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Pro Carry On Packing Tips for Frequent Travelers

In March 2017, I was traveling every weekend for my blog. I worked from home during the week, and come Friday, I was off in Ireland, Germany, Spain, France or Italy. This might sound dreamy and enough to fulfill anyone’s wanderlusting heart, but surprisingly, packing for vacation and work this much drained me!

I didn’t enjoy constantly living out of my carry-on luggage, but with a few simple tricks, I was able to make this part of my travels more hassle-free. Read on to see some pro carry on packing tips for frequent travelers so you can also travel easily!

Keep a Separate Toiletries Bag

Problem: Every time I packed for a trip, I had to go through my daily toiletries and hotel shampoos and conditioners that I collected over time to pick out the necessities for my trip. Then every time I came back, I had to put these items back in the bathroom so I could use them at home.

I filled them up with the same products I use at home so that there’s no break in my beauty routine, which apparently is a no-no for your hair and skin. Now when I’m packing, all I have to do is grab my dedicated toiletries bag and throw it in my carry-on luggage!

My friend even suggested having a dedicated travel toothbrush and an entirely separate set of makeup, but I just can’t leave my electric toothbrush at home or buy new makeup. Instead, I sorted out my makeup and now keep the “necessities” in a travel case ready for action. Not only does this help with packing time, but traveling only with mascara (Elizabeth Mott is my fave!), eyebrow pencil and eyeliner minimizes the time I spend getting ready on vacation giving me more time out and about!

Use Packing Cubes to Keep Clothes Organized

Problem: When traveling from place to place, my clothes would always end up in one big messy pile at my hotel or Airbnb, and with only being at a place a couple of days at a time, I’d tend to leave it like that until I had to pack it again.

Solution: One of the better ways to stay organized while packing a suitcase is to get packing cubes. I’ve used them now over several trips and have found them to be helpful in multiple ways. Here are a few ways to use them:

  • Keep categories of clothes separate. For example, keep underwear and socks in one cube, shirts in another cube and pants in a third.
  • On the return trip home, use cubes to separate your clean clothes from your dirty clothes.
  • On a trip where you’ll be hopping from city to city often, keep full outfits separate so you don’t have to unfold and repack them at all until you arrive to your destination. For example, during my trip in Greece, I spent 2-3 days in Fira and Oia, Santorini; Chania, Crete; and Athens. I had specific outfits I wanted to wear in each city so I stored them in separate cubes. I never had to deal with my whole suitcase getting unloaded only to repack the outfits I wouldn’t wear until later in the trip.

This is definitely one of the best items for your frequent traveler tips and toolbox!

Related: This blog post will help you find the best carry-on luggage.

Unpack Immediately

Problem: After I returned from a trip, if I knew I’d be flying out a week later,  I’d continue to live out of my suitcase like I did while on vacation. I never felt settled and would get burned out from traveling.

Solution: This isn’t something I love to do but making unpacking immediately a priority in my carry on tips really helped my problem of continually living out of my suitcase. As soon as you get in the door, even if you’re tired from traveling, empty out your suitcase, and put things back where they belong. Consider unpacking just as much a part of your trip as checking out of a hotel or flying is.

Wear Your Flying Uniform

Now this isn’t necessarily a tip for packing itself, but it can definitely simplify the whole getting ready process. I have a “flying uniform,” which consists of:

Knowing what I’m wearing to the airport and back takes away any added time of wondering what to wear for the days I’m traveling.

Bring These Helpful Travel Products

I like to bring these items in my carry-on. They’re a must-have for any flight!

  • Ear plugs or noise-cancelling earphones
  • Nasal sinus spray
  • Portable charger and cable
  • Water and food
  • Reusable, foldable bag
  • Entertainment
  • Pillow
  • Light jacket or shawl
  • Melatonin
  • Compression socks
  • Prescription and/or over-the-counter medicine
  • Pen
  • Lotion and/or lip balm
  • Eye mask

Get a detailed explanation of why I like to bring these on my carry-on in this post.

Got any pro carry on packing tips?

Do you have any packing tips to ease the packing and unpacking woes of frequent traveling? I’d love to hear yours with a comment below.

Thanks for making it all the way down to the end of this post.

If you found it to be helpful, you might like what I share on my Instagram @sarchetrit.

Till then, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!


Agness of eTramping

Tuesday 27th of June 2017

I can now pack like a pro, Sarah! Very useful tips!

Daniel Ryan

Saturday 17th of June 2017

Hi Sarah... I love travelling........... Your post is so brillient ! i'm agree with Lisa, who said "Mix and match tops and bottoms to get more use out of everything. Light jackets, scarves, and funky ties all keep you looking fresh and your suitcase looking empty." :) Thanks a lot !


Wednesday 14th of June 2017

I love travel leggings, it is so comfortable to wear on flights! I am also a big fan of the packing cubes - it helps keep things organized and easy to find! Thanks for sharing all your tips!

Lisa @ NatureImmerse

Tuesday 13th of June 2017

Don’t think about clothes—think about combinations. Mix and match tops and bottoms to get more use out of everything. Light jackets, scarves, and funky ties all keep you looking fresh and your suitcase looking empty.

Paige W

Tuesday 13th of June 2017

These are great tips! We love using our packing cubes! They're fantastic. We also have a toiletries bag, although it's not nearly as fancy... It's a gallon ziplock bag! Ha!

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Thank you so much for your awesome support.