Women's Packing Tips: How to Travel Carry-On Only

Carry On Only Travel Tips

For many travelers, fitting all of their belongings into a single carry-on bag is the ultimate challenge - and the ultimate goal. While there’s nothing wrong with checking a bag, there are a few extra perks and benefits that you’ll receive by limiting yourself to carry-on luggage only.

For one thing, it’s easier to navigate bustling airports, train stations, and city streets when you’re traveling with a single small carry-on bag. You’ll also spend less time at the airport dropping off and waiting to retrieve your checked bags - just hop off the plane and go. And you can bid adieu to any checked bag fees!

Below are 5 essential tips for packing light and traveling with just a carry-on bag:

1. Know your airline’s carry-on policy.

How to Travel Carry On Only

Carry-on luggage size and weight restrictions can vary greatly between airlines, so check your airline’s website before you start packing to be sure your bag will fit.

If you go over, you may end up being asked to check your bag at the gate.

Likewise, be mindful of your liquids. According to the TSA liquids rule, travelers are permitted to carry one quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes. Each container within the bag must be 3.4 ounces or smaller.

2. Never pack more than one week’s worth of clothes.

Traveling for a week? Two weeks? One month?

It doesn’t matter how long you’re planning to be on the road - always pack like you’re traveling for a single week.

Remember, most hotels now offer speedy and affordable laundry services. Even if yours doesn’t, it’s easy to find a reliable laundry service or laundromat in most cities and larger towns, so you can treat yourself to freshly washed clothes on-the-go.

3. Reference your itinerary while packing.

Before you try to cram every colorful dress you own into your bag for your next beach vacation, stop and reflect on your itinerary. Are you planning to spend an entire day lounging by the pool? How about a day riding bikes or hiking? Or perhaps a luxurious spa day?

Take the time to think about your day-to-day plans, and be sure to pack an outfit that’s appropriate for every activity.

You’ll be far less tempted to waste space with frivolous extra items when you know exactly what you’re packing for.

4. Layer, re-wear, and mix-and-match.

You know what’s great about a classic pair of blue jeans, a comfortable t-shirt, or a little black dress? They’re all wardrobe staples that can be worn again and again, in a wide range of environments.

The key to carry-on only luggage is choosing pieces that can be repurposed and reworn, as well as dressed up or down. A loose t-shirt dress is casual and comfortable for daytime sightseeing, but can be dressed up with heels and a statement necklace in the evening.

Female Travel Packing Tips

In general, it’s best to opt for solid dark or neutral-colored clothes. If you have room left in your luggage, feel free to toss in a few light and portable scarves, jewelry, or other fun accessories.

5. Maximize your additional personal item.

Carry On Only Packing Tips

Most airlines (but not all, so be sure to double check with yours) allow passengers to bring one small personal item in addition to their carry-on luggage.

Rather than bringing a small clutch purse or narrow laptop bag, choose a backpack or tote that can be stuffed with more items.

This additional small bag is ideal for valuables like laptops and cameras, as well as any items that you just can’t fit into your main carry-on.

What's your preferred way to travel: checked bag, or carry-on only?