How to Pack in a Carry On: Travel Smarter

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

When I first met my husband, I told him I was the best packer. He most likely thought in the beginning during those "courting" months as I like to call them, that I may have been a tad bit high maintenance. He couldn't even fathom thinking about the girl who perfectly planned every detail of her outfit would ever be able to know how to pack in a carry on when traveling. He didn't know at the time of my years growing up as a figure skater and traveling all over the world. During that time, I was allowed one suitcase, my skate bag and that was it. I became a very efficient packer. Now, when my husband and I first started traveling together trying to consolidate was a struggle. Now like all things relationships, slowly but surely the training begins and I'm proud to say.....

We both took carry ons for our almost two week Honeymoon to Europe.

Yes, you read that correctly. A carry on for European travel. I will tell you how this amazing feat was accomplished and how to pack it all in a carry on.

How To Pack in a Carry On : Travel Smarter

image via

First Get a Really Good Bag

You don't need a
to pull this off, just a really good suitcase. I have
but this
is on my lust list. The main objective is that the bag can zip around expand. Worst case scenario, I can sit all my body weight on top of it and zip it close (
as long as it meets those TSA size guidelines
). Which has definitely happened more than once. Clothes really do grow after you wear them right?

Travel Sizes Galore

I stock pile travel sizes of everything throughout the year from my toiletries to my makeup. You can always go to Sephora and ask them for a few of their plastic sample jars and make your own samples. I travel with all my day to day products just in mini sizes, that way I don't have to check my bag just because of that foundation that is over 3oz. Get a
and you are good to go.

Get Yourself Pre Checked

My husband and I got
but that is because we travel to Europe,
if you are going to stay in the US. You do not have to take anything out of your bag i.e. laptops, products etc. It saves so much time and if your bag is perfectly packed, having to rifle through it at airport screening really messes with that whole ability to just travel in a carry on.

The Holy Grail

. Seriously, these are game changers especially if you get
. Yes it totally feels OCD folding every piece of clothing but you will be able to get double the amount of clothing into your bag. I guarantee it. Also, if you are traveling to multiple places you just have to take out a cube instead of unpacking your entire bag. I picked up mine
. These will change your life, I promise.
all images via

Pick Your Color Scheme

Mine is usually black, white and striped. Everything goes with those. Get yourself
and you can wear that so many different ways. When you pick a color scheme, everything goes together and you can mix and match pieces. You will get the most bang for your buck with the outfits you wear.
image via


Now if you go with the above related color scheme, accessorize with fun, bold colors to change it up. Scarfs, necklaces, earrings and bright lipsticks go a long way in jazzing up outfits....bonus is they don't take up a lot of room!
image via

Plan Plan and Plan Some More

Check the weather where you are going, it seems pretty common sense but there is nothing worse than traveling somewhere to realize it is going to be unseasonably hot and you took up extra room with bulky sweatshirts. Or a cold front is moving through and you should have brought gloves. Having to buy clothes on vacation is costly and sometimes there isn't room to bring them back.
Next, I always lay out my outfits for each day I plan on being away. Sightseeing outfit one, two and three. Out to dinner outfit one and two. Pajamas, workout pants, etc etc. This technique makes it impossible to over pack. Once you have every outfit laid out then you can add maybe one of two fun pieces such a bright cardigan or top but that is it. That way when you are at your destination you won't have to waste time figuring out to wear, you already did the work on the front end.
image via
Important note
. You know what takes up the most room? Shoes. Seriously you don't need 5 pairs of shoes. Wear your bulkiest pair on the plane, pack a pair of
bonus if they are foldable!
) and a pair of dressy comfortable shoes. That is all you need. Try it next time, you really only need three. Plus, if you have gone with a neutral color palette you won't need to bring that pair of hot pink pumps, they won't go with anything.

Best Piece of Advice

Don't forget to back ziplock bags and grocery bags. Grocery bags for your dirty laundy and shower caps to place your shoes into. Leave your hairdryer at home. I know your turbo salon quality hairdryer is the best but it takes up a ton of room and every hotel has one now. You can bring your flatiron, it's small and will help smooth out the flyaways from the hotel hairdryer. Ziplock bags for everything else (
especially if you go to the lounge before your flight, they have the best cookies there
). To help your jewelry stay organized, to pack little snacks from the leftover breakfast buffet, to put your toothbrush in at the end of the trip. There are so many ways you need ziplock bags for. I love making little sandwiches from breakfast and having those as a snack when we are out sightseeing, plus we all know how we get when hungry, a tucked away snack is always a good idea.

2016-02-29-1456712331-465316-SantoriniGreece.jpg2016-02-29-1456712365-1317272-LittleVeniceMykonos.jpgall images via Meet at the Barre Blog

So that is how to pack in a carry on for all your travel. I will get another shot at this at the end of the week when we are off to San Francisco and Napa to celebrate our one year wedding Anniversary! I hope you found this helpful, I would appreciate if you would pin to pinterest or share on Facebook! Can you pack in a carry on or are you a check the bag kind of person? What are some of your tried and true secrets for travel?

If you enjoyed this travel piece please view my other Huffington post travel
on the blog.
Original post can be found here on

Before You Go