How to Travel with Only a Carry-On Suitcase

I have always been one to totally over pack; I’ve actually paid overweight fees on top of checked baggage fees in the past. Gasp! Soooooo unnecessary!

Last year I was dying to go visit my friend in Colorado¬†and had to make the trip as cheap as possible! Believe it or not, I had never traveled with only a carry-on before and not only was I going to try to accomplish it for the first time, but I would also be traveling with my toddler daughter, who I needed to pack plenty of stuff for, and we’d be sharing that one bag.

I was ready to take on the task! {insert muscle arm emoji}

SPOILER ALERT: I made it happen!


Here are ALL my tips for traveling with just a carry-on:

When packing, roll your clothes. Roll smaller items (chargers, accessories, sandals) up into clothing. It saves so much room.

Wear your biggest items (i.e. tie a sweatshirt around your waist, wear tennis shoes)

…..or carry them (i.e. I brought a NorthFace jacket which was too thick to tie around my waist so I just threw it over my arm.

Know the rules and follow them to the verge of breaking them. Ladies, you’re allowed to bring the follows bags on an airplane and not check them: carry-on suitcase, “personal” item (this could be an additional tote or even a large shopping bag), purse/backpack, diaper bag, and a breast pump bag.

Do not pack ANYTHING extra, and plan on washing clothes while you are there, if the need arises. (this obviously isn’t the most luxurious of tips, but hey, are you trying to save some moolah or what?) This also isn’t that much of a pain in the butt, if you’re going to visiting family and/or friends while you’re traveling. I’d hope they wouldn’t care if you threw in one load of wash while you were visiting!

Wait until you reach your destination to buy certain items. Were you planning on heading to the store before your trip? Just wait! I purchased a pack of diapers and some of my toiletry items at a local grocery store when I arrived.

….or borrow it! (I didn’t bring a blow dryer because I knew my friend wouldn’t mind me using hers while I stayed there (and many hotels and B&B’s are stocked with large items like this)

…or/and take advantage of hotels (they have MANY toiletry items that are available to you (and no it’s not just the ones you see sitting on the vanity when you check-in your room. They offer lots more, you just have to call the front desk and let them know what you need!))

Rewear your clothes. I don’t put on my pajamas until I am literally climbing into bed so I only consider them “dirty” after two nights, or so.

Don’t bring a bunch of extra stuff. No elaboration needed. Stop overpacking! (I know, I know, easier said than done. I’m still working on it!)

Dress for the weather. I have a bad habit of bringing a plethora of clothing for literally all four seasons and then not wearing a huge chunk of it. Yes, the weather can be unpredictable, but normally it’s within reason. Basically, stop packing for a possible blizzard, if you’re going to Orlando, Florida (exaggeration I know, but still!)

I hope this was helpful! Bringing only a carry-on made life so much easier!

Happy traveling!


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