How To Pack Everything You Need Into One Carry-On

With the cost of baggage increasing, the risk of lost or damaged luggage and the unsavoury fact that checking a bag means the bag will touch many surfaces (germy surfaces), it’s smart to stick with a carry-on.

But how to make it work? Maybe you’re an over-packer who always thinks you have to travel with a checked bag. Maybe you’ve always wanted to know how those backpackers can get a month’s worth of items in one carry-on. It’s an art, but it can be done.

Decide what to pack

First, create a checklist for yourself. The key to packing is to get out of the mindset that you need a whole wardrobe in the first place. There are certain items that—if misplaced, ruined or eaten by a bear—you can always replace. Underwear, socks and toiletries don’t need to fill the space of your bag—just pack enough for your stay. In some cases, you can pack items that can be worn many times such as leggings, a plain t-shirt, khaki pants and a button-down shirt. Then dress them up or down as needed with accessories.

For bulkier items like a coat or boots, wear them instead of packing them. A coat can always be used as a substitute pillow or blanket on the flight.

Roll your clothes

I admit, I’ve always been a folder of clothes. I didn’t know that rolling them was even a concept, yet here we are, learning together. Rolling is an excellent alternative—it keeps the items compact while making it easier for you to see what you’ve packed at a glance, keeping you from having to wildly search through your bags a particular item. It also makes repacking a much faster process.

Use packing cubes

Packing cubes’ main function is to compartmentalise and organise your belongings through compressing your items and creating better use of your bag space. Visually, they look like square/rectangular fabric versions of tupperware, but sized for clothing.

Packing cubes make your belongings easier to find, are great for organisation, keep items tightly packed (as they won’t be able to move about) and, again, make repacking more efficient.

Put your toiletries in the middle

You always want to put your toiletries in the middle of your carry-on. This will reduce the risk of them spilling or leaking. Also, follow the standard guidelines for sizing and always place your toiletries inside a clear, plastic bag.

Stick to one colour palette

To keep yourself from overpacking, make sure all of your clothes coordinate with each other. The easiest way to do that is to stick to one colour palette. This will keep you from wanting to put everything you have in your closet into your carry-on. Sticking with a darker colour is a great way to hide stains and sweat marks if you don’t expect to have access to laundry facilities during your trip.

The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple and develop a system. Travelling involves a lot of moving parts. Get your packing technique down to a science, and that’s one concern you can cross off your list.


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