and time since I'm not waiting at the baggage carousel after a flight. Want to know how I do it? Read on to find out!


How to Pack Everything You Need Into a Carry-On Bag

carry on packing tips

Packing Cubes are a Lifesaver

You seriously can’t go wrong with packing cubes when it comes to packing efficiently! These will not only help you keep your stuff organized, but they will fit a lot better in your suitcase too. This set even comes with something for your shoes so you can fit every bit of your stuff into a packing cube and throw it all in your bag.

packing cubes

**Pro tip: As your trip progresses, use one packing cube for dirty clothes. That way, when you get home, you can throw everything in the bag into the laundry easily!


Use Travel Bottles for Liquids

I highly recommend you get a set of travel bottles for your liquids. First, this will ensure that you can stay within TSA guidelines, and you won’t have to check your bag just because your face cream is the wrong size. Secondly, you can keep them organized in one easy container too! These bottles work well for holding anything from lotion to shampoo.

If you are traveling internationally, most TSA screening facilities {regardless if you have global entry or pre-check} will make you remove your liquids and place them in a clear bag. This pack comes with a clear bag so you're all set!

**Pro tip: after a trip, refill all of your bottles when you are unpacking so you are ready to go next time you pack up!


Pack Your Bag for Maximum Efficiency

If you are bringing one bag to the airport, you will want to take a few steps to ensure that you have this bag ready to go instead of just throwing everything in and hoping it will fit. These are some of my tried and true methods for making things work:


     Limit gels and liquids: It might be impossible to skip them completely, but you can always get a trial size or just bring enough for your trip in travel bottles.

     Wear your bulkiest and heaviest items on the flight: This could be jeans, sweaters, and jackets, but the important thing is that they aren’t taking up room in your suitcase.

     Store items inside of items: This includes socks in shoes and phone chargers in pockets.

     Mix and match outfits: Pack less by bringing more versatile clothing that you can wear multiple times.

  • Limit the number of shoes you bring! They are bulky and take up a lot of space! Try to play outfits around one or two pairs of shoes.
  • If you are traveling domestically, consider renting your clothes from a service like Armoire. Bring along the return bag and label and before you leave your travel location, ship back the rented items you brought. That will free up room in your luggage if you purchased anything on your trip!

If you want to try clothing rental from Armoire for your next trip, you can get 50% off your first month PLUS two bonus items!

Roll Your Clothes

Roll your clothing if you want to make the most out of the available space in your packing cubes and within your suitcase. Rolling keeps things compact and easy to see, making it easier to repack items. This also saves on space and will help you put more in that tiny carry-on bag.


Maximize Your Personal Item

Being able to bring a personal item with you on the flight is a lifesaver for longer trips. I recommend bringing a backpack or something a bit larger with a lot of space for clothes, toiletries, and other items besides what you’ll need on the flight. 

If your backpack has multiple pouches, you can easily make one dedicated for inflight needs while the other is just additional storage. You can also pack a small bag {like this} with chargers, socks, and anything else you'll need on the flight and then stow it in the seatback pocket.

You don’t need to check a bag, especially for shorter trips! With these tips, you can easily help cut down on the amount of bags you need to bring and even stick to just a single carry-on bag on those longer trips!

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!

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