Whether you’re hitting the road for a weekend retreat or embarking on an international adventure, packing light is often one of the best strategies you can use to make your journey smoother. Packing for carry-on only is not only great for avoiding those dreaded luggage fees, but it can also help open up the possibility for low-cost airfare deals and an overall lighter traveling journey.

If you’re looking for a way to make your travels simpler and easier, there are a few key things to keep in mind when packing for carry-on only. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of packing light and provide you with tips and tricks on how to make the most of your carry-on experience.

Why Pack For Carry-On Only

As travelers, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that the more you pack, the better prepared you’ll be for anything and everything during your travels. But the truth is, carrying extra luggage can be a major hassle and a money drain. Not to mention, if you want to check a bag, you’ll often have to pay extra baggage fees, which can add up quickly. And if you prefer to fly with a low-cost carrier, often their price doesn’t include checked baggage, so you’ll have to make sure you pack light when you travel.

In addition to the financial perks of carrying only a carry-on, you don’t have to wait in line at the baggage claim for your luggage when you land. You can simply head out of the airport as soon as you land and know that your luggage is with you every step of the way. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your bag can’t get lost or mishandled as you move from location to location.

How To Pack Light

The goal of packing light is to travel efficiently with only the essentials. Every item you bring with you should have a purpose. To help you make the most of your limited luggage space, we’ve put together the following tips on how to pack light.

Take Only the Essentials

The best way to travel light is to focus on packing only the essentials. Consider each item you’re thinking of bringing and ask yourself if it is really necessary to bring with you. If the answer is no, leave it at home. This will help you focus on the items you need and prioritize the items that truly add value and function to your trip.

Choose the Right Luggage

When you’re looking for the perfect carry-on for your light packing needs, it’s important to select one that’s the right size. Many airlines have restrictions on carry-on luggage size, so it’s important to check before you purchase a bag, so it meets the requirements when you get to the airport.

In addition to finding the right size, you also want a durable bag that can stand up to the wear and tear of travel. If you’re looking for a reliable carry-on, look for one that has plenty of padding, pockets and a lightweight frame to not only help protect your items, but to make it easy to carry around when you’re on the go.

Pack Clothes That Layer

Layering is key when you’re trying to travel light. It’s all about creating a combination of items that you can mix and match so that you pack less, yet still have plenty of outfit options when you arrive at your destination. Stick to pieces that are multipurpose and can be worn both during the day and for a night out. For instance, a button-down shirt can be worn unbuttoned as a fashionable topper, or rolled up and tucked in to dress up an outfit. Look for pieces that you can wear in two ways, which will help you create stylish outfits with much less space and weight.

Pack Makeup That Doubles As Skincare

To help keep things simple, opt for makeup and skin care products that will serve multiple purposes. For instance, many face powders and creams can double as eye shadows, while you can use your favourite lip balm as a blush and moisturizer. Multi-use makeup products can help minimize the clutter and bulk of traditional cosmetics and also help conserve space in your carry-on.

Choose Versatile Shoes

When it comes to footwear, pick shoes that are comfortable, versatile and lightweight. If you’re travelling for business, a pair of loafers or slip-on shoes can do double duty as dressy and comfortable shoes for any event. If you’re travelling for pleasure, a pair of flat sandals can transition from day to night and provide plenty of cushion for your feet.

Commit to a Single Color Palette

Creating a cohesive style with a single color palette is a great way to have a variety of options while still packing light. Decide on a handful of colors that will mix and match together, like black and white, or navy and beige. This way, you can easily create outfits with fewer pieces and no additional weight.

Pack Only What You Can Wear On The Plane

One of the best ways to save space in your carry-on is to make sure you don’t pack what you can wear on the plane. For instance, if you’re flying to a cooler climate wear a coat and wear your heaviest layers, so you don’t need to bring extra items that might take up space in your carry-on. If you’re flying to a hot climate, opt for lightweight clothing, which you can wear both on the plane and at your destination.

Opt for Smaller Toiletries

When you’re on the go, shampoo and conditioner can take up a lot of space if you bring the full size bottles. To help conserve space, opt for travel-sized bottles and look for the ones that are TSA approved. Remember, to reduce waste, consider bringing a reusable travel-sized container that you can use over and over.

Choose a Versatile Day Bag

When selecting a day bag, make sure it’s one that can carry your essentials and accommodate any items you might pick up throughout your travels. It’s also a good idea to pick one that can go from a shoulder bag to a backpack, which can help you keep your hands free to explore and take awesome photos.

Pack the Right Tech

Tech wizards know that choosing the right technology can literally mean the difference between arriving to your destination with most or everything you need. Consider the items you may need to have on hand such as phones, tablets, cameras, hard drives and chargers, and make sure they are all compatible with each other and that you have everything you need to keep them charged while you’re on the go.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to tackle your packing list with confidence. Packing light doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort or style on your next journey. With a few simple strategies, you can make the most of your carry-on and ensure you’re ready for anything. So if you’re ready to start packing light, grab your bag and get ready to hit the road.