How to fit everything in your carry-on suitcase

You can fit everything you need for your vacation in a carry-on bag.

You can fit everything you need for your vacation in a carry-on bag.

With summer vacation approaching, whether you’re just about to enter college or are taking a break from a semester of difficult classes, you’re probably thinking about using those precious months of freedom to do a bit of traveling. If you plan on taking an extended trip – as in, one longer than a weekend – packing can be a little harrowing.

While you may think it’s impossible to fit everything you’ll need in a carry-on suitcase, if you can manage it, your trip will be much more pleasant. Can you imagine lugging an enormous piece of luggage around for weeks on end? Instead, follow our tips for fitting everything you’ll need for your well-deserved vacation into a small carry-on bag.

Pack strategically

Clothing can be your biggest enemy when it comes to taking up space in your suitcase. For efficient packing, the key is to only bring clothes in neutral colors – white, black, gray and tan. You should be able to mix and match absolutely everything that you bring. Use accessories like scarves and jewelry to add pops of color to each outfit.

Stock up on zip-close bags

When it comes to making sure that everything stays organized in your tiny suitcase, zip-close bags will be your best friend. Use them to separate everything – from socks and t-shirts to jewelry and toiletries. Because the bags are clear, you’ll be able to easily find what you’re looking for without making a mess. This can also help speed up the process of going through security at the airport.

Double-check the dimensions

If the prospect of fitting everything you’ll need on your trip into a tiny carry-on bag terrifies you, double-check the airline’s allowable dimensions. It’s possible that the bag you planned on using is smaller than necessary. If you can bring a bigger bag, do it! Then you’ll also have room for all of your souvenirs.

Roll your clothes

Instead of throwing everything into your suitcase at the last minute – or taking an unnecessarily long time folding your clothes – roll them! It will take up less space and prevent en-route wrinkling. You can even fit smaller items, like t-shirts, in your shoes to max-out your space.

Look for liquid alternatives

Abiding by the 3-1-1 airline liquid rule may be the most challenging aspect of all when it comes to flying with only a carry-on. However, the promise that the airline won’t lose your luggage makes it worth it! Do your best to find alternatives to the liquid items you need, such as swapping a bottle of makeup remover for wipes.

Join the conversation