How to Pack Light with a Carry On Luggage

how to pack light with a carry on luggage bawdy beauty blog


Hopefully you’ve found your way to this article because you’re traveling somewhere and if that’s the case, kudos to you! But, of course, make sure you’re traveling safe because, COVID. And while we’re super psyched you’re getting further than the couch, we don’t encourage unsafe travel.

Traveling can be a challenge but, thankfully, the excitement usually makes it all worth it - amirite? You know what else eases travel stress? A solid packing list and a killer carry-on situation. Striking that balance between bringing what you want for all your travel comforts, adhering to baggage guidelines, and packing intelligently in order to carry light is freakin’ hard. Lucky for you, we’ve sorted this out in the ultimate carry-on how-to.

How Do You Pack Everything in Your Carry-on?

The short answer is, you don’t. And no one wants to because we’re mostly minimalists now, anyway. The secret to carrying light is understanding what you truly need on your flight versus what can be checked. There are the must-haves for any flight like a collapsable filtering water bottle to stay hydrated, valuables, our Butt Stick Duo for refreshed skin, and entertainment for you and the kids. Other things like compression socks, a sweatshirt, and a fresh pair of underoos, for example, are optional.


Compression socks have been shown to provide benefits to travelers on flights lasting five hours or more. Planes are notoriously cold so if you’re sensitive to temperature, a sweatshirt may be a good idea. Pro tip: drape it over your shoulders so as to not take up space on a carry-on. And, we don’t know about you but, we’re generally not changing our undies after a handful of hours on a regular day so we’ll skip stowing them in our carry-on for short and medium-haul flights.

What Can You Not Pack in Your Carry-on Bag?

We all know that air travel has the most restrictions. And it’s our carry-ons that bear the heaviest regulations. However, train and bus travel are slowly starting to catch up. To be safe, no matter how you travel, if not in the comfort of your own car, it’s best to keep these major guidelines in mind set forth by the TSA:

  1. The 3-1-1 rule: this is an easy way to remember how to pack liquids, if you must. No more than three ounces in a single one-quart clear plastic bag.
  2. Medications: this one is a little tricky. Medications in liquid form are allowed in your carry-on “in excess of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for the flight.
  3. Prohibited items for each country will vary but generally assume that if it’s sharp or could be used as a weapon, steer clear. Yes, this even goes for an Alexander McQueen beaded four-ring clutch ‘cuz baby,  those are brass knuckles and that’s considered a weapon. A full list of TSA prohibited items can be found here.

How Do You Pack When Flying?

  1. Know your limits. We’re talking weight and size limits. Each airline and method of travel is different so be sure to check how big your carry-on can be and how much it’s permitted to weigh. Then, pack accordingly with the help of a simple luggage scale.
  2. Put questionable things like your baggie of liquids, laptop, portable charger, and other electronics on top so if you’re asked to pull them out for inspection, the passengers behind you won’t be rolling their eyes in annoyance as you dig to the bottom of your bag.
  3. Include luggage tags even on your carry-on as luggage may get jostled or redistributed during the flight, accidentally picked up by another passenger, or you may be required to check it if the size of your aircraft is suddenly changed.

Can I Put My Purse in my Carry-on?

You definitely could but you might not want to. Here’s why. First of all, a purse, diaper bag, or even a fanny pack is considered a personal item and doesn’t count as a carry-on.

Secondly, keep your essential essentials (it’s a thing) in your purse. This means things like passports, travel documents, medicine, your cell phone and charger, and money. And keep your purse with you at all times by avoiding stowing it in the overhead compartment.  If your carry-on and luggage go missing, you’ll have everything you need in your purse to eat and get lodging.

Is it Better to Roll or Fold Clothes in a Suitcase?

Hot topic, highly debated, here’s our opinion: when it comes to packing a suitcase, some items of clothing like t-shirts, towels, socks, and underwear work really well rolled due to their synthetic composition. However, bulky items like jackets and pieces made with natural materials like linen are better suited for flat-fold packing. Either way, if you’re looking for a great how-to when it comes to rolling clothes for packing, check this out. 

The Bottom Line

Even with all the COVID and TSA restrictions, with a touch of planning and a bit of super smart advice (ahem), traveling can still be safe, fun, and exciting. So good luck and let us know how it goes by sharing with our community on Instagram @bawdybeauty.