As I plan for an upcoming trip, packing my luggage is on the mind. I only travel with a carry-on, generally…regardless if the trip is for a weekend, a week, or a month. One might wonder if I bring enough, especially for a month-long stay, but I’ve never uttered the words, “I didn’t pack enough.”
I have wished, however, I had packed less, especially back in the day when I brought a carry-on and a piece of checked luggage!
Here are my tips for what to pack in a carry-on. These travel tips allow you to travel light while having everything you need.
- Toiletries—I pack smaller sizes of all my makeup, skincare, and other toiletries. If I’m going somewhere for a month, I’ll generally buy full-size toiletries of basic items at my destination, so that saves space for more clothes.
- Medications—you don’t want to be separated from these if you check luggage and it goes missing
- Electronics—make sure you don’t forget your chargers and a spare battery pack (if necessary).
- Clothes—make sure you have enough clothes and undergarments to last you for several days. If you’re up to the challenge, you can pack for a month in a carry-on—just be prepared to do some laundry and make sure that you keep to a color palette and pieces that easily mix and match. Pro tip: where your bulkiest clothes, especially a coat, on the flight.
- Extra shoes—I wear my sneakers on the flight since they would take up the most space and pack a dressier pair of shoes.
- Jewelry—like my clothes, shoes, and other items, I pair down quite a bit and pack just a few pieces other than what I wear on the flight.
- Compression socks—your legs will thank you.
- Packable carry-on backpack—one of the cons, likely the only con, of traveling light is that you have nowhere to put your souvenirs. This is why I always pack a carry-on backpack (the kind that folds into itself into a square but unfolds into a full-size carry-on backpack). If worse comes to worst and I purchase more than I can carry, I can use the backpack as my carry-on and check my hard-sided bag on the way home.
With this list, you shouldn’t need to check any luggage and will be able to pack in a carry-on everything you need. You may want to carry a substantial personal item; I generally carry a large tote, which I use to hold my smaller handbag, my travel documents, passport, wallet, tablet, any other items I will want to use during the flight, and my bag of liquids (so I don’t have to unzip and zip my carry-on).
I’m a fan of a hard-sided bag with spinner wheels and a long-handle (no stooping) that expands an extra inch or two (a picture of mine is below). When I’m leaving for a trip, I don’t unzip the expansion, but it is a needed feature on the way home! Throughout the years, I’ve become a lean, mean packing machine. I have everything I need to look good, feel pretty, and stay happy, but not the extras that make me feel like a pack mule.
Here are some of my other blogs on packing:
Packing List for Vacation: https://roaminghistorian.com/2021/11/14/packing-list-for-vacation-2/
Odd Essentials I Can’t Travel Without: https://roaminghistorian.com/2021/09/05/packing-list-for-vacation/
Packing Toiletries: https://roaminghistorian.com/2021/10/03/packing-list-toiletries/
Tips for Packing Light: https://roaminghistorian.com/2018/01/21/travel-tips-packing-light/
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