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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Perry

5 Tips for Carry-On Luggage

There are lots of advantages to going carry-on only. For instance, you don’t need to pay any checked baggage fees, and you can skip extra time waiting at baggage claim. Sticking to a carry-on also helps to keep from overpacking, and you’ll have an easier time getting your luggage around on your trip. 

If you’re thinking of going carry-on only for your next trip, here’s a few tips to make the most of it!

Pick the Right Carry-On

First of all, make sure that you get a carry-on bag that you can actually use as a carry-on. Size requirements for what qualifies as a carry-on can vary by airline, though for most domestic airlines they are usually around 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches. If you’re flying international airlines, the maximum size will probably be smaller than that. Suitcases or bags that label themselves as “carry-ons” may not fit within those measurements, so it’s important to check and make sure that you can actually carry on your chosen bag. You can check the size requirements for most major airlines here.

Pack Wisely

Packing light is key to fitting everything you’ll need into a carry-on bag. Be selective about what you decide to take, always asking yourself if you’re really going to use it. 

For clothing, take items that you can use multiple times. For instance, a casual sundress can work for both your travel departure day on the plane, as well as a swimsuit cover-up by the pool. Also bring items in complementary colors so that you can easily mix and match items for different occasions during your trip. Lastly, choose items that pack more easily if you can. For instance, pants and a blouse tend to be bulkier than packing a dress, and jeans will be bulkier than light cotton pants. 

Packing Cubes

If you haven’t heard of packing cubes before, they’re essentially zippered, soft-sided containers that allow you to organize your items within your suitcase. Packing cubes can also help to compress clothing, allowing you to fit more into your suitcase. Some packing cubes even offer compression features like additional zippers to make the cube and its contents as compact as possible. Not only do you not have to worry about your clothes and other items getting jumbled around in your suitcase, but you can also save some space by using them. 

Wear Bulkier Items on the Plane

Leave the larger clothing items that you’ll be taking with you out of your suitcase, and instead wear them on your travel departure day. If you’re bringing both flip-flops and sneakers, wear your sneakers and pack your flip-flops. If you’re bringing a jacket with you, wear it instead of packing it. This allows you to still have those items with you while keeping some extra space in your carry-on.

Check TSA rules

If you’re used to checking a bag, make sure what you’re packing in your carry-on meets TSA requirements. Many items that are allowed in checked bags are not allowed in carry-ons, or are only allowed with restrictions. The biggest one is liquids, gels, and aerosols can only be brought in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 millileters) or smaller - make sure that your toiletries fit within this size. Check here for more about TSA rules

If you’re thinking of packing light for your next trip, check out more tips for packing light here!

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