carry on packing tips

While you, like most travelers, are likely to spend the bulk of your time packing for a trip or vacation focused on your suitcases – your checked luggage – making sure that your carry-on is organized and packed appropriately is just as (if not more so) important.

We’ve all been on flights where we wished we remembered to bring something – a book, reading glasses, a spare set of headphones, some snacks, a sweatshirt, etc. – only to realize that we forgot to put them in our carry-on and now we have to go without.

With these carry-on packing tips you will never have to worry about that happening again!

1. Cover all the basics

We are going to dig a little bit deeper into the kinds of “extras” you’ll want to be sure you bring in your carry-on in just a moment, but it’s of the utmost importance that you make sure you have all of your “essentials” packed into your carry-on before you squeeze in anything else.

We are talking about your:
– Identification/passport
– Tickets/flight documentation
– Wallet and cell phone (as well as a charger or two)
– Your laptop or your tablet
– A pair of headphones or two
– An extra sweatshirt to keep you toasty in cold airplanes
– Anything you can’t afford to go missing on your trip

2. Organize everything on a table BEFORE packing

It can be tempting to get everything ready to be packed in your carry-on in a big pile and then just find it anywhere and everywhere in your carry-on luggage to stick it, but that’s not going to be very efficient – especially when it comes time to retrieve something you need in a cramped airplane.

Organize your items into logical “categories” and then pack all of that stuff together in the same general area of your bag. It’ll speed things up significantly.

3. Get rid of half the stuff you think you need (but really don’t)

While you are piling everything up on your table to pack you want to abandon any and all thoughts of “do I really need this” and instead just get it out in the open. Then, after you’re done collecting things to be packed, go through everything you have and get rid of at least 50% of it. This will cut down on the weight of your carry-on dramatically.

4. Roll every piece of clothing

Savvy travelers have long understood that folding your clothes eats up a lot more space in your bag than rolling them, and you’re going to want to “steal” this trick to save space in your carry-on.

5. Double zip lock bag all essentials

Grouping things together on the table is going to make loading up your bag really easy, but it may be even more important to double zip lock bag all of your essentials – like your jewelry, your electronics, etc. – to protect them from any liquids you have in your carry-on but also to make sure everything stays together as well.

6. Need more space? Wear your sweatshirt/sweater!

If you are finding you don’t have the room in your carry-on for everything you want to bring, consider wearing your sweatshirt or sweater onto the plane – and then taking it off if you are too warm – to save more space.

7. NEVER pack shoes in your carry-on

Shoes are one of the few things you shouldn’t ever slide in your carry-on, for a couple of different reasons. For starters, they are big and bulky (even the smallest ones) and will eat up a lot of space. Secondly, they have the potential to really wreak havoc on more delicate things you have in your carry-on – and no one wants to have that happen!

8. Keep unlikely to use things on the bottom of your bag

Bringing your computer in your carry-on is essential, even if you don’t plan on using it. But you want to think about stuffing it (and anything else you aren’t likely to use) at the bottom of your carry-on so that you have access to things you will use without causing a mess in the cabin.

And snacks on top!

More and more airlines are offering snacks to the travelers that fly on, but they can get pretty expensive. The snacks you can buy at the shops in the airport gate are also going to be priced at skyhigh rates, which is why you want to bring your own snacks and keep them at the very top of your carry-on. These are likely to be the first thing that you reach for when you are cruising through the sky!