Tips and Tricks to Packing the Perfect Carry-On
I consider myself very lucky; I not only enjoy my job, but I also have the
opportunity to travel all across the United States. As an account manager for a
storage company, I am required to visit our facilities. About a year ago, I realized
just how much of my “free” time was being spent waiting at the airport’s baggage
claim. It was then I became a dedicated carry-on traveler. Since then I have not only
saved a bundle of airline baggage checking fees, but I have learned many tricks on
how to pack a carry on. There is an organizational science to packing a carry on and
by following these tips you can avoid baggage fees and minimize travel time.
- Do Your Research: In the past few years, airport security has beefed up significantly. So before
you start to pack, do some research on the airports you will be passing through,
double check the regulation carry on bag size, the laptop policy and the rules for
carrying on liquids. There is nothing more frustrating than having all your toiletries
confiscated at the beginning of your trip. So it is well worth it to do a little research.
- Make Use of Available Resources: When it comes to picking your carry-on luggage, be sure to maximize your
options. Most airlines allow you one carry on and one personal bag or purse, which
essentially means two carry-on bags. I often bring a small rolling suitcase, to stow,
packed with my clothes and toiletries and a briefcase with my laptop, reading
material for the plane and work papers, that I keep under the seat. For the carry-on
bag that you plan to stow, make sure the bag fits airport regulation size. Most
luggage is now sold based on airport regulations, but don’t be afraid to ask at the
store to be certain. Depending on your preference, hard cased rolling bags or soft
duffel bags make great carry-ons.
- Be Budget Conscious: Since you will be carrying everything on, you will need to pack toiletries in
your bags. Now that airport security regulations dictate the volume of liquid you can
bring on the plane, you will need to purchase security certified sized bottles of
shampoo, conditioner, or face wash. Instead of buying brand name, airport sized
shampoo bottles, try buying a bunch of plain three ounce bottles. That was you can
fill them up with whatever toiletries you already own and can reuse them for
Let the Packing Begin
Before you put anything in your bag, lay out everything you plan to pack. Try
to wear your bulkiest clothes and shoes on the plane so you can avoid packing them
and wasting precious space. Since you need to fit everything in one carry-on bag,
there are two strategic packing strategies to choose from. Folding clothes is one of
the least efficient ways of packing your carry-on:
- Many of my friends swear by
the “rolling” method that they claim allows you fit the most items in your bag and
also keeps clothes wrinkle free. This method is pretty self explanatory, but consists
of rolling your clothes up in to tightly compacted tubes. Then you pack them into
- The other option is lying clothes completely flat on top of each other.
This option eliminates the extra bulk of folds and allows you to fit quite a bit of
clothing into your carry-on.
Once you have packed your clothes, put your toiletries in a quartz sized, clear
plastic bag on top. That way when you go through airport security, if they request
you remove your liquids and put them in a bin they are easily accessible. Remember
you can’t bring full water bottles through security. Instead back an empty water
bottle that you can fill up on the other side of security or once you are on the plane.
Also keep a jacket handy, there are usually drastic temperature changes on the
plane and it can also serve as a makeshift pillow.
Once you are all packed, you can print out your boarding pass, skip the hassle
of checking a bag and breeze through airport security. Carrying on saves a bundle of
time and money, once you make the switch you will never go back!
Sunny Brady is an account manager for Storage Arizona.
photos provided by Sandy