How to Pack Everything Into a Carry On

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As I mentioned in my Europe recap blog post (here) I used a 40L backpack to carry around all my stuff for the summer, similar to this one here.  After doing a bunch of research and getting opinions from literally everyone about what size backpack to get, I finally decided on the 40L size.  That size ended up being the ideal size for a carry on and I never had to pay any extra luggage fees for the budget airlines. Instead of opening from the top like most backpacks, this one opened all the way across.  This helped so much staying organized and made it very easy to find everything throughout the trip.

How could I possibly fit everything in a carry on?

Well let me first say, I traveled for a total of almost 4 weeks.  After 2 weeks  I was able to do laundry.  But I would say fitting 2 weeks of clothes into a carry on is still an accomplishment, especially with my addiction to shoes! Ha!

  1. Know what you need to bring, and what you don’t. If it’s going to be 80 degrees and sunny the entire week, you probably don’t need your rain boots or winter jacket.  Likewise, know the necessities like toiletries and travel documents.  Create a packing list beforehand so you know exactly what you want to and can bring with you, that way you won’t bring a lot extra.
  2. Pack Mix and Match outfits.  The key to packing success, don’t pack tons of crazy patterned tops and bottoms that won’t go together.  I packed jeans/shorts that were denim, or only black, that way they matched with every top I brought no matter how crazy the pattern might be.  (Also, don’t bring clothes that wrinkle easily if you won’t have access to an iron.)
  3. Roll Roll Roll. I have found that rolling my clothes is the best option. Not only does it reduce the wrinkles but it also makes it easier to pack into your bag.



How do you pack light?

Give me some more tips to help me organize my bag better!