Tips on Traveling Light When You Only Have Your Carry-on

Traveling light is very convenient, especially if you hate waiting for your baggage after a long flight. However, it is not always an easy feat to fit so many items into a small carry-on.

Below are some expert tips on how to pack light without sacrificing too many items as told by some of our local travel experts:

  1. Do not always run to buy refillable containers for liquids

The 100ml (or 3.4oz) limit for individual containers of liquid can be tough to follow. We often run out to grab reusable containers to fill, but what most people might not know is that many of your creams, lotions and gels already come in containers that are 100ml or less. So before you go out and spend extra money on travel bottles, Jakob Staudal, Founder of the Headless Nomad, recommends you take a look at the sizes of your products.

“It can also be worth your while to check out the free samples offered at local drug stores or cosmetic boutiques,” says Staudal. “They often have small packs of sunscreen, face wash and body wash that are completely free. These are also great to pack in your carry-on, especially if you are only traveling for a couple of days. Simply ask the retail worker if they have any to give out.”

  1. Invest in packing cubes

Packing cubes are not just great for large suitcases, they are also very convenient for carry-on luggage, mentions Ali Sapra, a constant traveler and creator of The Elite Post.

“They help to keep your items compact, and organized which is very helpful if security decides to check your bag. Using these cubes also makes it easier for you to layer the carry-on so you can reach the items you need in a pinch. These cubes also help to keep all your items separate which is great for packing shoes. They can easily transfer dirt to your clothing if not properly packed away.”

Packing cubes keep your shoes in their own compartment so there is no chance of them making your clothes grimey.

  1. Bring versatile footwear

Although a carry-on can accommodate a couple pairs of shoes, they are not as easy to maneuver to take up less room. This is why it can be helpful to be smart about the shoes you decide to bring, recommends the Founder of Feeling Vegas, Bryan Mullennix.

“An ideal pair of shoes to bring with you will work for both casual and more business casual attire, especially if you’re in a place where you have to do a lot of walking, like in Las Vegas, for example. You should wear comfortable walking shoes for the flight, which will help as well when you arrive at your destination and need to be on foot a lot. Having only one pair of shoes in your carry-on will create much more space for other necessary items.”

  1. Leave the bulky coats behind

Packing light, and only with a carry-on can be tougher during the chillier months. However, it is to your benefit to not bring a large parka with you. Instead, pack thin long sleeve shirts, as these will not only help to keep you warm, but are also much easier to pack in your luggage. 

Other layers such as long underwear and tank tops are also ideal and can be squished down significantly in your carry-on.

  1. Pack neutral colored clothing

It is not always easy to know what to bring for clothing when you are traveling for a short period of time. You want to make sure you have enough options without making your carry-on too heavy. Packing neutral colored clothing like black, tan and white will make it easier to create multiple outfits without bringing your whole wardrobe.

Our final tip: Utilize your extra bag

When you are flying, you always get the option of taking another personal bag with you that is not your carry-on. These bags can also hold quite a bit, and are perfect for items you need access to on the plane. Try to utilize the space you have in this bag as well to make your carry-on not too heavy or difficult to carry.