Don't Want to Check a Bag? Here's a Handy Carry-On Packing List

Unless I'm traveling for longer than a week, I usually don't check a bag. Between bags getting lost, arriving late, and just being a general pain to lug around and sometimes pay for, I'd rather not have to deal with it. So, instead, I bought the largest carry-on I could find and just roll it with me wherever I fly. Honestly, I've found that only having a carry-on is so much easier. But I will admit that prioritizing what I should pack and fitting it all is sometimes a bit of a challenge. But after a lot of trial and error, I think I got the hang of it.

I'd say that one of the best tips for packing everything in your carry-on is to choose only one or two shoes to pack and wear your sneakers on the plane. Shoes take up so much space, and every little bit counts on a carry-on. The second tip is to only bring clothes that you know you'll wear, meaning no options "just in case." If it helps, try everything on before you go so you know exactly what each outfit consists of. In addition to all the obvious necessities like IDs and wallets, here's my full carry-on packing list (just make sure everything is in appropriate sizes and containers):

  • Hair brush
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Contacts/solution/case
  • Glasses/case
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Lotion/sunscreen
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Hair ties/ponytail holders
  • Soap/body wash
  • Makeup
  • Underwear/bras
  • Socks
  • 2 pairs of shoes — 1 casual, 1 dressier (depending on the trip)
  • 4 tops — 2 casual, 2 dressier (depending on the trip)
  • Bathing suit if going somewhere warm
  • Cover-up
  • 1 pair of athletic pants/shorts
  • 1 athletic top
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • Phone
  • Laptop (if needed)
  • Chargers
  • Book or Kindle