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10 tips to help you pack a carry-on efficiently

Over the past seven years, I have traveled a lot for business. Most of the time, I am away for only one or two nights, but I have to pack for a day or two of meetings plus a cocktail reception and business dinner or two. I always pack a carry-on. Nothing is worse than arriving at the airport at 6:00am in the morning and having to wait 30 to 40 minutes for your suitcase to appear. I could be almost home in that amount of time. Here are a couple of tips on what to pack for a trip and tricks that I picked up along the way to help me fit everything in a carry-on.

  1. Buy the biggest carry-on that you can find. I have a 22” Travel Pro Rollaboard. I have had it the entire seven years that I have been working for my company.
  2. Pack basic bottoms that can be worn with various tops. I pack black pants or a black skirt that can be worn with a sweater set during the day and a dressier top in the evening to go out to dinner.
  3. You can’t go wrong with basic black shoes. I usually only pack one pair of formal shoes, that can be worn to meetings and to dinners.
  4. I always pack a pair of sneakers that can be worn to the gym or to walk around outside. I also pack flip flops that can do double duty. I wear them around my hotel room, but I can also wear them to take a walk.
  5. For the gym, instead of t-shirts, I pack tank tops, they take up less room, and shorts instead of sweat pants.
  6. Instead of packing a heavy sweater or sweatshirt, I will wear it on the plane.
  7. Most of the time, I do not pack toiletries. Most of the places I stay have pretty good toiletries. I only take along hand sanitizer and lotion.
  8. Whatever pants I wear on the plane are usually my casual pants for the trip. Jeans weigh a lot and take up a lot of space, so leave the extra pairs at home.
  9. I have switched from paperback books to a nook. I used to throw four or five books in my suitcase. Now I just have to bring my nook, which is thinner than one paperback.
  10. To save space, pack only one AC Adaptor and multiple cords. I only pack the AC Adaptor for iPad and I am able to charge my iPad, android phone and my nook with it.

Do you have any additional tips that I haven’t mentioned?

Picture credit: Kathryn Greenhill

About Mikaela Walker

If one rated travelers like colleges, I would definitely be in the Ivy League. I have traveled around the world for many years. I started out in hostels and I have now upgraded to nicer hotels. I have traveled as a single woman, a couple and as a family. I am the mother of a four-year old who is well on her way to becoming an avid traveler herself. I look forward to sharing my travels with you, including reviews of hotels, restaurants and entertainment found around the world, as well tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way. And just in case you are wondering, yes I did graduate from an Ivy League School. When, I am not telling.No information is provided by the author.


  1. I roll my clothes as supposedly that lessens the wrinkles and saves space – I still get some wrinkles but I do think I’m able to pack more with rolled up items.

    • I roll my t-shirts but don’t roll other items. It does keep them from wrinkling though.

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