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How to Pack in a Carry-On + Flying Tips

For this trip, we decided to pack light because of the many flights we would be taking. Learning to pack in a carry-on can seem daunting at first, but is truly very doable. You usually don’t wear everything you pack anyways, right? The key is learning to level with yourself and understanding what you will really use and need. I made a full blog post (and video!) about the kinds of clothes I chose to pack for SIX weeks in Europe that could all fit in my carry-on. This time, I’m showing you how I actually fit them into my carry-on, with some packing tips, and also some bonus tips for flying! Flying can be really scary and daunting for some people, but there are a few things you can do to make yourself feel more prepared and relaxed.

Roll, don’t fold!

A few years ago, I started rolling my clothes to pack in my suitcase. I never went back to folding. Some people aren’t into it, but I really feel like rolling takes less space. Not only that, but i can also see everything I’ve packed with one quick glance. For shirts, fold the sleeves in first. Dresses and wide pants usually need to be folded in a bit as well, since they flare out a bit at the bottom. All of this just ensures an even roll and that you won’t have any massively long rolls.

Use packing cubes!

This has been another game changer! I mentioned these in my travel essentials blog post because I swear by them! They come in so many different sizes and colors now. The reason I find them helpful is that they just hold everything in. All the volume of your clothes is contained, even if the rolling or folding loosens up. It also keeps everything organized.

Wear your heaviest pieces!

In order to pack in a carry-on, you need to pack light. This is much easier during the summer, but even then, you sometimes have heavier pieces like jeans or a sweater. The best way to avoid having to pack these is to wear them! This works out pretty well since airplanes are really cold. I mention this tip in my blog post detailing everything I plan to pack in my carry-on as well.

Lay heavier or larger pieces flat

When you can’t wear your heaviest pieces, don’t try to fold or roll them! Especially with items like jeans, or something expansive like a towel. In these instances, opt to lay them flat in the bottom of your suitcase. This way, they take up the least amount of space as you pack your carry-on, Simply pack everything else on top!

Fill shoes to keep their shape

Honestly, packing shoes is the worst. I get a whole new level of anxiety when I have to pack my beloved shoes in a crowded suitcase. But as an avid shoe-lover, I can’t possibly leave the shoes behind. If you’re like me and can never travel with only one pair of shoes, pay attention! If you want to keep your shoes in tip-top condition, with no creases or squished shape, stuff them with socks! You can even do this with sandals – just stick a rolled up pair of socks under the straps. This maximizes space for storage (of socks) and keeps your shoes looking beautiful!

Flying Tips:

  1. Drink lots of water – I tend to drink a lot and then go to the restroom right before the flight so that I start my flight hydrated and can avoid using the airplane bathroom too much during the flight. Me and airplane bathrooms are NOT friends.
  2. Bring entertainment – On an overseas flight, you’ll have movies provided, but that’s not the case for all flights. I always make sure to have a book and a notebook with me. You can also download movies onto a device to watch.
  3. Dress in layers – helps with packing and staying warm while flying!
  4. Don’t have more than a glass or two of alcohol – it’s easier to get dehydrated up in the air and you will definitely feel your alcohol more. A glass of wine to relax, or two if your tolerance is good, is fine. But don’t overdo it! We’ve all seen that scene from Bridesmaids!
  5. Earplugs or earbuds are great to bring! – I love downloading audiobooks to listen to while I fly. They block out other noise and often distract me to help me sleep.
  6. Take some nausea medicine – if you’re prone to motion sickness, TAKE SOMETHING! A plane is probably the worst place to get sick. You’ll feel terrible and your neighbors will NOT enjoy your company.
  7. Talk to your doctor – If you get more serious anxiety, you might consider asking your doctor for recommendations. There may be something you can take on the plane to help. I know plenty of people who do this!
  8. Breathe! – Look out the window if you’re lucky enough to get a window seat, remember how cool it is that you’re flying in the air and going somewhere, and don’t forget that you are literally more likely to be struck by lightning than be in a plane crash. Read that again. More likely to be struck by lightning. Flying can definitely be scary, especially if there is turbulence, but truly, plane crashes are not common.

How to Pack in a Carry-On | Lots of Lora
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