Tips for Traveling with Carry On Luggage

On our recent 10 day trip to Europe; my husband and I traveled with only carry on luggage. As the airlines were in chaos last summer with flight cancellations and losing tons of bags – we wanted them with us! These are some of the strategies we used to lighten our load.


We took 4 pieces of luggage with us on this trip. I had a small rollie and a tote bag. My tote fit under the seat in front of me and held quite a few clothing items and things I wanted access to during the flights (including my small cross body purse). My husband had a small rollie and a backpack that mainly housed his camera/electronic equipment.


As they take up so much room – shoes are the most important item to edit in your packing! My husband took 2 pair of shoes on this trip… his sneakers and a dressier pair for evening. I somehow managed to limit myself to only packing 3 pair (sneakers plus dressy and casual flip flops). Since sneakers take up the most space – we wore those our on our travel days.


It was definitely easier packing in only carry on luggage with lighter summer clothes that take up less space! I also rewore clothes more often this trip and this cruise didn’t require formal wear so I packed sundresses to recycle a couple evenings. 🙂 My husband packed one pair of dress pants to alternate with different shirts for dinner. I suggest taking more shirts as those dirty quicker. Skirts, shorts, and pants are easier to rewear; so pack fewer of those.Also make sure your items mix and match color wise, or pack mainly neutrals.


We were able to take the majority of the liquid/gel necessities in our TSA approved sized containers (by packing our allowed 2 quart size bags). I also recommend buying a few things when you arrive in your destination that can’t be packed in carry on luggage; such as tweezers.


I’m definitely not doing laundry on a vacation (or cooking – but that’s for a different story ;)). By sending away a few of my husband’s items to get laundered on the ship – that also saved us some space. This was money well spent to cut down on our luggage this trip.

Traveling with less stuff and not checking any bags on this trip alleviated some of the travel day stress. We weren’t worried about the bags not arriving at our destination with us and it felt good traveling a bit lighter. Next trip I’m also going to try compression packing cubes – I’ll keep you posted!

Until the next adventure – bon voyage!


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