At $50-$100 a bag round trip, carry on seems like a bargain…

If baggage was a good thing, it wouldn’t be used to describe negative situations like emotional issues. Checking in luggage: costs money, wastes time, presents potential for loss and makes it harder to move around on the go. A checked bag can also turn a fabulous $300 transatlantic round trip flight deal into a disastrous $600 ticket, which is as fun as never. Going carry on only: saves time, saves money, makes it easy to move around and allows you to control your own travel destiny. But you already know these things. The problem, is actually convincing you that carry on only is possible. Here’s how to pack your carry on, to make the travel dream into a reality.

Invest In A Viable Carry On

Though it may work for some, an old backpack sitting around the house just generally won’t cut it. To live the carry on only travel dream, you’ll need to invest in a viable bag, and preferably one with handy packing tools, like compression compartments to flatten your gear. Some of the best bags even offer handy charging ports, which can keep you juiced up on the go. Value for money, the Away Carry On is the best bet, but there are plenty of options for all budgets.

Roll It Up

Where has your mind gone?! We’re talking about your clothes here. It’s been proven time, and time again that rolling your clothes will result in greater savings of space than any other method. In addition to helping pack extra items, things like shirts will look far less atrocious when worn at your destination, which is a total plus. Hotel clothes pressing ain’t cheap, ya know?

Flexible Items

Carry on success is about being ruthless. Perhaps not like, Devil Wears Prada ruthless, but to stand the best chance, you’re going to want to have a harsh conversation with yourself about what you’ll really wear, and more importantly – what you won’t. Opting for flexible shoes that look just as good formal as informal can make a huge difference. Shoes are the clunkiest items in any carry on. Try to stick with two, three pairs maximum – and favor a couple versatile clothing items which can immediately and effortlessly “smarten” up any casual wear, like a blazer.

Side Hack: Personal Item

There’s not much that hasn’t been said about packing the almighty carry on, but one area that’s often overlooked is the small personal item. A small personal item is allowed on flights in addition to any single carry on allowances, which allows you to pack a secondary bag full of excess items, which may have not made the initial cut in the main carry on. Everything you could ever want to know about your “small personal item” can be found here.

Start Big

Back on the “actually packing” bit, start big. Things like socks are the perfect items to fit around the edges of any decent carry on, as are t shirts, undies, and all other flexible items. Start with clunky items like thick denim, sweaters and anything else that would benefit from some squishing down – and work outward. On that note, it’s also a good time to remind you that layers on a plane are always a good idea. If it’s not in your bag, it can’t count against you, and layers can help with extreme airplane temps!

Compress It

Those straps in your luggage are not put there to awkwardly hinder your packing, or to sit at the bottom of your case clipped together, under your clothes. That would be foolish. Those straps are specifically designed to compress your clothes, taking perhaps a 10” stack of clothes, and making them into a 7” stack instead. Before you start to pack, unclip your compression belts, pull them outside your case, and then once you’ve gotten all the big items in, clip the buckles together and zip down with all your might. You’d be amazed how much space that saves.

Ship It

Even if only packing five bikinis, or man thongs, people worry about going carry on only, on the basis that they may purchase something abroad. While this is a fair thought, it’s easier, and more affordable than ever to just “ship it”, especially since many retailers offer free shipping. There are countless stores around the world that almost seem to encourage it. When it comes to buying wine, shipping can actually save you money, since some bottles will drop in price if they’re specifically for export versus just in store purchase. There goes that excuse!

What’s your best packing tip?

Featured image courtesy of Away Travel.

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