Suitcase, luggage, what to pack in a carryon
Travel Tips

What to Pack in a Carry-on?

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. 

  1. 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. 
  2. Medications—you don’t want to be separated from these if you check luggage and it goes missing 
  3. Electronics—make sure you don’t forget your chargers and a spare battery pack (if necessary).  
  4. 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.  
  5. Extra shoes—I wear my sneakers on the flight since they would take up the most space and pack a dressier pair of shoes.  
  6. 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. 
  7. Compression socks—your legs will thank you. 
  8. 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/ 

Happy travels! 

Like what you just read? You can support me by following my blog and leaving comments–I love to hear from my readers. Happy travels! Amy

Suitcase, luggage, what to pack in a carryon

We sell fabulous photographic prints from our travels on our Etsy shop! These are great for home decor or as a gift. If you see a photograph on our website that isn’t in our Etsy shop, let me know and I’ll likely be able to add it to Etsy.

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