So you’ve made the wise decision to pack a carry-on bag as your luggage, rather than checking a bag through to your destination. Hey, if you have to check a suitcase, no problem, but if you can get away with just a carry-on, you’ll save time, money and hassle. Your bag won’t get lost in transit and you’ll be free to go straight off the plane. Here’s how to save money and trouble, while flexing your minimalist packing muscles!!!
First, take a moment to peruse the internet for an ideal carry-on checklist, or make one yourself, which will help to avoid forgetting any essential items.
Next, don’t get caught up in security because you packed something in your carry-on that’s not permitted on the plane. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) you are allowed to carry liquids up to 3.4 oz. apiece. These are perfect travel sizes anyways, and should be grouped together in a clear bag in case TSA personnel want to take a closer look. If you can fit them in a quart-size plastic bag, you’re good to go! To make packing hygienics as cost efficient as possible, be sure and check out a cool coupons site like MySavings.com to find coupons or better yet, free samples, for smaller travel-convenient items like: toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, snacks, hand sanitizer and wipes. You’ll save money and be ready to pack a perfect carry-on.
It is also important to check your airline’s standards for carry-in size and more importantly weight, for you over packers out there. You could incur a sizeable, unexpected charge to check your slightly oversized carry-on. Google your airlines acceptable measurements and then make sure your bag fits within them.
Pack ahead of time! Let’s face it, we have all whipped out our trusty suitcase at the last minute and tried to figure out what to pack, only to discover we needed just a teensy weensy bit more time to get what we need together. But if you take out your bag a week or more ahead of time and begin compiling the perfect collection of hygienics, clothes, shoes, and more, it gives you time to fit everything in just perfectly, or to run out to the store and use those online coupons you printed from a site like MySavings.com and get the little things that will make your vacay go much smoother. You’ll be less likely to forget anything important and you’ll also be able to try a few different configurations and combinations, discovering which items you would really like to prioritize.
It also pays to build your mix and matching skills. Find tops (tanks, blouses, t-shirts, sweaters) that match well with the variety of bottoms (shorts, skirts, jeans, pants) you’re packing. That way you’ll have several mix and match outfit options that don’t clash with each other and you can create a variety of options for both day and night. Don’t forget to include shoes and purses in your non-clashing ensembles.
Find a convenient packing and organizing strategy. Pack your little hygienics all in one plastic bag, or transfer your favorite products into convenient TSA-sized travel bottles. Your products will be organized and all located in one location for easier access. Make sure to place smaller items within larger items. For example, socks can be bundled and placed inside the shoes you’re packing. New on the scene are packing cubes, little zipper bags that come in a variety of sizes for various items. You can purchase a set of cubes on Amazon and they will both help you keep your items organized, as well as allowing you to fit everything as securely as possible into your carry-on.
If you’re not using packing cubes, there are strategies for fitting as much as possible into your bag. Begin by placing items that are harder and bulkier on the bottom of the bag. This includes shoes, belts, brushes and hard cases. The next step is to place bulkier clothing items starting from the bottom (like jackets), ending with lighter and smaller clothing towards the top. Allow the arms and legs of clothing to extend past the rim of the carry-on and when you’ve got everything in place, fold the extended clothing over the top of the pile. Place lighter items, such as toiletries, on the very top.
Don’t forget to get the kiddos in on your carry-on plans! When traveling with children, take the opportunity to teach them some organizational expertise too. If possible, get them their own little carry-on bag and let them be responsible for packing it and pulling it (with your supervision, of course). This will both free you up from having to carry their items, hone their developing planning skills, and get them excited for the journey.
When all else fails and you feel like you have to check a huge suitcase with tons of clothes and shoes through to your awesome destination, do a little research online. There are tons of articles on packing for, say, a month in Europe in a carry-on. It’s not everyone’s style but it might work for you!