Carry-ons: What to Know and the Best Packing Technique Ever!

By: Jenna Barnes


Imagine you are on top of your suitcase yanking at that zipper trying to pull together all

the clothes you just spent the past 3 hours- or even days- putting together, and no matter what

squishing or squashing you are doing, it can not close. Tragic. You do not need to keep reliving this tragedy. We all have our issues when it comes to packing, but let's take away one of the most difficult ones - packing all those clothes in your carry-on!


Bringing a carry-on is one of the most common forms of luggage currently due to its

ability to stay right next to you throughout each flight and you don’t have to worry about waiting at carrousels for hours hoping your giant- perfectly 50 pound- suitcase didn’t get lost. Now the problem is how on earth do you fit an entire vacation worth of clothes in that tiny thing! Let’s get to it.


First off, the most important part is that your carry-on is the correct size to make sure it

stays a carry-on and doesn't have to go get checked into baggage claim. Carry-on bags,

suitcases, backpacks, what have you, need to be within 22" x 14" x 9" as stated by the FAA or

Federal Aviation Administration. We do not want you to go through all this hassle just to let it go to baggage claim... so double check it!


As for what are the best carry-on suitcases, I will ALWAYS suggest one with wheels.

Airports can be massive, and when your connecting flight starts boarding the second you land

and you must sprint from one gate to another that's half a mile away, you would really be

appreciating those wheels at that moment instead of lugging a giant duffle bag behind you.

Another tip I suggest is to get a unique style of carry-on! Mine is bright yellow and I love it! It is super easy to spot, and it never gets mixed up with anyone. Maybe look for an uncommon color or find a nice pattern like these!


  1. Coolife Luggage Suitcase PC+ABS with TSA Lock Spinner Carry on Hardshell

  2. Lily Bloom 20" Exp Spinner Luggage (Furry Friends)

  3. American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels

  4. American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels

Now that you have your beautiful, or handsome, carry-on, let’s get packing! Tip #1- get

packing cubes! Trust me on this one! I know it may seem weird to pack a bunch of little

suitcases into your big one, but I am telling you that these little suckers are going to save you so much time and energy! These are the ones I have!


Your life saving packing cubes are now sitting in front of you ready to help you have the

best packing experience you have ever had! Now organize your clothing in sections: pants,

shirts, swimsuits, undergarments, shoes, toiletries etc. There are many ways that you can do

this- but this is what I have found that works best for me! Roll up everything like a burrito! The

tighter the roll, the more you can fit! I would then roll all the pants and put them in the large cube. They usually take the most room, but if you have extra room, go ahead, and add dresses in that cube if you have them. Go ahead and place all your wonderfully rolled pant burritos in the cube and zip it up. Continue to the shirts, roll them up and put them in the medium cube, continue with whatever you see fits!


With the packing cubes I recommended, they have a toiletry bag with them to hold all your

bathroom things too! But make sure if you are bringing any liquids, it must be less than 3.4

ounces! Here are some examples of the traveling containers I have! They are so great that I can just fill them up and I am good to go since they are the TSA regulated size!


There is also a drawstring bag that is perfect for shoes! I would also recommend having

one cube available in your suitcase that is empty. Now when you are on vacation and finish

wearing something, you can just toss it in this cube to keep your clean and dirty clothes

separate and organized! Other ways that people may pack these are to organize the cubes by outfits for each day. They will put together the shirt, pants, socks, and underwear all folded together. I think this is a great idea, but I am one of the most indecisive people ever when it comes to getting dressed so I like seeing all my pants options while seeing all my shirt options together. If not, then all my neatly folded outfits will just end up scattered all about my suitcase all mixed up. Try both ways and see what works for you!


Here’s a video on the best possible way of folding, both individually and by outfits!




This doesn’t work for everyone, so just a simple burrito roll works just fine too!

By using this technique, you could be able to pack as much as you would in a standard

sized suitcase in this tiny carry-on! Also, if you have a really long flight or lay-over, it is super

easy to just grab a cube or two to the bathroom to freshen up with your toiletry bag and change clothes without bringing the entire suitcase!


No more sitting on suitcases people! Let me know if this works for you as well as it does for me!


By Jenna Barnes - Travel Consultant at ICWTT

Email: Jenna@icantwaittotravel.com



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