A Guide on Packing for a Trip with a Carry On

Packing for a Trip with a Carry On Suitcase

With many people on Spring Break or simply planning vacations in the near future due to the warmer weather, I decided to write a blog on how to pack for a trip with just a carry on bag! Living in Europe means that I have easy access to many different countries that are only a few short hours away. That means that weekend getaways/short vacays are possible – A.K.A. no need for a huge suitcase. Packing for a trip with a carry on may seem like you are limiting yourself, but not when you do it right.

For me, packing is something that I do the day/night before. It never fails. I always tend to do laundry and stay up way later than I want packing for my trip at the very last minute, but I (usually) don’t forget anything this way. Aside from procrastinating on packing, I somehow overpack for most trips. However, packing for a trip with a carry on is a great way for me to take only the essentials – in most cases.

Know the Length of Your Trip and Any Details

It is very important for you to know as much information as possible about your trip before beginning to pack. How long will you be gone for? Do you know what activities you will be doing? Will you need any kind of special attire? Check the weather for the location that you will be in so you know what kind of clothing to pack.

For me, I generally try to have an overall idea of what I will be doing beforehand, but if not, I tend to pack more versatile clothing items. This way, I can change an everyday exploring outfit into a going-out outfit (for example). Doing this can also keep you from packing too much!

Check the Weight and Size Limits for Carry On Luggage

Always, always, always check with your airline on the most up-to-date luggage limits! This goes for size and weight. You can get hit with some pretty expensive fees if you aren’t prepared and it can make a budget trip turn into the total opposite. Each airline’s regulations may be different so search online for accurate information or call ahead.

Use a Packing List

Packing for a trip with a Carry On - Packing List

Whether you are packing for a trip with a carry on or a full-size suitcase, it is not a bad idea to use a packing list. You can either use some that you find online like the one above or create your own custom one for your trip!

Stick to Neutral Colors and Basics

Packing clothes that are neutral in color or even a few basic items like jeans, a white t-shirt, and maybe some leggings can make putting your outfits together so much easier. If you are like me and like to plan your outfits ahead of time, you will find that choosing to stick to neutral colors is the best option. You can mix and match these items for a lot of different looks.

Wear Bulky Items on the Plane

If you are going somewhere colder or you simply can’t leave behind the heavy cardigan that you love so much, wear it on the plane. Wearing your bulkiest clothing on the plane is a great space (and weight) saver plus, it can get chilly on the plane so it isn’t such a bad idea. Layers are always another good option when traveling and you can free up some space in that suitcase!

Bring a Compact/Foldable Bag

Aside from any extra purses/bags that you might want to bring with you on your trip, you may also want to include a compact tote or something that can store some extra things. My go-to is my Long Champ tote because it folds and doesn’t take up much space. It is super handy for those trips where shopping gets the best of me and I can’t fit everything into the suitcase that I came with. Make sure that you check with your airline if you can have this extra bag with you on the plane along with your regular carry on! I can usually get away with it as being my purse.

Traveling Essentials - Longchamp Tote Bag

There really is no need to stress when packing for a trip with a carry on if you plan ahead of time. Even in my case with last minute packing, including some essential clothing items, being mindful of the colors I include in my wardrobe for the trip, and knowing what kind of activities I will be partaking in is key.

Are you headed on a trip anytime soon? Let me know! Make sure to check out some of my go-to travel essentials before you pack and how you can travel on a budget!


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