How to Pack a Carry On for Two Weeks

Air travel prices have sky rocketed in the past few years and it doesn’t look like there’s any plans for that to stop. With a merger happening with Continental and United Airlines, that means fewer seats in the air and a higher price tag for your journey. Not only have ticket prices spiked either.

Airlines are charging fees for what seems like, well, everything. What’s the number one fee on everyone’s mind? You guessed it – Baggage. On a recent family vacation to Orlando, Florida, all five members of my family were told to pack everything we could in our carry-on bags and we’d have one overflow bag. I thought that was impossible at first. By the end of the trip, I realized I packed enough clothes for two weeks.

I learned a couple pointers by maneuvering my belongings time after time to see how to maximize the space of my small carry on. Hopefully these tips come in handy next time you’re traveling with just your allotted amount of bags to carry on the plane!

1. Roll – don’t fold. I’m sure this is one you all have heard before, but it took me actually trying this to know it really does work! Roll all your clothing as tightly as possible. This includes shorts, dresses, socks and shirts. Everything that is able to be rolled, roll it. It saves a massive amount of space and allows for easy stacking.

2. Put your heavy clothes on the bottom, and then stack. Place your jeans, jean shorts and dresses on the bottom of your carry on. These items don’t flatten easily. If placed on top, they’ll make your suitcase bulge and the flight crew may make you check your bag because it does not fit their dimension guidelines. By placing your lighter, thinner clothes on top you have the ability to flatten them and close your carry on easier.

3. Place shoes on the sides. These are the hardest items to pack for obvious reasons. By placing them on the sides of your bag, you don’t have to worry about them getting in the way.

4. Roll your socks and smaller items and stick them inside your shoes. Yes, I said it. Placing little items inside your tennis shoes means they’re not taking up extra space in the bag. Simple!

5. Store your [three ounce] liquids and toiletries in the front pockets. Also put them in a clear Ziploc bag just in case there’s a spill. If by chance you are searched at security, they’ll easily be able to see the liquids you have and they won’t be buried in your bag.

This was my carry-on bag for my trip to Orlando.
This was my carry-on bag for my trip to Orlando.

3 thoughts on “How to Pack a Carry On for Two Weeks

  1. Actually, if you are taking heavy clothes (and normally you wouldn’t) you should be wearing them on the plane. So jeans, heavy sweaters, boots, jackets are all worn. Create a capsule wardrobe of tops and bottoms that mix / match and layer for variety and warmth. And no more than 2 pairs of shoes – one dress, and one walking. If you want to bring a third pair think about something super light weight, like gladiator style sandals.

    The key isn’t to maximize space in your bag, but to actually get more mileage out of the clothing you do bring. Do laundry on the road once a week and bring less clothing.

    1. Thank you for the feedback! You bring up some great points. Of course, doing laundry while you’re on the road is a must. I think you need to keep in mind where you’re traveling and what your essentials are.

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