I avoid checking a suitcase at all costs and can pack for a good 10 days in just a carryon. Working as a flight attendant for 3 years taught me some important packing strategies. Here’s how to pack like a minimalist, but still have everything you need.
It’s All About The Luggage
First up, soft-sided suitcases and duffle bags fit more, as well as suitcases that have a mid-way zipper that divides your bag into two sides. When it comes to your under the seat bag, take advantage of the space and invest in a backpack or under the seat bag with ample electronics storage. In other words, don’t waste space by just carrying on a cute purse. Speaking of purses, if your under the seat bag won’t be doubling as your purse—bring a cloth or compact tote, purse, or clutch that won’t take up much room in your suitcase.
Packing Like A Pro
- Roll your clothing when you pack, preferably in packing cubes.
- Line small items along the bottom, such as your socks, tanks, and undies.
- If you must bring athletic shoes, make sure they are lightweight and small. Try to keep it to 2 pairs of shoes max.
- Pack socks in your shoes.
- Bring a lot of mix-and-match pieces to maximize your wardrobe. For example, 2 pants 5 tops, and 1 or 2 layering items with accessories.
- Pack light but don’t forget cozy PJs or yoga pants, socks to wear around the hotel, earplugs, and maybe a sleeping mask for on the plane or in the hotel.
- Keep essentials in your suitcase zipper pouches—band-aids, mini-sewing kit, ibuprofen, cold and flu med, peppermint tea, one day of feminine care products, Kleenex, etc. This will keep things out of the way but there if you need them.
Wear Your Bulky Items
One of the challenges of traveling is the bulk of traveling to or from a warm climate to a cooler climate—or traveling in a cooler climate. When possible, where your bulkiest and chunkiest pieces. This is especially important when it comes to shoes such as your tennis shoes and boots. Don’t forget, your coat does not count as a carryon—so don’t pack it.
Last but not least, pack a small canvas backpack or bag in case you do a bit of shopping and need to check your suitcase on the return. Also, budget items you may need to purchase when you arrive—such as a sun hat, sunscreen or maybe a sweater if the weather is unseasonably cold.