There’s something incredibly liberating about flying to head off on vacation, or a business trip, without a big suitcase. There will be no lost luggage, no lines at baggage claim, and no need to be concerned about ever-increasing baggage fees. Going “carry on only” is easier than you think, unless you’re on a world tour with endless costume changes. Here’s how to organize a carry on bag to make the most of what you got, and forget the rest…

Know Your Allowances Ahead of Time

Make the most of the restrictions imposed by the airline. Invest in a good carry-on to make the most of the space in your “small personal item.” This second bag, which could be a rucksack, duffle bag, or tote bag, will allow you to carry more items. You won’t get the evil eye from your fellow passengers if it fits under the seat in front of you. Use your full-size carry-on as “luggage” and your personal item for iPads, headphones, and other items you might need in the air.

Dress for Travel the Right Way

Wear your heaviest, clunkiest clothing on travel days. If you’ll need a coat, boots, a chunky sweater, or a scarf, try to plan your outfit ahead of time. Even if it just means carrying them in your hand, any bulky items that take up a lot of space should be part of your new airport outfit. Better yet, try not to take any clunky stuff at all.

Plan on Hand Washing Your Stuff

Sure, it takes some effort, but you can easily reuse clothes while traveling and avoid paying high hotel laundry fees. You won’t have to worry about running out of clothes after a quick wash in the sink and drying on the heated towel rack. Mini washing powders and detergents are also readily available in grocery stores and dollar stores to give you that fresh “just like home” scent.

Nix the Toiletries

Toiletries take up a lot of space and weigh a lot more than you might think. They can also be a pain if security decides to check through them all. Shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, moisturizer, towels, and sometimes even more will be provided upon request at most places you stay. With that in mind, take advantage of the freebies available at your destination to save space and weight. In the worst-case scenario, you can purchase small versions of whatever you require upon arrival from the nearest drug store.

Choose the Right Shoes

This may appear to be random, but it isn’t. You’re looking for shoes that are both functional and flexible as you plan your vacation wardrobe. You know, the ones that are comfortable to travel in but also look cool enough to wear out. Because shoes are the bulkiest item in most carry-ons, removing the need for an extra pair can make a significant difference.

Have a Proper Packing Strategy

Think posable and bendable. Rolling your clothes saves space and prevents wrinkles, and that’s according to science, not just professional organizers like myself! Start with the larger items, then save the socks, undies, and other small items for the difficult-to-reach corners. Packing cubes can help to, and I’ve written all about those here. And, of course, when it comes to shoes, make every effort to find the appropriate location.

You also need to be ruthless with yourself. Let’s be honest: how many times have you returned from vacation only to discover you didn’t wear a quarter of what you packed? It’s always nice to have options when traveling, but try to be practical and only bring what you truly need. Plus, if you’re going somewhere exciting, you might find something you want to buy, and you’ll have the extra room to bring it back.

Need help with any home, office or life organization project? Book a free 15-minute Zoom call here and let’s chat about how Just Organized by Taya can help you.

Just Organized By Taya
Follow Me
Latest posts by Just Organized By Taya (see all)