Packing a carry-on is a skill to be mastered. Between the limited space allocated to each passenger by airlines and numerous TSA regulations you need to weed through, making sure all of your essentials fit within the requirements can seem like an advanced game of Tetris.
To help you take the stress out of packing, we’ve put together a list that you can use as a packing guide the next time you’re jetting off for work, a weekend getaway, or a well-deserved month-long retreat.
Enjoy the Journey
No matter where you’re heading, there are a few things you can bring in your carry-on to make traveling more enjoyable.
Self-Care Essentials: Long flights can wreak havoc on your body, and packing a few pampering products can help you feel rested and refreshed when you land. Rejuvenating eye gels and facial oil help hydrate your skin after spending time in a low-humidity cabin.
Wearing compression socks will boost circulation in your legs and reduce swelling, so you’ll be ready for adventure when you touch down at your destination.
Snacks: Whether you’re jumping on a quick commuter flight or planning a lengthy international journey, having a few snacks on hand is a must. Dried fruit, nuts, and protein bars are great to stick in your carry-on.
Here’s a checklist of additional items you may want to bring with you to make your flight better:
- Miniature toothpaste
- Unscented lotion
- Face wipes
- Body wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Mints or chewing gum
- Hairbrush or comb
- Headphones or earbuds
- Eye mask
- Neck pillow
What to Pack in Your Carry-On if You’re Checking a Suitcase
If you’re planning a longer trip, you’ll probably need to check your luggage. A larger bag gives you plenty of room to bring the clothing, shoes, and accessories you’ll want on your adventures, as well as providing space for any souvenirs you pick up. Checking a suitcase is unavoidable for lengthy trips, but there are a few things you should always keep with you.
Irreplaceable Items: Anything you can’t replace if it is lost or stolen should stay with you. Be sure to keep these items in your carry-on:
- Travel documents including tickets, identification, passports, and lodging confirmations that you’ll need to access en route to your destination
- Money and credit cards
- House and car keys
- Any passes, including printed concert tickets that aren’t backed up digitally or cannot be replaced
Medications: Prescription medications can be tough to replace if your checked bag doesn’t make it to your destination with you. Be sure to pack all medications (including any non-prescription medicines such as Advil or Tylenol) in your carry-on to save yourself any hassle.
Power Bank: Even if your airplane seat is equipped with a power outlet, there’s no guarantee it will be working. Packing a small power bank along with your charging cord will ensure that you can access the GPS or travel confirmation emails on your phone when you need them.
Emergency Clothing & Toiletries: If your checked bag goes missing, you’ll be glad you brought a day’s worth of clothing and necessary toiletries in your carry-on. Don’t forget to pack a change of undergarments!
Destination Essentials: Be sure to bring anything you might need when you step out of the airport and into the climate of your new destination. If you’re traveling somewhere warm and sunny, don’t forget a pair of sunglasses! Are you heading to a ski trip on a snow-covered mountain? Your coat, hat, and scarf should go with you on the plane.
What to Pack if You’re Only Bringing a Carry-On
If you’re only planning to pack a carry-on, prioritize the things you absolutely need, such as travel documents, electronics, and medications. You may want to forgo items that you can pick up at your hotel or the surrounding area – think toothbrush, toothpaste, and shampoo. Heads up: Make sure that any liquids follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule.
Smart Packing and Travel Tips to Maximize Space in Your Carry-On
Choosing the right carry-on can make all the difference in your travel experience. Carry-on bags such as VESSEL’s Signature 2.0 Boston Duffel that feature ventilated compartments for an extra pair of shoes or dirty clothes are an excellent choice, especially if you aren’t going to be checking a bag. The following tips and tricks will also help you maximize space and travel like a pro.
What Not to Pack: If you’re heading someplace cold (or tend to get cold on flights) and need to bring a coat or jacket, don’t put it inside your carry-on – or your checked bag for that matter. Bulky outerwear can take up a lot of real estate in a suitcase, so it’s better to wear it or loop it over your bag if you get too warm.
Smart Travel Accessories: Space-saving travel accessories can really come in handy when you’re going to be stuck in an airplane for several hours. Collapsible water bottles with filters can not only be flattened to take up less space when they’re not in use, but the filter will allow you to drink water from a faucet instead of needing to purchase a bottle at the airport after you’ve passed through TSA. Plus, you’ll be able to stay hydrated through your flight without needing to flag down a flight attendant multiple times for a water refill.
Traveling In Style
Traveling in style is easy when you know how to approach packing. Choosing complementary colors and items you can wear in multiple ways will set you up to look your best, no matter what your travel adventures entail. In this article, we’ll break down some simple methods you can use to create a cohesive travel wardrobe the next time you’re heading out of town, as well as offer a few specific garment suggestions that are perfect for jet-setting.
To pack appropriately, consider the length of your stay, weather forecast, and specific itinerary of events. These packing methods can help you streamline your process and even save you some room in your suitcase to bring home the goodies you acquire on your adventures!
Start With the Right Suitcase
Selecting the perfect luggage or carry-on can make all the difference in your travel experience – and you don’t have to sacrifice functionality in a stylish suitcase! Carry-ons such as the VESSEL Signature 2.0 Boston duffel and Signature 2.0 Luggage, blend innovative design features and chic styling to deliver form and function throughout your travels. Make sure you select a carry-on bag with a trolley sleeve, so you can easily slide it over the handle of a large rolling suitcase for longer trips.
Choose a Color Palette
No matter how much time you spend planning your outfits, you may need to adapt your ensemble if plans change last minute. Sticking with a cohesive color palette will give you more outfit options once you’ve arrived at your destination. This makes it easy to swap out a shirt or throw on an extra layer without worrying about colors or patterns clashing.
For example, if you start packing and realize you have a lot of jewel tones, avoid packing any brightly colored garments that will clash. Choosing a single palette such as earth tones, jewel tones, or pastels will make it easy to put together cohesive looks when you arrive at your destination, so you can focus on enjoying your trip and not stressing about what to wear.
Here are a few foolproof color combos you can use to build a cohesive travel wardrobe selection:
- Navy blue, brown, and cream
- Black, white, and gray
- Chestnut, turquoise, and gold
- Dark gray and jewel tones
Prioritize Comfort and Versatility
Today, flying in style is as much about making smart choices as it is about aesthetics. Holding up the TSA screening line because you wore shoes that don’t easily slip on and off is sure to garner some frustrated sighs from other passengers in a rush to board, no matter how cool you look. Here are a few smart style choices to follow when you’re traveling by plane:
- Wear comfortable, closed toe shoes that you can slip off and on
- If you must wear sandals, bring a pair of socks to wear while you’re walking through TSA screening
- Forego scented colognes and perfumes
- Invest in a good pair of compression socks (these will help reduce swelling and promote better circulation on your flight)
Stylish Travel Garments for Women
No matter where you’re heading, these five items will up your style game without taking up a ton of room in your suitcase. Plus, you can style most of these in multiple ways!
Scarves: A sophisticated scarf can elevate the look of any outfit. If you’re traveling to a warm climate, a long, thin scarf can be worn around your neck, in your hair, or used as a belt. In cold weather, a soft infinity scarf can be draped over your head or worn around your neck. You can even use it to cover your eyes while you’re napping on the plane.
Flexible Pants With Pockets: Wearing comfortable pants is essential when you’re sitting in the same seat for several straight hours. Luckily, there are tons of options available, no matter what your personal style preference may be. Wrinkle-resistant dress pants are ideal if you’re meeting up with your boss when you get off the plane. We recommend choosing a pair of pants with pockets, because you can never have too many convenient places to tuck your phone, tickets, and other essentials when you’re traveling.
Cardigans: A comfy cardigan is a must-have for travel. Wear it open, closed, or draped over your shoulders. Whether you’re heading someplace warm or cold, a cardigan is great to have on hand when the sun sets and the temperature dips.
Convertible Dresses/Skirts: Infinity dresses or convertible skirts make an excellent addition to any travel wardrobe. Because you can wear them in many different ways, you’ll have options if you’re invited to a fancy dinner on the fly.
Stylish Travel Garments for Men
Sleek designs that can stand up to the elements are must-haves for travel. Below you’ll find a list of five garments and accessories that will help you get the most out of the limited space in your suitcase.
Water-Resistant Dress Pants: It seems almost everything has a waterproof (or at least water-resistant) edition – cameras, phones, watches, and even pants. There are many stylish dress pants and chinos on the market made with water and stain-resistant fabrics that are ideal for travel. You can be sure you’ll look polished no matter what sort of accidental spill you encounter when you choose water-resistant pants.
No-Iron Shirts: No-iron fabrics are perfect for travel. Keeping your clothes in your suitcase is bound to lead to a few unwanted creases…unless you opt for no-iron shirts. Luckily, these fabrics can be found in polos, oxfords, T-shirts, and more, so you can look good without needing to spend time ironing once you get to your hotel.
Dress Sneakers: Wear a good pair of athleisure shoes with pants and a blazer or jeans and a graphic tee. These sneakers may turn out to be the only shoes you’ll need for a weekend getaway!
The Perfect Watch: A great men’s watch will be the only accessory you’ll need on your travels. Designs that feature easily interchangeable straps such as VESSEL’s automatic watches will make tailoring your timepiece to your ensemble a breeze. Watch faces that display the date in addition to the time will help you stay on top of your schedule when you’re venturing into a different time zone.
Utilize these tips to help streamline packing and you’ll be on your way to paradise in no time! Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a month long excursion, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be traveling in style.