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How to Pack for Your Winter Vacation with Only Carry-On Luggage

by Savanna Kiefer

Freebies, Fun, Holidays

Pack your bags! The holidays are approaching which means... it’s time for Christmas vacation, time with the family, or a tropical getaway to escape the snow! Wherever you’re heading this season, you obviously need to take clothes and necessities; but why pay for checked luggage and deal with the hassle of making sure your bags arrive safely to your final destination when you can pack all of your vacation essentials in only carry-on luggage? We’re here to show you how!


Take a Backpack as Your Personal Item

Alright, the first step to mastering a perfectly packed set of carry-on luggage is to maximize your “personal item” that is allowed on the plane. This is the item that’s supposed to fit under the seat in front of you on the plane, not the item that goes in the overhead bin. Most people will just carry a small bag or purse as their personal item, but using a bigger bag such as a backpack will give you much more space to fit your necessities.

When you start packing for your trip, leave aside your toiletries and any other items that you will need on the plane such as headphones, phone charger, lip balm, etc. These are the items that should go in your backpack since you can easily access them during your flight. You can easily fit your laptop, a reusable water bottle, chargers for all your devices, two small bags of toiletries, a hoodie or sweater, and snacks in a backpack. If you’re packing flat shoes like sandals, try to see if they will fit in your backpack as well. Load up this bag with small items so that you have more space in your suitcase!


Be Strategic with Clothing

Alright ladies, we’re looking at you. Yes, we’re all guilty of over-packing! You know that date night outfit that you pack for vacation that never leaves the suitcase because you’d rather be comfy? Leave it behind. If you’re known for not wearing some of the clothes you take on trips, think strategically this time around and leave behind what you know won’t get worn.

To start packing clothes, take a look at the weather forecast for your destination and plan your outfits accordingly. If you really want to maximize the space in your suitcase, create outfits that can be mixed and matched. For example, a denim jacket can be worn over a cute dress or with a pair of leggings and a T-shirt. Keep your tops and bottoms interchangeable! Also remember that jeans can be re-worn a few times before needing to be washed, so don’t pack multiple pairs. If you’re going to a destination with cold weather, pack thin layers that can be mixed and matched rather than packing thick sweaters or jackets that will take up a lot space in your bag. If you do need to pack a big jacket or clunky boots, wear those on the plane.


Do Laundry on Vacation

As much as it stinks to stop your fun times to wash clothes, doing laundry on a long vacation will really help minimize the amount of clothing you need to pack. Search for a nearby laundromat at your destination or ask if your hotel has washers and dryers for public use. If you’re going to be away for more than a week, it’s smart to do a load of laundry during your trip. Plus, you might need the hour or two of downtime in the laundromat to rest up from all your exciting adventures.


Keep Everything Minimal

Similar to your clothing, keep any other personal items to a minimal. If you really need a hairdryer on your trip, check and see if your hotel or AirBnB will have one that you can use. Do you really need a full size toothbrush or can you get away with using a small travel-sized one? If you’re going to a tropical destination, do you really need a ton of makeup or can you go with packing just the basics? Consider questions like these to rule out any extra items you won’t be needing.


Wherever you go, it’s always possible to save a little extra dough on checked luggage. Spend that money on something more memorable on your vacation! If you follow these simple tips, you’ll have plenty of extra space to bring home some souvenirs. It’s a win-win!

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