Simplifying packing and only taking a carry-on and personal item/backpack has eliminated checked bags for a few years.   You can learn to minimize what you pack and still manage to have all the travel essentials on your trip.

Whether you are going away for a long weekend or longer here are a few tips to help you lesson the load and fit your necessities in a carry-on bag.

The suitcase I use is similar to this one.


A good backpack is counted as your personal item and can easily fit under the seat.  This backpack has a separate compartment for a laptop.  You can slide a small purse or wallet inside too.

Lululemon black backpack laptop

Tips for Packing Everything You Need in Carry-On Bags


Plan Ahead – Think about what your daily activities will consist of and get the must have items out ahead of time.  Set all the items you need to pack in an area together.

Check the Weather – There is a big difference between a sunny 55 and cloudy windy/rainy 55.  If you don’t have to take a bulky winter coat and boots don’t.  A thin wind breaker/rain jacket is easy to pack and usually doesn’t wrinkle.  I don’t mind adding these items to my luggage but large winter gear makes a big difference in what can fit…or not fit.  A quick glimpse at the weather where you are going to travel can save you from bringing unnecessary items.

Womens Nike Hooded Rain Jacket


Multipurpose Items – What items can you wear more than once.  I make a cardigan work with a few outfits…wear it over a dress and a few days later with jeans, over a tank.  Multipurpose items save space so finding more than one are great ways to conserve luggage space.  A cute pair of your favorite sneakers can double for a casual look and be functional for working out or a long day on your feet exploring.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36

Minimize the Shoes – I always try to wear my bulkiest shoes on the plane to save space in my luggage.  I try to only bring one or two other pairs of shoes in and rotate them on my trip, sometimes using all 3 in one day.

Pack for Each Day or Activity – I pack everything I need for an outfit together.  I place the largest item, folded nicely on the bottom of the stack and then add smaller items finishing with the undergarments and socks.  A common stack would include jeans, cardigan, tank and undergarments.  Once I have the stack complete I tightly roll it and place it in the suitcase.  The only time I don’t include an item with an outfit is if it will be worn more than once.  Those items are rolled individually and placed toward the top of the bag.  Pajamas are also rolled and placed on top because they are usually the first item that will be needed after a day of traveling.

Hats – I often stuff extra socks or smaller soft items (the wind breaker I mentioned above) inside a hat to help keep its shape while it’s stuffed in the suitcase.    vineyard vines hat

Toiletries – When traveling by plane with only carry-on luggage I always pack two bags with bathroom essentials.  One bag is small and clear and contains all liquid or gel items that need to be taken out of my bag at security.  Be sure to check the TSA guidelines to make sure you are following the rules.

tsa liquid travel bag

I buy travel sized items of all the regular products that I use to fit in this bag and comply with the TSA requirements.  When traveling with more than one person, you can save space by sharing items like toothpaste and shampoo and conditioner.  I refill travel size containers after each trip and reuse.

travel size toiletries

The bag containing liquids goes in my backpack with my laptop so that I only have to open one compartment when I’m going through security.  I remove the laptop and bag of liquids at the same time.  The bag I use is similar to this one.  After the security screening I usually add it to my carry-on suitcase because I won’t need anything in it during the flight.

I put all my other bathroom items in another bag (it’s not clear but it could be) that is placed in my suitcase.  It’s usually close to the top so that I can take it out easily when I get to my destination but it can go anywhere in the bag.

Medication – If you regularly take medication and/or vitamins place the amount you need for your trip, plus a few extras for emergencies, in a travel pill organizer.  It’s a good idea to keep these items with your personal item so that in the rare event your carry-on must be checked you still have the medication with you.

travel pill case medication

Cords/Chargers – I use a small zipper pouch to corral all the cords and chargers that I need.  I also bring a portable power bank/charger fully charged incase I don’t have access to electricity for an extended time.  zipper pouch gold dot

Do you have any tips to make packing more efficient?  I’d love to hear them, please send me a message with your great ideas.

Some favorite travel items are linked for your convenience.



carry-on packing and travel guide





Listen on apple podcasts - the intentional edit podcast


Intentional Edit participates in select affiliate advertising programs.  If you click and/or make a purchase through certain links on this site or any related social media platforms, Intentional Edit may make a commission. All opinions are my own.


Favorite Organizing Products

Amazon  |  The Container Store

Where to Shop


The Container Store | Target | Bed Bath & Beyond | Walmart | Marshalls | Ikea

Design & Decor

Wayfair | Joss & Main | West Elm | Crate & Barrel | Pottery Barn | Urban Outfitters 


Marshalls | Nordstrom Rack | Old Navy | Ikea | Amazon | T.J.Maxx | J.Crew Factory


Nordstrom | Banana Republic | LOFT | J.Crew | Lululemon | Nike | Saks Off 5th | Abercrombie 


Home Depot | Sherwin Williams | Michaels | Ace Hardware | Amazon | Etsy


Michaels | Ikea | EtsyHome Depot | Target | Amazon


lauren - intentional editLauren is the founder of Intentional Edit, a home organization and lifestyle company focused on consciously editing to create efficient and organized spaces.  Lauren believes that a functional home that looks and feels good has a positive influence on all aspects of life.  Creating systems that allow for the home to function more efficiently, therefore, eliminating most of the clutter and chaos is her priority.  While trends come and go organization is always in style!

If you have questions please send me a DM on Instagram.  I do my best to reply to all the messages I receive.


I’d love to have you follow along.  Find me here:

Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook | Blog

Organizing | DIY | RecipesCreativity | Design | Home | Shopping

Simplified Home Masterclass by Intentional Edit - Join Today - Get Organized for Busy Moms





Ultimate tips for organizing your home and simplifying life, sign up to have some serious inspiration delivered to your inbox.  

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest