How to Pack a Carry On Like a Pro

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I love to pack! Said no one ever. Fret not! We are sharing some of our methods to make packing a whole lot easier.

I was tired of paying at the minimum $25 a pop to check a bag and almost always packing many items that I ended up not even using. So, when it came time for my 9 day trip to Hawaii, I was determined to save some cash and pack light. So, a carry on was all I needed. Here's how I packed all my essentials plus a few extras all into my carry on luggage. 

1. Choose your luggage


I purchased the New Directions® I Fly Free - Delta Blue with Gold Croc from Belk. I love the color and the multi-directional spin makes it super easy to navigate. Most airlines allow one FREE carry on bag and one personal item. So, I also brought a large tote bag for my extras and left some space for items that I purchased during my travels. 

2. Pick your outfits

It helps to visualize your outfits. I started out by laying each of my daily outfits out on the bed. Then I took away three items that I questioned even wearing. Be sure to check the weather to make sure that you are packing weather appropriate clothing. Also pack according to your activities/events. If you are going hiking, swimming or to a Gala, you'll want to bring the right attire. Also consider packing dual purpose outfits like jeans and tops that can be worn interchangeably. 

3. Roll and rubber band


To maximize space and minimize wrinkles, I roll all of my clothes and secure them with a rubber band. Rolling clothes saves the most space in a suitcase. I start out rolling larger clothing like jeans and maxi dresses then layer shirts and sun dresses. 


4. Pack undies in a Ziploc bag

To keep undies together, I fold or roll them and pack them in a plastic bag. Bring an extra gallon size bag or plastic grocery bag for dirty clothes. 

5. Pack your shoes

Shoes are one of the most heaviest items you will have in your luggage so give some thought to selecting which ones you'll pack. Think dual purpose again, pick a pair of shoes that you can wear with a variety of the outfits that you packed. Along with the pair that you plan on wearing, you’ll have enough. Wear the largest, bulkiest shoes on the plane, that way you save room in your luggage. Use the edges and corners of your suitcase to ensure every crack and crevice are used. 

6. Toiletries

If you plan to bring only a carry on which is usually how I travel, be sure that all of your liquids are in 3.4 ounce or smaller containers and fit within a quart size baggie. I pack a toiletries bag with soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, sunscreen, hand sanitizer. 

Traveling with only a carry on has been extremely liberating for me. I have the freedom and flexibility I need plus I save money. I hope you find these travel tips useful.

Cheers to travel! 

BONUS: Click here to get my travel essentials packing list

What are some of your travel must haves?