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How to Fit Everything in Your Carry Ons

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Packing can be a daunting task – especially when you are heading out on a longer trip. Today I am sharing how to fit everything in your carry ons. Thoughtfully packing a carry ons can make traveling easier. There are two types of things to pack in a carry on, first are the things that you need during your flight, and the second are the absolute essentials that you need even if your checked bags get delayed.

Let’s start with the things you will need during your flight. These items go into a purse or backpack that you will store under the seat in front of you. This photo above displays all of the things that I put in this bag.

And this is the bag all of that will fit into. (Yes seriously). Start with your wallet, passport, and boarding pass. Add an iPad. I load my iPad up with a couple of books plus I download some television shows and movies to watch via Netflix. I love my Cuyana monogrammed iPad sleeve that can double as a clutch. Portable chargers for your phone and iPad are essential if the plane doesn’t have outlets. I usually bring two with me, one for me, and an extra for whomever I am traveling with. I also bring a plug adaptor if I am traveling to a country with different power outlets.

I get cold on flights so I always bring a blanket scarf. I love that blanket scarfs are big enough to be used as blankets. Contacts can get uncomfortable, so I always have my glasses handy. And face wipes and a mini hairbrush will make you feel refreshed on a long flight.

I always bring tissues and a decongestant. I might not need these things, but they don’t take up much room at all, and if I happen to need them. Twice I’ve been on flights when all of the sudden I haven’t been able to stop sneezing – I must be allergic to a perfume or something because I was fine as soon as I got off the plane.

You should always have some very basic over the counter medicine with you – especially if you are leaving the country. I recommend bringing a decongestant, an allergy medicine, Pepto Bismol, and Advil.  These things take up very little space, and trust me, if you are traveling to a foreign country finding the medicine you need might be really challenging (especially if you are heading a country where English is not the national language). I recommend the Pepto Bismol tablets because they won’t take up space in your bag of liquids.

One secret to bringing carry ons is efficiently packing your bag of liquids. I don’t complicate things, I just bring the essentials: the Kiehl’s moisturizer that I swear by, toothpaste, contact lens solution, and my makeup basics: foundation, mascara, eyeliner, and lip gloss.

Now, since you packed all of your essentials in the bag going under the seat in front of you – you can use your second carry on to hold all the clothing you need for a trip. I’ve written more about that here, but I have only brought carry ons even when I am traveling for 2+ weeks. My philosophy is to bring 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of black pants, and a bunch of tops that can be layered. A great blazer is really versatile. I always bring a simple black dress that can be dressed up or down. The most important thing is to not overpack shoes. Trust me, 3 pairs are enough.

Even if I am checking a bag, I always keep my camera with me. Sometimes you get stranded somewhere awesome. Once I was in Paris for 18 hours, and I was very glad to have my camera with me.

Do you have any packing tips to share? I would love to hear them in the comments!

Want to follow along on my next adventure? I am leaving on Sunday for a 3 week trip. I will be traveling to Portugal, Spain, Morocco, and Charleston. You can join my trip in real time on Instagram!

The suitcase in the first photo is Delsey’s CHÂTELET HARD + spinner luggage. I love the smaller size and bring it everywhere! The monogrammed backpacks are from Henri Bendel.

Sarah @ Endless Distances

Thursday 13th of April 2017

Oooh I really needed this list last week when my checked bag got stuck in Miami! Also - I'm a sucker for gummy bears too haha


Thursday 13th of April 2017

It's the worst when a checked bag gets lost. Hope these tips help!

The Journey of Christine

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

Yes, Haribo Gummy Bears! A must when traveling lol! Great tips! I love traveling with just a carry-on!

Kit Graham

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

Thanks Christine! Checking bags can slow me down. Last time I did it my bag ended up on another plane and I had to wait an hour for it! I'm glad you like Haribo too!


Wednesday 12th of April 2017

I'm packing right now so these tips are very timely! You pack light I am super impressed. What do you do about sun creams and other toiletries - do you just buy them on arrival? #WanderfulWednesday

Kit Graham

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

I hope you are heading somewhere fun! I usually buy sunscreen upon arrival - or at the airport after security.


Friday 17th of March 2017

Love the packing tips!

Kit Graham

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

Thanks Bethany! I hope they come in handy next time you are packing!

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