Yellow Van Travels

5 Tips for Packing a Carry-On

We have had many, many flights over the last few years and I would say that I have perfected packing a carry-on. I have been able to pack TWICE for 3 week trips to Europe using just a carry-on suitcase. Here are 5 tips to make packing your carry-on so much easier.

1. Make a Packing List

Packing list

Make a general packing list that could be used for any trip! Save it as a Google Doc and edit/print it right before your trip. This will save you time for your future trips if you just make a list now. Just do a complete brain dump with everything you might need for any kind of trip. From there you can take that list and adapt it to the type of trip you’re going on. I like to have columns for each member of our family (Ben, Meagan, Lucy) as well as a column for toiletries, “other”, and a food/cooler column for road trips.

2. Make Piles

Packing pile

About a week before your trip, pull out your suitcase and throw anything you think you may need for your trip or things you don’t want to forget. You can refer to your list, but don’t stress too much about getting everything in the pile. When you actually pack, empty everything from the suitcase onto your bed. Put the items into piles based on the categories on your packing list and check them off as you put them in the pile. Gather anything else up that’s still on your list and add it to the appropriate pile. Once your piles are complete, you’re ready to start packing!

3. Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes

Time and time again, we share our love for packing cubes on this blog and to anyone we talk to about traveling. They keep things organized and you can fit more things in your suitcase! Each member of our family has a different color of packing cubes so we can easily know whose cubes are whose.

4. Roll Up Your Clothes

Rolling clothes

To make the most use of your packing cubes, roll up your clothes! You can fit a lot more in a cube (and even if you don’t have packing cubes, rolling up your clothes will still save you space in your suitcase). Rolling up your clothes also limits the amount of wrinkling. A bonus tip with rolling your clothes is to roll up items that go with each other together. For example, if I have a shirt that I wear an undershirt with, I roll the undershirt up with the shirt. It saves on space and then when I’m ready to wear that shirt, I can just grab the bundle instead of finding two separate pieces. This works great with scarves, belts and cardigans too.

5. Use All the Space!

Using all the space

One of my favorite ways to maximize space is to use the dead space between the handle of your suitcase. Most suitcases have a zipper on top of the area where the handle is. I always unzip this part and stick all kinds of things in-between the handles of my suitcase. I can usually fit a pair or two of Chaos or other sandals in there as well as random, small soft items. I like to fit scarves, laundry bags, and extra items for our baby like burp cloths, bibs, blankets, etc.

Hopefully this will help you with packing for your next trip! Do you already use these tips? Do you have any others? Share in the comments below!