When you’re getting ready for that long-awaited vacation, being a minimalist is a good way to save time, aggravation, and money. Many people try to bring only one small piece of carry-on luggage on airplanes, as checking baggage can cost anywhere from $30 to $200, depending on the size of the suitcase, according to Lugless. That’s why it’s best to know how to pack a carry-on just right for your next seven-day travel adventure.
Before you do anything else, check with your airline on the dimensions they allow for carry-on luggage. The most standard size for many airlines like United, Jet Blue, and Delta is a bag not bigger than 22 x 14 x 9 inches. However, these airlines have no weight limit on the bag. It just has to fit into the overhead compartment (via Travel + Leisure). If you know how to pack your carry-on right, this shouldn’t be an issue.
What you should pack for a seven-day trip in one carry-on
If you’re heading for a summer vacation destination, make sure to pack five shirts, three shorts or skirts, two dressy outfits, one piece of outerwear in case it gets cool, one pair of sneakers, one pair of flip-flops, one pair of dress shoes, two bathing suits, one cover-up, and accessories, as well as essentials like pajamas, socks, and underwear (via Islands.com)
Of course, check the weather at your destination for the week you’ll be there because you might have to adjust that list in case of rainy days. Also check with your hotel to make sure they supply certain toiletries and necessities, including a hair dryer. If these things are included with your hotel stay, you don’t have to pack them.
Before you start packing all these items, lay them out on a bed or floor first so that you can take a visual stock of what you have and see if you missed anything from your list. You might not even want to pack everything you have laid out. You can wear a sweater or jacket on the plane, as well as your heaviest pair of shoes. The less that goes in the carry-on, the easier it will be for everything to fit.
How to fit all those items in your carry-on
Now that you know what’s going in the carry-on luggage and what’s not, it’s time to get it all in there and make sure it all fits. Islands.com recommends placing the front of the shirt on a flat surface, folding the arms back to square the item, folding the square in half, and then rolling. The shirts will unroll unwrinkled and leave more room in your suitcase.
Pants and sweaters can just be folded into squares, making them quite compact. Be careful with any dresses or other more formal items by leaving them on a hanger and putting them into clear plastic bags.
Now that everything is ready, it’s time to place the items, starting with the square ones. Place these in the carry-on luggage first, and the rolled shirts can surround them. Your socks and shoes can then go into any empty spaces you see. Finally, place your toiletry bag on top of the clothing and lay the dressy items in their plastic bags flat at the very top. As long as it all fits and you can zip with ease, you’re ready to go.
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