Tips and Tricks to Properly Pack Your Carry-On Bag

Travel pros are sharing their best packing tips and tricks so that your next trip can be as stress-free as possible.

Photo by Timur Weber

Not only have airlines been experiencing excessive delays and cancellations these days, it seems they are also losing luggage much more frequently. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 6.5 out of every 1,000 checked bags were mishandled during the first three months of this year — that’s about double the amount from pre-Covid travel.

And that’s why travelers are singing the praises of flying with just your personal item and a carry-on suitcase. The Wall Street Journal talked to travel experts and found anyone can do this if they simply pack properly.

Here are a few tips and tricks from travel pros on how to pack your carry-on bag:

Pick the right bag. Soft-sided luggage offers more give, which is important if you’re trying to stuff extra stuff inside. On the other hand, hard-shell luggage is better at protecting your belongings. It’s really a personal preference, but make sure whichever bag you pick that it fits within the dimensions allowed by your airline. Different airlines have different size specifications.

Maximize storage. Travel pros swear by packing cubes to organize your outfits or items. Many of these offer compression features that can actually save space in your suitcase. If you don’t want to invest in packing cubes, you can use large Ziploc bags. Another way to save space is to stuff small items like socks inside your shoes. As an added bonus, the Wall Street Journal story includes a short video showing how to properly pack your carry-on suitcase so that nothing gets wrinkled or ruined.

Color coordinate. You may wonder how people go to Europe for 10 days with just a carry-on suitcase. It’s simple if you have a capsule wardrobe — articles of clothing that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. Experts also recommend sticking to a specific color scheme.

Bulk Up. These tips are designed to help you travel light, but experts say you should bulk for travel day. The pros wear their bulkiest and heaviest items on the first and last day, so they don’t take up precious space in your suitcase.

What do you think? Will one carry-on be enough for your next trip? Message The Seniors Trust on Facebook or Twitter and let us know if you are willing to try some of these tips.