How to Pack a Carry-on like a Pro this Holiday Season
There are two camps: people who will check their bags, and people who will do anything in their power NOT to check bags when flying. I’m the latter. The strong desire to never check a bag isn’t a matter of money so much as it is convenience. For example, this past summer, my husband and I went to Thailand for ten days and I packed us both a small backpack. There was nothing better than landing, grabbing our bags from under our seats, and walking right off the airplane and straight to our resort (no lost luggage or long luggage pick up lines to deal with!)
Unless you travel with bulky medical equipment or lots of kids, I truly believe that most people can pack whatever they need in just a carry-on…especially during the holidays. Here are a couple of tips to beat the holiday chaos around baggage claim and get your carry(on)!
Tip 1: Pick the right bag.
A good carry on bag will have a firm bottom and flexible sides. This allows the bag to keep its structure while you are allowed to pack more. I prefer duffels and back packs over roller bags because they are easier to navigate large crowds with.
Tip 2: Don’t pack anything with only one purpose (except a bathing suit and/or coat)
Sequin jacket? Body con dress? Sweater that only goes with one pair of pants and nothing else. Those items are great, but they don’t belong on this trip. If you can’t pair an item with everything else you’re bringing, then it needs to stay at home. I don’t even pack real pajamas when I go home because they really only have one purpose. Instead, I wear my lounge clothes to bed. Be realistic about what you’ll be doing at home. If you’re going to be sitting around with your immediate family, leave the fancy stuff at home.
Tip 3: Choose a color scheme.
Either go all browns/blues or all blacks. This means you only have to pack one (or two…max!!) pairs of shoes. Everything should coordinate with your color scheme including your purse.
Tip 4: Wear your bulkiest outfit while traveling
When you have everything laid out on your bed before you actually start packing (something I highly recommend, so that you can see what outfits you can create with what you have) remove the bulkiest items. This is what you’re going to wear on travel day. Ex: Set aside your boots, jeans, sweater, and coat….while you pack flats, leggings, and t-shirts.
Tip 5: Remember where you are going
Are you going to a family member’s house who has every hair device you could possibly need (blow dryer, flat iron, etc)? Don’t bring your own! My little sister never packs pajamas when visiting my parents because she knows my mom owns, at minimum, 35 pairs of flannel pajamas. If you’re meeting up with siblings at your final destination, divvy up any items that you can share while you’re at home. Are you going somewhere with a washing machine? Perfect! Now you can pack even less. There’s no need for 28 pairs of panties when you have a washing machine.
Tip 6: You need to plan ahead
Packing with just a carry-on does take a little planning. If you’re rushing around the morning before a flight, you’re not going to make great packing decisions. Instead, make it into a fun activity or (if you have kids) a game. If you’re by yourself, put on some great music and pour yourself a glass of wine. If you’re helping your kids pack light, turn it into a fun game of matching or a critical thinking challenge (how many outfits can you make and put in this backpack?)
You can’t beat all the airport chaos this year, but you can make it a little bit easier on yourself- by only packing a carry-on! It never hurts to try.
What’s your biggest deterrent to only packing a carry-on? Not sure how to pack the bag? Shoe addict? Chronic over packer? I want to hear your reasons!
Like what you read? You’ll probably love Chapter 4 of my new book. Check out a free sample below!