5 Reasons to Pack in a Carry-On Only (& 5 Tips to Do So!)


As a recovering overpacker, I have made it my mission to cut back when it comes to packing. Not only does it actually make packing/unpacking easier, it also helps save so much time (& money!) while on vacation.

In this post I’ll be giving you five reasons as to why you should give it a try, as well as five extremely helpful and crucial tips to packing in a carry-on bag only.


  1. No checking of your bags means less lines and less time in the airport. Grab your boarding pass (or download it on your phone) and head straight for security & your gate.
  2. Less contact/touch points. When you carry on your own bags, you don’t have to worry about baggage attendants and others touching the handles of your suitcase. This also means less contact with others as you do not have to wait in a baggage check line or have face to face interaction with the airline attendant.
  3. Saves money! Depending on your airline, carrying on your luggage can save you a minimum of $25 per bag per flight. If you’re a family of 4 paying for checked backs for each way of your flight, that’s $100 savings per flight that you’re saving by checking bags.
  4. Get to your destination and home quicker! When you carry on your luggage, you completely bypass baggage claim, which means you get to your destination (& home) sooner than anyone who checked a bag.
  5. Less to repack. Because you pack so little in a carry-on, there’s much less to repack when you get ready to go home. This also means you have much less to unpack once you are home, which in turn, means less laundry.


  1. Plan out your outfits for each day in advance. Pre-planning each outfit, down to your socks and underwear, helps you visually see exactly what you need (and what you don’t need). I always pack an extra outfit or two just in case I change my mind or get a stain on something and there is always plenty of room for this.
  2. Invest in LOTS of packing cubes & a vacuum sealer with vacuum-sealing bags. (This is CRUCIAL!) Use your vacuum sealer to condense the amount of space your clothes take up. But be sure to pack it with you so you can vacuum seal all of your clothing and get back home with the same amount of space in your suitcase.
  3. Condense all of your liquids into travel-size containers. Very important detail! Not only will the help with space, but it is required by TSA to have all liquids in 3oz. containers or smaller. Note: these also need to be in ziplock bags or clear TSA approved bags. These are the exact TSA compliant travel bottles I use!  Plus, they’re cute and the little zipper bag they come in always comes in handy!
  4. Carry a backpack as your personal item and use it to pack miscellaneous and tech items. (Remember: with most airlines you get one carry on and one personal item. A backpack counts as your personal item.) I never travel with a full size purse. I put all of my cash/cards/IDs into a wristlet and carry that in my backpack. Also, it is important to note that not all backpacks are created equal! I have tried MANY and this Kipling laptop backpack is still my go-to travel backpack no matter which destination I’m headed to! It fits my laptop (with padding!), has little pockets on the sides for water bottles/tumblers, and has lots of pockets/storage. Not to mention, the straps are very comfortable, which is really important on long travel days (or theme park hopping!).
  5. Know your carry-on size in advance. After all that work, the last thing you want to do is be forced to check your bag at the gate. The standard dimensions for a carry-on suitcase for International travel is 20-21 inches. The standard dimensions for a carry-on suitcase for domestic travel is 22 inches. These colorful, affordable carry-on suitcases are perfect and carry-on approved for domestic or international travel.

Have you ever packed in a carry-on suitcase only for a vacation? I’d love to know your tricks of the trade! Comment below with your packing tips!

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