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Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to Fit Your Life Into a Carry-On Bag

Packing into a carry-on bag has forever been considered an old wives' tale in my opinion. How can one possibly fit their entire lives into a small, backpack-sized carry-on bag? This is a trick question. The answer is clearly no.


If you are familiar with RyanAir, you will know that some airline companies are extremely strict when it comes to their baggage size requirements and will charge outrageous fees if you bring a second bag. I'm here to tell you from personal experience that not only is it possible to pack for longer trips into a small carry-on bag that avoids these ridiculous baggage costs, but that you don't have to look like a complete hobo during your travels by doing such!

This is a win for everyone involved, because will you have mastered the art of packing in confined spaces and everyone else around you won't be horrified by the sight of your everyday appearance during your journey. 

So let's dive in and learn some nifty tips and tricks in order to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. If I can pack for 4 days in Paris in a miniature backpack, then you can pack your life into a carry-on too.

1. Limit the amount of bulky items you bring with you.

If your travel destination is someplace warm, then this should be a lot easier because you won't really be needing heavy coats and sweatshirts. However, if you are traveling someplace that is expected to have low temperatures, you will clearly be needing clothing that will not cause you to get frostbite and lose limbs (Nothing is more awkward than traveling with someone who's losing body parts). Try to bring one coat/sweatshirt that can be used over multiple outfits to maximize your storage. Another great discovery I made while living and traveling abroad was TURTLENECKS. You may think that these retro beauties have lost their charm, but they're easy to fold and very compact, making them packing wonders. They're also great to throw on underneath a coat and won't make you look like a walking marshmallow. 

WHAT NOT TO BRING: Big, bulky sweaters/sweatshirts that will take up a lot of room.

WHAT TO BRING: Light, slim turtlenecks that will provide warmth without taking up a lot of room.

2. Wear your bulkiest items on the plane.

Just as Joey from "Friends" depicts in the above photo, it's important to make use of what you wear while riding the plane in order to maximize the space you have in your carry-on. If you are choosing to bring a giant sweatshirt or sweater, wear it on the plane. I don't care how long the plane ride is or how uncomfortable you are throughout the flight because you will thank me when you are able to bring more of your belongings with you. 

3. Roll your clothes when packing.

When you roll your clothing, it is easier to fit more in your bag. Folding clothing (especially when packing into a backpack-sized carry-on) takes up more room, a.k.a. a huge no-no for your packing endeavors. So get like dough and roll those clothes. 

4. Bring clothing pieces that can be worn again with different outfits (and nobody will really know!)

Leggings are your new best friend. Black leggings especially can be paired with many different tops to create varying casual and more dressed up looks, and they are incredibly compact and easy to roll when it comes to packing. If you are headed to a warm destination that is going to warrant shorts, a pair of nondescript black or white shorts that are made from lighter material can also be substituted because they are still easy to roll and won't be bulky in the packing process. In addition, try to only bring one pair of shoes that can be paired with a variety of outfits so you can save room in your carry-on for toiletries rather than take up all of the room with another pair of shoes. If you are bringing jewelry, the same rule applies in which you should attempt to only bring one pair of earrings and/or one necklace. 

Here are examples of how I created four different outfits using the same pair of leggings, shoes, and jewelry: 


5. Pack all of your toiletries into baggies.

You will thank me when liquids don't spill all over your clothes. Trust me from personal experience, there is nothing that brings me greater joy than opening my bag after a long flight to find that "items shifted during flight" and created a wonderful spill (heavy sarcasm). 

I hope that these five tips gave you a better insight on how your are going to tackle the task of packing into a carry-on bag. No matter how many tips and tricks you receive, it is a process that one can only master once they've had to go through it themselves. So best of luck to you on your packing and travel adventures, the world awaits you.

Until next time,


  1. I love the outfits that you've put together! Your tips are good! I always try to wear my bulkiest clothing on the plane as well! x

  2. Okay why didnt i run into this 2 months ago!! Lol of course you hadnt put it up yet! I will def be using this!


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