A Quick and Minimal Packing Guide For Carry-on Only Travel

Carry-on bags are those that have been brought to keep on your person – usually on a plane. As per the rules and regulations, if you are traveling internationally and cannot fit everything into your carry-on, you must put some items in a checked bag. 

Traveling with carry-on bags only is ideal for individuals who want to avoid checking baggage entirely and for those who wish to save money on airline fees for luggage – which can be hefty in some cases.

With that in mind, here’s a guide to minimalist packing for travelers who’d rather not be faced with the stress and hassle of checked luggage woes!

What To Pack

The following are some tips on how to pack a carry-on bag to ensure quick and efficient travel –  wherever you are going.


The biggest worry for most is clothing; what should you pack? The ninja tip here is to think about what you’ll be doing on your trip and pack accordingly, rather than packing what you would normally include and then being stuck with a truckload of luggage you probably won’t use.

For example, let’s say you’re heading off on a dream dream to the idyllic Florida Keys. In that case, look up things to do in Key West and decide on some activities. If you find be spending all of your time at the beach, it’s unlikely you’ll need your hiking boots! A few spare swimsuits and some light clothing and sandals are all you’ll probably need for the trip.

On the other hand, if you intend to go somewhere colder, such as a skiing destination, you’ll need to pack enough layers to keep you warm – as well as any ski gear you might need.

In any case, packing a capsule wardrobe is also a good idea. Before the start of your trip, go through your clothing and consider what you will need to wear each day. Make a list so you can focus on getting what you want and not end up with half a wardrobe in your bag!


You don’t need to pack full-sized toiletries for your travels. Ever. Keep an eye on what you currently have for home toiletries and consider buying slightly smaller versions for your trip or even decanting a small amount into travel bottles.

If you are traveling for more than just a few weeks, you may need to consider buying toiletries when you get there. Products for personal hygiene are important in most cultures; it’s rare that you won’t be able to pick up the basics, like shampoo, soap, and toothpaste, across most of the world.

Tech Gear

Traveling with tech gear like laptops and tablets is always a challenge, but you can usually get away with just bringing your laptop and phone rather than a tablet too. If you need to get on the internet often or work remotely, this is the best option. 

Bring an external hard drive or memory stick full of movies to entertain yourself on longer trips where you’re likely to have a few layovers and a lot of downtime. A good pair of wireless headphones or earbuds is also a must!

Pick The Right Bag 

This is a quick and easy way to simplify your packing. A good bag with internal compartments and extra pockets will mean you can keep your belongings separate from each other, which makes them easier to find. Plus, it may help protect any fragile items throughout the trip, such as keeping any food or a water bottle away from your electronics in your bag. 

Generally, a duffel bag or rolling suitcase will be suitable for most trips; however, if you plan to travel now and again, look into buying a carry-on-only backpack instead. They are much more comfortable to carry than suitcases and have similar compartments ideal for packing your clothes.