My Favorite Carry On Packing Hacks

Getting ready to travel? Or, are you planning on doing some travel before the New Year? I’ve got some awesome packing hacks that I know you will love. They are so genius you will be making them apart of your packing ritual. These hacks are for the traveler who lives to travel light. Once, I went on a three week trip through Europe with only a school backpack. NOT a hiking backpack, but the kind you use for books. And not only did I survive, but it was so freeing to travel that light. I love finding new ways to travel light, and every time I travel it’s like a new competition with myself to bring less than I did the time before.

Traveling light saves you money and a horrible back ache. Who wants to go traipsing through the beautiful cobble stone streets of Europe with a huge roller bag – not me. These are the most helpful packing hacks I employ before traveling. Even if it’s just a weekend trip and only a 2 hour car drive away – these are the packing hacks I can’t live without when I’m packing only a carry on.

1. Lay out all the outfits you think you need for your trip – then pack only half of what you picked out.

This strategy helps you to choose what is a need on your trip, and which outfits are a want. For example, will you really wear two fancy dresses on your beach trip? You probably can do just fine with one. Or, do you need two heavy overcoats for your ski trip, or can you just bring one? (If you are worried about dirty clothes, see hack #4.)

Also, try to choose versatile pieces like skirts and tops you can wear in both casual and formal situations rather than one time outfits like formal dresses. Dresses add bulk to your bag, and take up space. Instead, invest in pieces you can wear several times.

Don’t forget to leave room in your bag for shopping! If you buy clothes on your trip, this makes for a great souvenir and increases your wardrobe options.

2. Use cosmetic sample containers from department store cosmetic counters to hold your beauty products.

Those tiny samples of foundation department stores give you? DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY. These tiny jars are perfect for holding your cosmetics, face wash, face moisturizer and save a LARGE amount of space in your bag. You really don’t need those 2 ounce travel containers to hold your foundation, those should be used for shampoo and body wash.

I’m constantly surprised at how little makeup I use when I’m on vacation. Personally, I don’t wear that much while vacationing, because I think my face should get a break too. But, even if you like wearing lots of makeup, these sample containers allow you to bring exactly the amount you want with very little waste, and still be in compliance with the carry on rules.

3. Wear your bulky shoes on the plane.

For me, this usually means I’m wearing sneakers or boots onto the plane. Which most airlines recommend anyway, because it’s safer to wear closed toe shoes without heels in case of an emergency. This also leaves more room in your carry on for items that you need on your trip. Or perhaps an extra item that you don’t NEED but want to take with you.

4. Bring laundry soap and do some of your own laundry.

This is something I learned from Rick Steves – the ultimate traveling light authority. By doing your own laundry not only do you save money, but you also save space by taking less clothing. Of course, it’s best to bring clothes that are easily hand washed, like cotton shirts, rather than wool sweaters. So packing a smart wardrobe is critical (see hack #1).

Also, only bring an amount of soap you know you will use and put the container in a double ziploc. You don’t want to find everything in your bag coated in soap. Or, you can grab sheets of soap from REI or other outdoors sporting shops. These places have great finds for traveling light because they cater to people who are roughing it and backpacking EVERYTHING in on their adventure.

I hope you found these carry on packing hacks helpful!

-HM

{Photo by: Arnel Hasanovic via Unsplash}

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