How To Maximize Your Carry-on Luggage


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It seems that over the past year of traveling I’ve dipped my foot into the budget airline waters. Who am I kidding, I’ve taken a full on swim in those waters cause thats about all I can afford at this point in time. I must say, It’s not as sad as It sounds. Budget airlines are a true lifesaver for a girl who wants to see the world, without selling her soul to do it. That being said, nobody who travels on a budget likes those tricky bag restrictions.

Since I’m in the middle of packing a carry-on for a trip to Scotland, I thought I would show you what I’m working with, how I pack and how I maximize my hand luggage.

The backpack in the above picture is what I’m using on this specific trip. I usually choose to take a backpack over a roller bag, simply because I prefer to carry it. Bags with wheels are great for airports, but In my experience, they can cause problems when trying to roll them down old cobblestone streets. Oddly enough, I have the option to check a bag for this trip, but I’ve gotten this whole process down to a science, so I didn’t feel the need to take advantage of that option.

This particular bag is not actually meant for travel, but it does the job. Below I’ve written a list of all the things I was able to fit into this bag, as well as some helpful tips on how I managed it. I’ve also included some pictures for anyone who wants to see exactly how I pack my bags.

My Bag: FJÄLLRÄVEN Kånken “17 inch Laptop Style

Measurements: 36x25x20

Weight: 6kg

What I Have In My Bag:

  • DSLR + battery charger
  • Adaptor + phone charger
  • Pants x 2
  • Shirts x 4
  • Sweater
  • Jean Jacket
  • Converse shoes
  • Socks and intimates
  • Makeup + Toiletries
  • Small backpack
  • Small purse
  • Umbrella

My Packing Tips:

  • Make a list before you begin packing.
  • Seriously think about what you need. Try to imagine different outfit combinations and what you need to achieve them. You don’t need a completely different outfit for everyday.
  • Role all your clothes.
  • Make your electronic wires compact by using twist-ties or elastic bands to keep them together.
  • Think long and hard about your makeup/hair tools. Chances are you don’t need as much as you think. If it won’t fit in a makeup bag (including brushes) don’t bring it.
  • Stuff small items into your shoes (socks, underwear, accessories).
  • If you’re bringing a large camera, remove the lens from the body and pack separately. If not, place your camera lens down, instead of laying it as you normally would. You can fit the bulk of the lens into the heel of a shoe to save space.
  • Wear your bulkiest clothes to the airport

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*I’m also able to carry a small purse onto the plane which holds the typical things like my passport, money and phone.

I hope some of these tips help you guys. Packing a carry-on is much less stressful when you’ve done it a few times before and it’s the perfect options for quick trips. No more waiting around a baggage carousel for you!

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