How To Travel With Just A Carry-On

i used to be the kind of person who had to bring my whole. entire. life. with me when i traveled. anyone else?


no joke, i used to end up checking two bags, going over the weight limit on both, and basically dragging my entire life with me wherever i went. totally exhausting! i finally got sick of the airlines losing my bag and waiting at baggage claim every trip and decided i was gonna be a carry-on only person.

though it definitely takes a little planning in order to really pull it off, i think it’s one of the smartest travel decisions you can make. read on for our top tips on how to travel with just a carry-on!


Resist The Urge To Bring More Than One Of Anything Bulky

for me, this means I’m committing to one pair of jeans for the whole trip and one workout outfit. it’s almost always possible to have laundry done at a hotel, and let’s be honest, if it’s a short trip I’m probably only fitting in one workout.

most of the time, there will only be one event or day on a long weekend trip where I’ll need a dress, so I usually choose only one of those too.

in terms of shoes, I’m usually a two pair of shoes person (as in, one pair in the suitcase and one worn on the plane) but if you MUST bring more than that try to make at least one pair something relatively flat so they don’t take up too much room.


Only Bring Tech and Accessories You’ll Really Use

i’m almost always guilty of bringing way too many notebooks (not to mention buying new blank ones when i already have a shelf full of them) but I’m learning to be realistic.

unless i really need to read the hard copy, bringing my iPad saves me so much space when i want to read a new book on the go.

for jewelry, i try to stick to one or two statement pieces so they don’t crowd up the space or weigh the bag down.


Adjust Your Beauty Routine Accordingly

this one is never easy, especially in the age of 12-step Korean Skincare and a neverending list of pretty new products showing up on Instagram daily. but as soon as i forced myself to pare down my usual routine and create a ‘lite’ version for carry-on bag only trips, it saved me so much hassle.

hilariously, my husband thinks this is a crazy amount of toiletries, but for me this is what my beauty bag looks like when i can’t check a bag or don’t feel like dealing with it.

for the most part, the liquid items here fit decently into a quart size baggie, although if you sign up for TSA precheck they don’t make you take out the baggie so it’s usually fine if your ziploc overfloweth a bit ;)


Always Wear The Bulkiest Items On The Plane

this is probably the greatest rule of all because it means more space in your bag for everything else. this is basically my go-to airplane outfit below:

  • black leather look leggings

  • a comfy thermal top (long enough to cover the leggings butt)

  • a versatile leather jacket that goes with all the clothes i brought

  • sneakers or workout shoes, whichever makes more sense for the trip

  • a hat of some kind if it’s hat kind of trip

  • a super cozy, giant cashmere scarf that can double as a blanket or wrap


the carry-on I’m using in these photos is a brand new one from Speck Travel and i LOVE it. the color is so fun, and all the storage compartments make packing so much easier. you can check out their brand new line of luggage here, and stay tuned for an opportunity to win a brand new set of luggage from Speck!

what are some of your favorite travel hacks?? i’m never not looking for more!

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