I LOVE going carry-on only when I travel and recently did so on my trip to Bangkok for a week. I wrote down everything I packed so I could share it here and give some carry-on packing tips and what to have on your carry-on packing list.
Easy Carry-on Packing List
Rolling 19 Inch Luggage, Carry-on Luggage Review
It’s so important to get the right luggage for this! I use my 19 inch [easyazon_link identifier=”B00BXDPF8U” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]international standard hard cover Delsey bag[/easyazon_link] which I have in silver. I have the matching big one as well and I really love them. You can get larger carry-ons which I’ve had before, but to be safe I always use this one now.
Carry On Luggage Review | Perks of Delsey:
Four-wheel spinners instead of two make it easier to walk with.
The front part zips to open forward to slide in magazines, laptop, and makes getting organized on the plane and getting things out for security a lot easier than having to unzip your whole carry-on.
The inside has a zippered off section on half to keep things firmly in place.
There are a couple small sneaky pockets.
It expands and can actually become huge and hold a lot of weight, which would mean being checked on the way home- but it’s nice to have that option.
Huge Ass Purse
You get a personal item, and your purse can be pretty big I’ve come to realize. Men can actually take a carry-on rolley bag and a laptop bag, so you can definitely take a laptop size purse. I usually go for Fossil when I carry normal size purses.
Things to put in your giant purse:
[easyazon_link identifier=”B00VW7U8X4″ locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Sound Cancelling Headphones[/easyazon_link]
Little bag with all your charging cords
[easyazon_link identifier=”B00I15SB16″ locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] (if you want books to inspire wanderlust just follow this link!)
[easyazon_link identifier=”B004UB056E” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Pillow[/easyazon_link] & eye mask if a long flight
Scarf & socks because flights are absurdly cold and I’m still not sure why.
[easyazon_link identifier=”B002LITT3S” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Camera[/easyazon_link], extra SD card, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00JSFYWFW” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]portable battery charger[/easyazon_link],
[easyazon_link identifier=”B005MNGQ6C” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]backup hard-drive[/easyazon_link]
I keep a clutch or smaller purse inside my big purse for when I get to my destination. It’ll have all the good things: wallet with ID, money, cards, passport, small jewelry bag, phone, trip itinerary probably saved to PDF on your phone, lip gloss, chapstick, and a pen!
What to Put IN the suitcase
Alright so far so good, right? You have a lot of stuff and it’s all in your personal bag, so now we have got to fill up your big suitcase. The key is to actually pick out your outfits and only take the exact number you know you have to wear.
If you’re going somewhere hot:
The absolute easiest way to pack is to take dresses. If you have a 7 day trip, take 5 dresses, one pair of shorts, 3 tank tops, some work out clothes, a kimono, and call it a day! You can add in cute sandals and a pair of heels.
You have got to be sure to pack at least two bikinis, although I tend to take three because I’m an addict. Right now, my favorites are by Cenote Swimwear, a company out of Australia that I found on Instagram. I seriously follow about 50 swimsuit brands’ Instagrams… I told you, I am an addict. It was started by a couple girls who got inspired traveling in Central and South America and loved the Brazilian cut swimsuits. I love supporting other girls who were inspired by travel to create a new business!
From their website: “A road trip surfing our way down the PanAm highway in Central America saw long lazy days swinging in hammocks, hours laying out at sea on our surf boards, drinking coconuts, watching sunsets, dancing salsa until early hours, people watching in Rio de Janeiro, and absorbing the vibrant and colourful Latin culture. With such amazing and diverse inspiration around us we drew on this amazing energy and the ideas grew.”
If you’re going somewhere cold:
Take your favorite 2 pairs of skinny jeans, 7 tops to wear with them, some black ankle boots and brown knee-high boots OR cute shoes like [easyazon_link identifier=”B00120WEMY” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]burlap Toms[/easyazon_link], a sweater, work out clothes, a leather jacket, and a thick scarf. You could throw in one dress and leggings as well. Your big scarf should be the scarf you put in your “personal” item bag.
I’m sure you know by now your favorite brands and I know I’ve shared mine over time so I won’t list them all again (you can see a list here of some of my favorite beauty products).
Other than taking small bottles of your favorite things, be sure to remember trial size perfumes, mini OPI polish (I love the [easyazon_link identifier=”B00R2X2ZCY” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Hawaii ones[/easyazon_link]!), and solid shampoos like [easyazon_link identifier=”B00V4IQ3TY” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]LUSH[/easyazon_link].
*Check out this post on beauty products that defeat looking like you’ve got jet lag and tips on preventing jet lag in the first place.
Carry-on Packing Tips for you soon to be pro-packers
Packing carry-on only is NOT the time to pack something you haven’t worn yet but really want to wear and think ____ might be the perfect place for it plus it’ll look good in photos…nope, leave it at home.
Do not forget to pack your travel insurance copy or have it saved as a PDF on your phone or in your emails at least. Passport, Kindle, and travel insurance… three of the most important things!
Don’t forget hair ties, a clip, and some bobby pins.
You could do a carry-on duffel bag if you want and if you have weird shaped things going inside. Just make sure that it can fit inside the carry-on restrictions for your airline.
Pack snacks! You ALWAYS need snacks. I don’t even go to the grocery store without packing snacks… ;)
This post was brought to you by Cenote Swim. All opinions are my own!
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Really great post and tips! Thanks for sharing!
I was interested to see what you pack! In my personal bag I take all the exact same things and my camera. :) I like to take just a carry-on because I know it will not get lost. Another thing I have in my carry-on are copies of my passport and visa. I have them in one of those clear binder sheet things, they go in 3-ring binders and open from the top. You never know when a copy could come in handy, they lay flat and take up zero space.
By the way, I love the dress you are wearing in the photo with the Spice Jet plane!
Hi Betsy! I think that dress was a cheap one from forever 21 – it’s perfect for India so I wear it all the time. Good idea to keep your passport copies in your carry-on too !
Amazing tips..and the photo with plane in the background looks like a vintage one…amazing clicks all of them…I am glad I came across your Blog..Rachel…xoxo, Neha
Hi Neha! Thanks for reading :)
On most of my travels I like to go with almost empty carry-on so I can buy a lot of things when I get there :)
that’s the way to go!
Hi Rachel! You are my “go to” now for India travel. Forget Lonely Planet and India Mike! lol. So my question now for you is: Backpack or rolling cart? I am kicking myself for not bringing a huge ass rolling suitcase to Goa. I brought a backpack and it was loaded right down with Anjuna Market (and Studio Tia) goodies. Needless to say, I needed several chiropractic adjustments when I got home. My next India trip is to Rajasthan and Himchal Pradesh. Unlike Goa, I will not be parked in one place, but on the go train travel etc.. (plus with my 13 year old son)
Do you think a mid-sized rolling suitcase will be a big pain in the butt to drag onto trains and down hot dusty roads?
Wow thanks Lauren!! That’s quite the compliment :) So, I always go backpack just because it’s easy to carry and move about in crowds.. the train stations can be a little hectic and sometimes you’ll have to walk with it down alleys to hotels if the car can’t go down, etc. They are not as good as a suitcase in terms or organizing but it’s nice to have free arms and be able to move around easier.
My new obsession to deal with this: leave stuff there. I had so many things meant for spring cleaning that just never seemed to happen. I found this (http://www.essentialpackingchecklists.com/leaving-things-behind/) and it’s completely changed how I travel for those trips I know trinkets are coming home!
Great tips. I’m about to leave on a huge trip around asia with only my carry on. Most of my friends think its crazy, whoever, im excited!
awesome!! :) I hope you have the best time!
I love that you break this list down between hot and cold weather destinations! I’m a 100% fan of carry-on luggage. It may be annoying to carry it through the airport, but you don’t have to wait for baggage after your flight and MORE IMPORTANTLY you aren’t at risk of losing your luggage en route! Thanks for these great tips!
Yep, I love knowing I have everything I need with me on the flight.
Awesome to know that one can actually travel with a carry on and still be stylish!
I found Cenote on Instagram last week and I’m OBSESSED! They’re awesome ❤️ Oh and great tips too, lil lady! Best one? Never go anywhere without snacks.
haha I love snacks!
I am really enjoying your blog and am interested in traveling to India next year. With the money situation, you mentioned it only cost you about $1500 to enjoy India for three months? is that correct? I am on a very tight budge so for six days I am thinking half of that would get me through the entire trip? So did you carry cash all the time? are US credit cards a way to pay for room and board?