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10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage

10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage to make all your travels that much more enjoyable! I’m excited to announce that I’m headed out on a month long summer European adventure AND I leave tomorrow! Woop Woop!!! I’ll be off on another solo trip with my backpack and a carry-on! Sometimes, it’s a trick to know how and what to pack in a small carry-on size luggage… so, I’m sharing some of my favorite Tips & Tricks with you today! I find it easier to travel light in the summertime because all I absolutely need are my favorite sun dresses, sandals, and a couple of swimsuits! For convenience sake, I’m adding in a few additional travel suggestions like a wellness kit, personal care items, general packing tips, and TSA 3-1-1 tips to help you make the most of your carry-on luggage. Check out more of my Solo International Travel Tips and our Culinary Journey Around the World for all the places we’ve visited, things to see and do there, and recipes from each city, too!

10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage to make your travels even more enjoyable! by

Tips & Tricks for Luggage on International Flights

Luggage on small airline carriers on inter-euro flights is a big deal… not only is it rarely included in the price of the tickets, but waiting to buy it at the gate is extremely expensive. If you know you’ll be checking luggage, then be sure to buy it when you purchase the tickets. If you are taking a carry-on, then make sure you know the exact size and weight allowed for each individual airline. FYI, they’re not all the same. 🙁 I learned the hard way that they DO NOT joke around about luggage weight and paying for the overage adds up quickly. Each time you fly, there are employees checking sizes of carry on bags before you are allowed to go through to your gate. I’ve seen them turn people away for backpacks or briefcases that are too large! As a side note, airplanes seem to always be on the chilly side for me, so I wear warmer clothes like the leggings and jacket you see in the photo below. I also like having something warmer to wear just in case there happens to be a chilly day while I’m traveling!
10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage to make your travels even more enjoyable! by
My flights in the United States are much more generous with the luggage allowance than my European flights. So, I choose to pack according to the guidelines for my Kiwi Airline flights which allow the following:
1× Personal item  40 × 10 × 30 cm, 3 kg   = 15 x 12 x 4, 6.5 lbs
1× Cabin baggage  55 × 23 × 40 cm, 8 kg  = 21.6 x 15.7 x 9.1, 17.7 lbs

I’ll be traveling with an American Tourister Hardcase Carry-On with Spinner Wheels and an OGIO International Clark Pack both of which are exactly the right dimensions! YAY 🙂 Now, that we have the correct sizes, we’ll be paying attention to how to keep the weight down so that we don’t get weight overage fees. Oh and lets not forget to leave enough room to bring home a few souvenirs too!

10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage to make your travels even more enjoyable! by

Packing List for Carry-on Luggage:

  • 5 lightweight sundresses or outfits; one of which is fancier for special evenings
  • 2 pairs of comfortable shoes; I’m taking Chaco’s and a pair of wedge sandals for evenings 
  • 1 sunhat; mine is cotton and reversible so it travels easily 
  • 2 swimsuits
  • 1 swimsuit coverup
  • 5 pairs underclothing
  • 1 athletic tank and shorts
  • 1 set pajamas
  • travel wellness kit and snacks
  • personal hygiene pack
  • 3-1-1 liquids in ziplock bag

OKAY… so you may think I’m crazy but I can’t say enough about how much I love these Packing Cubes! Packing Cubes make any form of packing/traveling so much easier. They dramatically cut down on time spent in searching for things and they help keep your things from evolving into a giant jumbled mess! In my carry on luggage I used three cubes; one medium sized and two small. In my regular sized luggage, I use a lot more but that’s a chat for another day! 🙂

10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage to make your travels even more enjoyable! by

10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage to make your travels even more enjoyable! by

International Travel Essentials

• Be sure you are able to charge your devices with adapters. Unidapt European Plug Adapter Power Converter Usa Us to EU Europe

• Don’t be caught without power- I use this backup battery pack everyday. Cell Phone Charger Portable Power Bank

• This euro hot pad is my personal “comfort splurge” it helps me feel all the comforts of home wherever I am. Norstar Moist and Dry Heating Pad for Overseas

• I always travel with my Brown Leather Crossbody Shoulder Bag.

• A collapsable day back pack is LIFE! Durable Packable Backpack by Ultra Lightweight Water Resistant Travel

• This one is NOT allowed to be in carry-on baggage but if you are traveling solo and checking a bag then I recommend carrying pepper spray (mine looks somewhat like a very large tube of lipstick).  If I had to catch a flight, then I’d stick in a shoe in my luggage, followed by stuffing the shoe with socks or something small so it was safe in my checked baggage and it is allowed in most countries but google it just to be sure. Lipstick Pepper Spray for Women

10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage to make your travels even more enjoyable! by

Travel Essentials for Luggage

Travel Wellness Kit and Personal Care Tips 

The most important thing to remember here is that you can find most everything you might need at local stores when you are abroad. If you run into a larger physical alignment, then stop by a pharmacy. International pharmacies typically have more available over that counter than we do here in the US. If it’s something you need a prescription for, then they’ll point you in the right direction for further care. I prefer to have some wellness products with me so that I don’t have to go find a store for the little things– like ibuprofen! So, here is my wellness list with photo’s below.

• Your daily prescriptions and vitamins

• Ibuprofen

• Antacid or pepto bismol for stomach upset

• Decongestant or allergy medicine

• Cold tablets 

• I bring a herbal supplement called Nature’s Way Urinary with Cranberry— which works wonders for me if I feel like I need support in that way. 🙂

• I also be sure to have some Boiron Oscillococcinum, Homeopathic Medicine for Flu Like Symptoms— it works like a charm if you start to feel like you might be coming down with something.

• Airborne for the sniffles and to support your immune system!

• An herbal tea called Smooth Move because some times traveling can slow down the GI tract

• Feminine hygiene products, bandaids, and some little bottles of essential oils because I like them 🙂 

• Extra pair of contacts & back up glasses (if applies to you), hair brush, comb, q-tips, shower cap, hairbands, makeup, tooth brush, floss, AND last but not least some snacks! 

10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage to make your travels even more enjoyable! by

Travel Wellness Kit Tips & Tricks

 TSA 3-1-1 liquid rule and other frequently asked questions

10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage to make your travels even more enjoyable! by

3-1-1 Liquids Rule for TSA Airline Regulations for carry on luggage

In the United States there’s the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule and if you’ve flown in an airplane then you’ve seen the signs and heard the pitch at least a million times.. so most of us are somewhat familiar with it. It is also pretty much standard around the globe. I purchased this Juvale 15-Pack Refillable Toiletry Containers and Accessories, used the sizes and shapes of containers I wanted for my collection of liquids, and then zipped them into a freezer quart sized bag. A few other questions: shaving razors and stick deodorants are fine; Spray, Gel, Liquid, Cream, Pastes, and Roll-On deodorants need to go in your baggie. Also, it’s a good idea to place your baggie in an easy to reach place, like in an outside pocket of your luggage or in your carry on bag so you aren’t left searching for your liquids in the security line. 

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Here’s the basic run down on 3-1-1 liquid rule from the TSA website:

“Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.”


Lastly, weigh your bag before you go!

It’s easy to jump on a scale with your luggage and check the weight against your own body weight. . . it’ll give you a really good idea on if you need to adjust or if you are good to go! 

10 Travel Tips for Packing Carry-on Luggage are tips & tricks to help you travel with ease! 

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Love Always,

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  1. Jessica Ford says:

    This is a great post. I like to travel with just a backpack and personal item. It’s so much easier than checking baggage. Thanks for the packing tips. Have a safe and fun trip. Looking forward to hearing about it.

    • Ruthie says:

      Hi Jessica! Thank you for the fun comment. I’m excited to head out later today…it’s going to be an adventure! Keep up with me on our instagram stories and feed then when I get home I’ll write about it too! Happy 4th 🙂