Traveling creates such anxiety for me. Whether I’m traveling with my kids or not, I get anxious. I always think of the worst case scenarios. TSA changes only add to the stress of traveling. This is why I’ve always checked my bags and carry on the minimum. Things changed when the anxiety of losing my checked bags weighed in on me. I decided that doing a carry-on for the first time would be the better option. I knew doing a carry-on for an international trip would be a challenge too. I am a planner and I knew if I planned accordingly and packed efficiently, I would be less anxious. I even learned a few new packing tips for my carry-on.
When I think carry-on, I think about a purse and maybe a tote with a few things. I knew that a few things weren’t enough for this international trip. I set off to write down all the things I would need for my trip and got to planning. I asked all my carry-on loving friends for advice. I was well on my way to becoming a carryon pro! This is what I’ve learned with 12 efficiently carry on packing tips!
1- Carry-on Suitcase set- Get a suitcase that is carry-on size. Most come in a set of 3 which includes carry-on suitcase, small tote and toiletry bag. I was able to layer the bags in a larger tote for easy handling in the airport. Eventually they all fit perfectly in the suitcase after I passed TSA. The smaller tote doubled as a tote to carry around with ease during my trip. The toiletry bag was on hand during TSA check point for easy access to all my liquids. There was no need to dig in my suitcase.
2- Make a list- Know what you are packing and divide in lists (i.e. outfits, makeup, liquids, shoes, other) This helped me keep in mind everything I was going to take but also eliminate what I don’t need. It’s also a great reminder for things you may forget. Start your list making early and refer to it as your pack.
3- Do not fold- Folding clothes made things bulky. I instead rolled my clothing. It left much more space to pack for longer trips or bring home some goodies for the family.
4- Organize outfits- Stack outfits together I rolled each item individually but also placed complete outfit in the same area. This made packing easy when I went over my check list of outfits. It was also easy to pack and unpack on my trip.
5- Put it in a bag- Ziplocs are your best friend because they help keep small things organized. I place not only liquids in a bag, but I had one for makeup and one for other non-liquid toiletries (i.e. razor, deodorant, and hair pins)
6- TSA is always right- Check what TSA requirements are for the liquids you are packing as well as the size of bag you are allowed to carry them in.
7- Consider your shoes- Pack shoes in small tote or save some space at the bottom of your luggage. keep in mind packing less than 3 pairs is ideal (this includes the ones you are wearing). Individually wrap shoes in grocery bags. This not only helps keep them work great
8- Be heavy- Wear your heaviest articles of clothing. Sweaters, jeans, and sneakers can be some of the heaviest items in our carry on. Consider wearing them or not packing them if they are not a must.
9- A tote for the win- Have a tote large enough to place your handbag, small shoe tote and any other must haves for easy access. My agenda and laptop fit perfectly into my large tote along with my purse and shoe tote. This helps create space in your suitcase.
10- Use all your space- Get creative. Since my small tote bag where I store my shoes wasn’t full I place my toiletries in it for easy access. On my returning flight I had to get creative and move some of the smaller items from my suitcase over to my carry on tote so I could bring home larger souvenirs.
Do you carry-on or check your bags?
Read more of Ruby’s writing at Growing Up Blackxican