Travel light with just a carry-on!

Travel light with just a carry-on! By Fatuma A. Abdullahi - August 18, 2021

Packing Tips

Packing for a trip can be challenging for many, let alone for just a carry-on. When packing for a trip or vacation, less is more! The most common mistake most travelers make is overpacking their bags. I will share some packing tips to travel with just a carry-on to make your journey less hectic.  

  1. Choose the appropriate carry-on bag. 

When buying carry-on luggage, think about how useful it will be; don’t just get any old carry-on that will fit in the overhead compartment. First, ensure your carry-on luggage is the correct size because size restrictions differ by the airline; for example, for Qatar Airways, it’s 7kgs. Second, select the right bag for your vacation- a backpack if you are moving around a lot or a suitcase. The right bag is lightweight and simply shaped, giving you the most packing space within airline requirements. The straps should come from the bottom to compress the contents and prevent objects from shifting and causing wrinkles inside the bag. Finally, fill every nook and cranny. 

  1. What clothes to bring! 

Because you are traveling with just a carry-on, you’ll need to be selective about what type of clothes to bring. The key to packing light is to bring garments that can be layered and styled differently to become another outfit, providing more clothing alternatives. Leave thick clothes and heavy coats at home. 

Start packing from the bottom of the bag, fill spaces between the rails with small items like undergarments, creating a flat surface for you to place your other clothes. Then, secure them very tightly with the straps, compressing them as much as possible. It allows spaces around the ends to put shoes – jam-packed with socks to maximize space and prevent damage. Finally, place your toiletries and other items you will need quick access to on top, then close the bag.  

  1. Shoes!

Pack the right pair of shoes. Wear the bulkiest one on the plane and pack light shoes. The secret is to bring versatile and comfortable shoes on your trip to avoid small disasters like getting blisters while traveling. 

  1. Make sure you have the proper toiletries.

One of the best options is to bring solid toiletries like solid soap, shampoo, and sunblock. They are primarily compact and don’t fall into the liquid category. Many travelers know that you are only allowed to carry liquids of 100ml and below. 

If you’re staying at a hotel, use the provided shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. In addition, most hotels will provide free toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, and shaving cream if you ask at the front desk. This way, you could only carry a few essential items saving more space. 

  1. Use compression bags or packing cubes.

Even with packing just the minimal essentials, you may discover that the space in your carry-on is limited. Compression bags and packing cubes come in handy. They allow you to cram more into every available space. It’s perfect for garments that do not wrinkle

Packing cubes, on the other hand, work differently. Unlike compression bags, they are durable fabric containers that pile in your suitcase or backpack. When you arrive at your hotel, you’ll have all your socks, undergarments, shirts, etc., separated into individual cubes. They are perfect for organizing your bag and ease unpacking as well. 

  1. Layer clothes when traveling 

If you must, the biggest space-saving carry-on tip is to wear as much as you can while traveling. But, of course, what’s on your body doesn’t count, so you may save a lot of space in your suitcase by wearing your heaviest jacket, bulkiest shoes, and thickest sweaters.

It’s most suitable when traveling to a colder area and you need to bring a large jacket. Avoid the hassle of packing a puffy jacket into your suitcase by wearing it on the plane. After all, planes can be a bit cold. 


With these packing tips, you should be able to travel lightweight with your carry-on. Keep in mind that you’re not packing less; you’re packing more effectively. So don’t be afraid to edit and cut out unnecessary items! Bon Voyage! 



By Fatuma A. Abdullahi - August 18, 2021

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