• Caroline Kelley

Packing Tips - How to Travel with Just Carry-on Items

Save your money, the environment, time and your back!


Many airlines charge for checked bags because heavy bags increase fuel consumption. By choosing to travel with only carry-on items, you're saving your pennies and the environment. You'll save time by skipping baggage claim and you'll avoid the risk of the airline losing your luggage.





Carry-on luggage is far less cumbersome than hauling a large and heavy suitcase.


Having just come back from Italy I witnessed many people struggling with heavy suitcases. Large cases are awkward to maneuver and on European trains they often end up blocking aisles because there isn’t adequate stowaway space.


If you can’t imagine fitting all you need into carry-on luggage, here’s a list of what I packed for a three week vacation in Italy, which included exploring Rome, Siena and Florence, a seven day yoga retreat and hiking. I wore everything I packed, but I could have managed happily with fewer items...seriously!



Packed in the Carry-On Roller for the Flight:

  • 4 pairs of underwear

  • 1 bra

  • 3 pairs of socks

  • 1 light scarf

  • 2 summer dresses

  • 3 summer tops

  • 2 t-shirts

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • 1 skirt

  • 1 pair of jeans

  • 1 denim jacket

  • 1 athletic jacket

  • 1 pair of yoga pants

  • 3 yoga tank tops

  • 1 bathing suit

  • 1 travel towel

  • 1 light weight waterproof jacket

  • 1 pair of sandals

  • Bathroom bag containing three ounce liquids

  • 1 small purse to go with summer dresses etc

  • 1 small pouch with a change of jewelry

  • 1 folded lightweight travel yoga mat


In a Small Backpack:

  1. Empty water bottle

  2. Sunglasses

  3. Wallet, phone and travel docs

  4. Kindle

  5. Snacks

  6. Blow-up pillow



What I wore on the plane:

  • Yoga pants

  • Tank top

  • Sports bra

  • Athletic jacket

  • Compression socks

  • Sneakers

  • Sun hat (which stowed on top of my roller)



Helpful Tips:

  1. Start with a packing list

  2. Make sure your luggage complies with carry-on guidelines.

  3. Plan to wear your bulky clothes on the plane.

  4. Be prepared to hand wash your clothes. If you wash a couple of items each day the process will be quick and easy.

  5. I often use hand soap or shampoo to wash my clothes but if you’re not sold on the idea, pack some laundry detergent in a 3oz bottle.

  6. Plan outfits so all your tops will go with all your bottoms, this enables you to diversify your outfits.

  7. Bring multipurpose items, i.e yoga pants can become hiking pants, a light scarf can keep you warm or protect you from the sun and the backpack becomes a sightseeing bag and hiking pack.

  8. Choose tops that will easily layer for cooler days and nights.

  9. Roll your clothes, you’ll save a lot of space this way.

  10. Use packing cubes to save space and organize your clothes (i.e underwear, bottoms and tops)

  11. Bring travel size items such as a tiny hair brush and travel razor.

  12. Remember many hotels provide shampoo, soap and lotion.

  13. If you run out of bathroom supplies you can always buy more (even in third world countries).

  14. If you're traveling with a friend or partner, divide and share items i.e deodorant, soap, adapter, travel towel and yoga mat etc.

  15. Never pack things “just in case”

  16. If you end up with space in your case, bonus! You now have the option to treat yourself on vacation.




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