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One Carry On? No Problem! – 5 Carry On Tips For Travel

Traveling with a lot of luggage is a pain for anyone. With so many things to carry, roll around or hold onto, it becomes a very stressful and expensive ordeal. Just getting your luggage to the airport, or whatever transportation method you’re using, is just the first leg of the race without even thinking about how much it’s going to cost as checked baggage, how to keep track of it, or how you’re going to get it to your lodging.

Personally, I don’t like carrying anymore than one checked item and a carry on if I know I’m staying for a long period of time (at least 1 week or more). I left for London, a 3 month study broad situation, with just one checked bag and a carry on. But that’s just my personal preference. It I’m traveling for a week or less then I opt to take just a carry on.

If you’re looking to travel with just one carry on then check out these 5 tips to help make your time traveling a lot easier!


1. Choose the Right Carry On

I’ve stated this in a previous blog post about packing, which I will link here, the carry on you decide to use will depend entirely on your trip, the amount of time you’ll be traveling, and how you’ll be traveling. Especially if you’re traveling by plan, I recommend going to the airline website you purchased your plane tickets through to review their guidelines for carry on items. This will give you a better idea of the type of carry on you can bring.

After you’ve reviewed the list, you can then determine your carry on. Do you like backpacks? Or do you prefer a rolling suitcase? Would a duffle bag suit your needs? Each type of carry on is different with different benefits. There are so many things you can use as a carry on, and as long as their size is in line with your mode of transportation’s guidelines, then anyone of these suggestions would work for you!

As for me, whether I’m flying, driving, or taking the train, I prefer to have a backpack as a carry on. As long as I don’t fill it to the max, and it’s not bulky, it fits perfectly in most compartments on trains, buses, and airplanes. But the choice is yours!

2. Use Organizers

Organizers are such a space and time saver! If you have the right organizers then you can fit most of everything into your carry on and still have some space left over. You can purchase a variety or organizers from Amazon, Target, Walmart, or any store that sells organizers. There are also different types of organizers, cubes, or bags you can use. There are also organizers for your hair tools, makeup, liquid items, clothing, and so on.

Using an organizer will ensure you are organized and maintain space within your carry on. This is very important, especially when your carry on is the only thing you’re taking with you, because using organized will ensure nothing gets lost, spilled, misplaced, and you’ll have additional space for those awesome souvenirs.

Determining the right organizer(s) for you will, again, depend on your needs and the type of trip you’re taking. If you are planning on taking just a few small things, such as body soap, shampoo, and conditioner, then you won’t need a huge organizer. However, if you tend to travel with more items (like me), then you’re going to need different organizers for your makeup, hair, toiletries, face products, and other things.


3. Take Necessities Only

This is something that I tend to struggle with at times, and I know it’s hard, but when you have only a carry on you need to prioritize what you need to take. Sometimes my wants and needs get mixed up; it’s a very fine line I walk. But you have to remember that you only have this carry on that’s supposed to fit your things for the length of your trip AND all the souvenirs and extra clothing you’re going to bring back (if you choose to do so).

I made a whole blog post about packing, and one way to figure out your necessities is to create a list of the items you plan on taking. Once you’ve created your list, double and triple check it to see if you can fit everything in your carry on. Better yet, double check to see if you want or need certain items. When you take items that are necessities you’re preventing yourself from overpacking and ensuring you’re not taking things you don’t need.

There have been so many times when I wanted to bring that one pair of heels for my trip, that one outfit that I’d probably never wear while traveling, or hair products I wouldn’t necessarily use. Once in a while, I bring those items and regret it later when my carry on is too heavy and there’s not enough room for extra souvenirs. It’s about knowing your needs for the trip, being practical, and saving as much space as you can for your carry on.

4. Take Travel Sized Items

This part goes hand in hand with the organizer section. If you take small, travel sized, items then not only will it fit into your organizers, and provide you with more space in your carry on, but you will also ensure that your items meet the standard travel size requirement. This is super important when you’re flying because you won’t make it far past the security check if they find full sized items in your carry on.

Unless you’re traveling for an extended period of time, and plan on taking more luggage with you with full sized items, having travel sized items will work for one carry on and for your length of travel.

5. Leave Extra Space

Last but not least, make sure you leave extra space (especially for your souvenirs!) I’ve received a lot of messages from my lovely followers about the cool things they like to collect from their travels. Items such as fridge magnets, shot glasses, globes, and other things were mentioned from my followers which serve as mementos of their travels.

No matter what you buy, or don’t buy, you need to make sure you have enough space in your carry on. If you fill your carry on to the max, you won’t have enough space first off. Besides this, you’ll have a difficult time fitting your carry on in overhead compartments; it becomes too bulky, and too heavy to carry, roll, or hold. Plus, if you love buying souvenirs and other things on your travels, you won’t have any room to place them in your carry on!

If you take more than one carry on then you can buy as many souvenirs as you’d like. I know I’d love to buy many things from my travels, but when I have just one carry on I have to be very selective about the items I purchase. You have to be mindful about the size of your souvenir, whether they’re fragile, and how you’ll manage to fit it all in your carry on.

I’d recommend using organizers/cubes and rolling your clothing instead of folding them. In addition, try to bring clothing that you can use more than once (i.e. sweater) or layer on top of. You’ll create more space that way. If you’ve used organizers, and packed everything just right, then you’ll have some room left over!