10 Tips for Packing a Carry On Bag

10 Tips for Packing a Carry On Bag | Cobalt Chronicles | Travel Blogger

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m kicking off a new series today, Travel Tuesdays!  Travel is one of the main topics that I wanted to incorporate into Cobalt Chronicles when I started this blog so I’m beyond excited to share this series with you!

Today I’m sharing (what I hope are) super practical tips on how to pack light.  In these Travel Tuesday posts, I’ll also be sharing how Michael and I have managed to score numerous flights for FREE (including our Southeast Asia airline tickets) and how we managed to get our hands on the coveted Southwest Companion Pass after just one year of strategically accumulating points (among tons of other fun travel hacks)!  So let’s get started, shall we?!

It’s no secret that I love to travel.  In the last year I’ve been to Portofino Beach, Birmingham, ShreveportChicago, New York, San Francisco, Napa Valley, New York again, Oxford, Bangkok, Phuket, Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Rosemary Beach, MobileLas Vegas, and San Antonio.  And you know what common thread runs through each trip?!

I only traveled with a carry on bag!

You may be thinking, sure Ashlee, I can definitely pack one bag for a weekend trip.  But I want to share with you a few tips and tricks on how I managed to fit everything in a rolling carry on bag + my small backpack for our TWO week trip to Southeast Asia.  If I can make that work, I know you can too!  So here we go!

10 Tips for Packing a Carry On Bag

  1. Plan your outfits!  Literally lay out what you are going to wear each day.  Shirt, pants/shorts, shoes, day, night etc.
  2. Pick items in your closet that you can mix and match.  That great simple tank – pair it with denim shorts, white jeans, layered under a chambray button-up … you get the point.
  3. Minimize the number of shoes you’re packing (this is my #1 struggle!).  Pick shoes that go with everything and really think about what you’re going to be doing during your travels.  Will you be walking a lot?  Then take out those tall wedges and heels!
  4. Buy travel sized toiletries.  I usually travel with two zip-up travel bags full of my toiletries (they fit perfectly in the pouches of my suitcase), and ditch the blow dryer.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my dryer, but I know every hotel/airbnb/friend’s house will have an extra blow dryer that I can use (even our Airbnbs in SE Asia had them!).
  5. Now for the actual packing … here’s the secret, ROLL YOUR CLOTHES!  You will be amazed at how much space this saves.  I roll almost everything.  I generally don’t roll my jeans because they tend to take up more space when they’re rolled, and I also don’t roll some of my nicer tops.  Use your judgment.  (Side tip – I bring this steamer with me everywhere!  It’s small and always fits in my bag, no prob!)
  6. Play tetris!  Shove your under roos, socks, small workout clothes etc. into your shoes and leave out any extra, small items for filling in space later.
  7. Pack your shoes first, and place your rolled items in between shoes, line up the other rolled items, and pack your flat, folded items on top.
  8. Fill in any empty space with socks, undies, or other small items that you still have left to pack.
  9. I usually slide my laptop into the front pocket of my carry-on.
  10. Lastly, my backpack usually includes: my camera, makeup bag, wallet, and all of my chargers (I have a ton).

And there you have it!

Here’s a little slide show showing you step by step how I pack my carry-on.  I snapped these when I was actually packing for a recent trip – no staging here, guys, the real deal!

[slideshow_deploy id=’3665′]

On a separate travel note, interested in learning more about my favorite credit card that I use for travel (earn 2x points on any travel purchase!)?!  Check out this post and compare my favorite card with other travel cards here!

The credit card listings that appear on my website are from companies that I may receive compensation from if you click on a link and sign up for a card.  This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Please not that not all credit card companies are included in my posts, only the ones that I personally use and recommend.

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  1. Monica wrote:

    Love it, Ashlee!! Can’t wait to see all these traveler point hacks…this is going to be a great series 🙂

    Posted 6.14.16
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Thanks Monica! Can’t wait to share!

      – Ashlee

      Posted 6.15.16
  2. katie wrote:

    LOVE this series, Ashlee! Can’t wait to hear more about your travel hacks. I have never rolled my clothes before, but I feel like I am a convert now!

    Posted 6.14.16
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Thanks Katie! You’ll have to try out the rolling for your next trip! =)

      – Ashlee

      Posted 6.15.16
  3. Anna White wrote:

    Great post!! I packed in a carry on for our two week trip to Italy two years ago, and it was not an easy task! Thanks for sharing these tips!! XO -Anna

    Posted 6.14.16
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Thanks Anna! Definitely not easy, but so worth it! I can’t imagine lugging around a huge suitcase for two weeks!

      – Ashlee

      Posted 6.15.16

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