Travel Packing Tips


If you had seen me travel years ago when I first started, you would laugh at the difference between me then and now.  My travel packing tips then were: bring along a husband to carry the large suitcase I checked in and my carry-on.  Unfortunately, this resulted in a tired and slightly grumpy husband.

I brought a swimsuit for every day, a coverup to match, and many outfit changes.  Really, who can trust the weather forecast?  Or who can be sure of their mood?  I wanted to be prepared, just in case!


Why I Switched to Carry-on Only

Fast forward to now and I can pack for almost anywhere in a carry-on.  After a few trips without my porter (husband), I got sick and tired of lugging heavy suitcases with clothes I didn’t wear. Therefore, I decided to try traveling with a carry-on only. I was hooked on this way of traveling quickly.  My travel packing tip now is this – pack light!!!

Remember that time I was stuck 4 days in Greece without a change of my own clothes because of lost luggage!  Now that was an experience!  If nothing else, that experience taught me carry-on is better.

It is so nice not to have to go check in at the airline desk. Talk about a time saver! With carry-on luggage and TSA Precheck, as a result of my credit cards, I can breeze through security!


Favorite Carry On

One main travel packing tips I have is to purchase a suitcase that you love.  You may need to pay more for it but, believe me, it will be totally worth it. Personally, I like the hard-sided ones.  This is one of my favorites:

Minima Carry-On Spinner Suitcase by Chester

Chester luggage
A great carry on is my #1 travel packing tip!

Here are some of the features that make this such a great carryon:

  • Lightweight – 7 lbs. –  I want my weight in what I pack, not the carrier
  • 360-degree spinner wheels – I love a suitcase that glides easily and this does
  • Gorgeous colors – Black, Charcoal Grey, Aluminium Grey, Ocean Blue, Sky Blue, Pink, Sand
  • 100-day risk-free trial
  • Crazy great reviews


I traveled for years with suitcases from Costco and Target until my girls bought me my first “nice” carry on.  Good quality luggage is so worth the investment! The glide is what I’m talking about – no more sore back and tired arms!

You can get 10% off by using code  10AF at checkout if you decide to buy this one.  Believe me, you will be thanking me later!

Another suitcase we both have and love is the Away carry-on. It is very similar to the Chester suitcase. Using that link you can save $20 off a bag! The discount should show up automatically in your cart. We have both suitcases and love both equally.


Travel Packing Cubes

My next travel packing tip is for you to invest in travel cubes.  What a game-changer!  I could never have become a carry-on only traveler without these!  Here are a couple of my personal favorite ones:



Cubes allow me to pack all my underwear, jammies, and swimsuits in one place.  They don’t wrinkle so I just push and push them into a bag!  It is pretty incredible how much one cube will hold!!

Next, I put all my shirts in one cube.  I roll them up real tight and put them in one at a time.  In order to achieve more room, when I get to the top, I push them all down and add a few more.  Again, it is amazing what one cube holds.  I usually stick to no wrinkle clothes for traveling, maybe adding one or two items that I can iron at a hotel.  Because of my rolling technique and compression, I can get a couple of knit skirts in this cube too.  Here is a great video to watch to learn how to use packing cubes!

Lastly, I put all my shorts and pants in my largest cube. Roll them up and push them in like I do my shirts.  When it comes to pants, especially for flights, I tend to wear cute leggings or athletic wear pants.  Seldom do I bring jeans because they weigh so much more.


Traveling Clothes

Because I always tend to get cold on flights, I bring a light sweater with me wherever I travel.  Tennis shoes take up a lot of room in a suitcase so I always wear mine on the plane. Another great travel packing tip is: Wear on the flight the things that take the most room in your luggage.

Here is what my flight uniform looks like on most flights:


To be honest, the pants will be grey or black, the t-shirt grey or black too.  Now you can spot me at the airport – the woman in joggers, t-shirt, black cardigan and tennis shoes with a cool piece of luggage.  Comfy is my #1 travel wearing tip!

As far as shoes go, I usually have flip flops, a good walking shoe and the tennis shoes that I wear.  Lugging around shoes you never wear is NOT a good travel packing tip!


Makeup and Jewelry

I used to take individual jewelry for all my outfits.  Now, I just wear a simple necklace that I love and a simple bracelet and call it good.

Makeup is minimal for me on trips.  For example, I either use Maskcara (which goes through security fine) or transfer a foundation into a small jar. Everything else is powdered so I don’t have to worry about security. Additionally, only what fits into a quart bag gets packed.  Therefore, I use tiny jars to repackage lotion or creams.


A Large Bag

Because I only take a carry on, I need a good large bag.  It holds everything I may need during my flight and gives me some extra room too.  In addition, I put a tiny purse or backpack in my large bag to use at my destination. Here is one I like:


The main thing I like about these bags is that they will slip over the handle of your carry on. Additionally, if you have a good carry on and a large bag that slips over it, it feels like you are gliding through the airport but you still can bring quite a few things. Therefore, you have enough room for all your items for your trip and it is easy for you to pack.


Packing List

One of the ways I’ve streamlined my packing is to pretty much take the same basic things.  However, if it may be cold outside, I may take a few extra layering items. This is my go-to list:

  • 3 pair of pants (joggers or lightweight usually – I seldom take jeans due to the weight of them)
  • a couple of pairs of shorts
  • 2 -3 knit skirts
  • 5 shirts that can mix or match between everything
  • underwear
  • medications I may need
  • minimal makeup
  • chargers
  • phone, small laptop
  • copy of my passport (however, keep it in another case)
  • toiletries (I bring a very minimal amount repackaged into small containers)


Bottom Line

Traveling is so much fun. Lugging around a lot of luggage is not so much fun. It is so liberating traveling just with a carry-on and a big bag that slides over. Now I don’t have to depend on anyone but myself to get through airports! I really believe anyone can travel 1-2 weeks just with a carry-on. Above all, remember that it’s all about the trip, not the clothes!

How about you? What’s your best travel packing tip?


traveling with a carry-on

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