How to Pack a Week's Worth of Clothing in Your Carry-On

By TripIt

October 06, 2020

While airlines have been dramatically improving their change fee policies, travelers are still waiting for the eradication of another type of fee—the checked bag fee. Avoiding this extra fee has inspired many travelers to get creative with packing a carry-on. Even when you’re not flying, you might find yourself short on space when packing for a road trip or planning a car camping trip. 

The good news? Some simple travel hacks can help you save on space (and unnecessary fees) and get the most out of your trip. All it takes is a little packing know-how. Here are six easy tips for packing a week’s worth of clothes in your carry-on.

Go someplace warm

If you’re planning a vacation, choose your weather wisely. Merely planning to go on vacation somewhere warm immediately makes packing all the necessities in a carry-on significantly easier. Destinations like Miami, Florida or Palm Springs, California, make it easy to pack, easy to plan, and easy to relax.

Wear your layers

Of course, not everyone has the flexibility or desire to head to warm weather destinations. (And even beach towns can get a cool breeze that calls for a jacket.) The key to fitting more clothes in your carry-on? Wear all the outerwear you’re going to need for the trip during the flight. Sure, you’ll have to strip a few layers off to get through security. But it’ll be worth it when you realize how much room a sweatshirt or two can claim in a small bag. Besides, those layers can make for great pillows during long flights—or snoozing in the passenger seat of a car.

Roll your clothes in your carry-on

Additionally, regardless of weather, one way to fit more clothes in a carry-on suitcase is to roll everything tightly and stack it carefully. Put the bulkiest rolls on the bottom and squeeze the thinnest ones into any gaps. Think of it like a game of real-life Tetris. Rolling clothes is a go-to trick for seasoned flight attendants. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. 

Use your shoes wisely

If you have sneakers or even strappy heels to pack in your carry-on, all that space where your foot usually goes is great to sneak in some extra stuff. Socks are an obvious bet for filling the shoes, but miscellaneous, small, odd-shaped items like jewelry or accessories are also logical fillers.

Embrace minimalism

Everyone knows you’re on vacation and don’t have access to your entire closet. Don’t fret about repeating outfits. Instead, embrace it. Wearing the same simple combos repeatedly makes for one less thing to worry about while you’re traveling. 

Do laundry

Of course, no one wants to repeat outfits without feeling your best. Some hotels offer wash and fold laundry service. You can also pack or pick up a travel-size laundry detergent to hand wash a few basics while you’re traveling. Leverage TripIt’s Nearby Places feature to locate a convenience store near you to pick up what you need.

A quick wash is a great way to minimize the number of outfits you need to pack in your carry-on.