Carry-on travel is one of the best ways to save while you’re globetrotting. Save money on checked baggage fees, save time waiting for baggage to arrive, and save yourself from potential headaches knowing your belongings aren’t going to end up lost in transit. The art form doesn’t come naturally to all, here’s where to start.
Get the right luggage
Let’s start from the beginning, you need luggage that will help you make the most out of the limited space you have. Find luggage with pockets and the ability to section space off, this will help keep you organized. Better yet keep your closet with you with the Solgaard Carry-On Closet suitcase. It’s quite literally as it sounds, a closet in a suitcase with the ability to section off all of your clothing and unpack in seconds. Another perk of this bag is the charging port for those long stretches without a wall port. Simply plug in your Juicepack from the inside, close it up and you have easy access to a charger without digging through bags. Luggage with an internal organization feature will save you worlds of trouble when it comes to carry-on travel. This bag comes in two carry-on sizes to match your needs.
Be reasonable with your packing
Sure, this sounds simple, but that bulky jacket with tags still attached that you’ve had since 2015 isn’t getting worn. If this feels like a personal attack, no offense but #2 probably applies to you. Pack things you actually wear and do not pack more outfits than days you are traveling. Why? You can and should wear items two or three times by mixing and matching basics. If in desperate need, you can find a washer in your destination. The most important rule here is comfort over anything. You don’t want to be in a foreign place with nothing to wear because you unreasonably packed like you were headed to New York Fashion Week. There’s such a thing as stylish and comfortable in today’s world, just ask Gen Z.
Build your wardrobe around these items
These will be your staples. This goes without saying, but pack for your climate. If you’re headed to Japan in the winter, pack one winter coat you can wear the entire time, etc. Think of these as ingredients to the cake you're baking, and everything else is the frosting.
- A solid pair of comfortable jeans
- A jacket you can wear with anything
- Neutral colored t-shirts of your liking
- One completely versatile day bag (purse, foldable backpack or beach bag, etc.)
- One pair of shoes meant for long wear, most likely a tennis shoe
- ONE outfit you could wear to a nice outing, for girls this could be the addition of a dressy sandal to pair with your jeans, for guys add an easily packable colored shirt or sweater
- At least one multi-use item, for example, a headscarf that can be worn as a top or comfortable yoga shorts that double as swim trunks
- An outfit for your travel days, things like sweats, leggings, etc, remember, comfort over anything
Invest in reusable compact items
We love an environmentally-conscious traveler! So does your wallet. Investing in reusable travel-sized toiletry containers that will last you years and help lessen the footprint of products harmful to the planet. I’m talking about everything from containers for shampoo, to lotion, to your six-step skincare routine. It’s fully possible to bring everything you need in a travel-sized reusable container. Better yet, try Ethique eco-friendly soaps and shampoos. They come in bar form, therefore less hassle of having liquids in your bags and less plastic use. If we’re going to enjoy this beautiful planet, we need to do our parts to make sure it has a future.
Wear your bulkiest items to the airport
Keeping your bag as small and light as possible means keeping bulky items out of your bag. That coat you’re bringing to Japan? Wear it to the airport and take it off once you’re on the plane. The best part about this is that it doubles as an extra blanket or cushion when you need it. When it comes to coats, in particular, there are several down options that roll up to fit in travel bags. Shoes are another item that takes up a lot of room in our bags. Wear your bulkiest pair of shoes on your travel days. If you can’t comfortably wear them through an airport, maybe it’s a sign that they shouldn’t join you on this venture.
Know the details in your airline’s carry-on policy well in advance
Carry-on policies for each airline are not universal and it’ll serve you well by knowing what you’re getting into. For example, all U.S. airlines accept 22-inch carry-ons, but some European budget airlines won’t accept carry-ons bigger than 20 inches. For the most part, you’ll probably get away with using the standard-sized carry-on bag accepted by U.S. airlines, but it could be a rough start to a trip if you choose to risk it and end up with a big baggage fee at check-in. Some airlines allow you a carry-on for the overhead bins plus one small bag to go under the seat in front of you, but some budget airlines charge for both. Don’t let yourself be caught off-guard at the airport and have to shuffle things around or pay the price!
Carry-on travel is doable for everybody, it just takes a little bit of conscious effort. There’s something sweet and freeing about experiencing minimalism while traveling. Who knows, maybe you try it once and save thousands over your lifetime by never checking a bag again.