Tips For Traveling With Only Carry-On Luggage

If you’ve been following the news, you likely have heard that airports worldwide have been having issues regarding limited staff, which has led to delays, cancelations, and even a backlog of checked luggage. Knowing that, you may decide to fly only with a carry-on to avoid checked baggage fees and risk losing your bag. These tips can help you efficiently get everything you need into your carry-on for a stressless flight.

Know Airline Size Limits

The carry-on and personal item size and weight limits can differ by airline. Additionally, luggage restrictions may vary depending on what class you are traveling on.

You will also want to verify that the maximum dimensions are not more restrictive if you’re flying on a smaller plane which may require you to check your bag at the gate.

Additionally, you may choose to use a soft-sided carry-on, which can be easier to put underneath your seat or squeeze into an overhead bin.

If having to check your carry-on isn’t a dealbreaker, a hard-sided suitcase provides maximum protection. However, keep your valuables and other in-flight essentials in your smaller personal item, such as a purse or tote bag.

Use Compression Bags

Packing your carry-on isn’t rocket science, but there are several tricks of the trade that can make the task easier.

For example, compressing clothing and other loose items with a compression bag or packing cube can yield more packing space. A bag with multiple pockets can also make finding space for your necessary items easier by assigning a purpose to each nook.

Your bag will also be highly organized, which can provide additional benefits.

Roll Clothes Instead Of Folding

Along with trying to compress your clothing, you may also experiment with rolling your shirts and pants instead of folding them to potentially find more free space.

Only Bring Two Pairs Of Shoes

Having multiple shoes can save your feet but also consume valuable real estate. Strive to bring only two pairs. Preferably, your most comfortable pair will be on your feet on your travel days.

Use The Destination’s Amenities

If your destination has complimentary amenities such as a hairdryer, toiletries and other bulky items, use those instead of bringing your own. As a result, it’s fewer things to remember to include on your packing list.

You should also verify if your hotel or villa has on-site laundry services. If so, it’s possible to pack fewer clothes by doing a load (or two) of laundry during your stay.

Consider Longer Layover Times

If you’re anticipating having to check your carry-on, you may consider having a long layover so you don’t have to rush to the gate for your connecting flight to prevent flight delays.

Even though you don’t have to pay for gate-checked carry-ons, you lose precious minutes during the de-boarding process waiting for the baggage team to retrieve your luggage.

Also, choosing a bag that’s easy to maneuver on airport transportation and between terminals can prevent potential frustration.

Pack Early

Being proactive and packing your bag a day or two early can give you more time to place everything into your suitcase efficiently.

Waiting until the last minute may mean having to stuff everything in an unorganized manner. Then, you’re more likely to have less space for that inevitable forgotten item you suddenly remember to grab as you’re heading out the door for the airport.


Many airline passengers only bring a carry-on and encounter no problems. It starts with choosing the right bag for your trip and not rushing the packing process. These essential tips can help you pack everything you need into your bag and avoid surprises at the airport.

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