Avoid checking a bag on your spring break trip by packing these 20 carry-on essentials
Checking a bag can often make air travel more complicated than it needs to be. When you check a suitcase, you’re also opening the door to an array of potential mishaps, delays and issues — think lost bags, damaged suitcases and waiting 30 minutes by the baggage carousel for your luggage to come out. And, who can forget those pesky checked baggage fees? While there are some tools to make checking a suitcase less stressful (hello, AirTags!), if you’ve got a choice, you’ll probably want to stick to a carry-on bag.
Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies you can use to avoid checking a bag for a trip of nearly any length. From rolling your clothing to carrying a backpack for your extra belongings or booking a place with a washer so you can refresh your clothing while you’re away, traveling with just a carry-on bag is possible.
If you’re looking to stick to just a carry-on bag on your next trip, you’ll want to be prepared. Here are 20 items we recommend taking along with you to maximize your space and travel light without leaving any essentials behind.
Don’t sacrifice your skincare routine just because you’re sticking solely to a carry-on bag. This adorable travel pouch comes with a rose gold eye roller, four organic and reusable rounds, a petite rose quartz uplifting gua sha and a green tea makeup sponge. There’s also plenty of packing room left, so it’s perfect for bringing along small items like lip balm, tweezers and floss. Pack this travel pouch within a larger packing cube with your makeup and other toiletries or stuff it in your travel backpack by itself. Either way, you’ll have several beauty essentials along for the ride.
The Zipplicity Neck Pack offers a sneaky way to bring even more clothing and essentials along for a plane journey without sacrificing any space in your suitcase. And, its dual purpose means it’s also useful in its own right to support your neck. This neck pillow comes entirely empty since it’s meant to be stuffed with soft items you need for your trip. In fact, the PillowPack holds eight shirts and four pairs of socks, thus saving that much room in your suitcase. While this isn’t our top pick for travel neck pillows (that’s the Cabeau Evolution S3), this is a solid option if you’re looking to maximize your packing space.
Having your own portable clothesline makes it considerably easier to avoid checking a bag. You can hand wash some of your clothing during your trip, then simply hang it to dry while you’re out sightseeing for the day. Built-in clips are included on this clothesline, so you can wind it up in your luggage without having to bring clothespins or other accessories along. This portable clothesline is also retractable and stretchy, so you can customize its size to the space you’re inhabiting.
If your goal is to pack just a few items of clothing, consider bringing a convertible pair of pants along. This pair for men from Columbia (a similar pair is also available for women) can be perfect for active trips as well as leisure travel, mostly because they can turn from pants to shorts and back again with ease. These particular convertible pants also come in seven different colors to suit any style, and you can choose tailored options based on your length and waist size. They also come with multiple pockets, a built-in belt and UPF 50 sun protection.
Having a crossbody bag in tow for your trip can help you keep your documents organized and within reach at all times. This bag is perfect for travelers, as it’s got a locking main compartment and internal slots with RFID-blocking technology. The crossbody strap is adjustable to fit most body types. Plus, it’s available in 14 different colors to match any outfit.
This convertible jacket does the unthinkable by transforming from a travel jacket into a carry-on bag, making it an incredibly versatile tool for avoiding a checked bag. You can wear the jacket on the plane with your items packed inside the liner only to turn it into a bag at any point after that. In addition to offering several larger compartments for clothing or electronics, this jacket-bag combo also boasts a cell phone pocket, a tablet pocket, a special place for toiletries and a sunglasses hook. It also comes in seven different colors and multiple sizes from extra small to 3XL.
This five-pack of compression bags from Amazon allows you to maximize storage space for clothing and other items by allowing you to pump out the excess air. A hand pump is included, but you can also connect a vacuum hose for better suction and faster results. These bags are reusable, and they can be purchased in multiple sizes and counts depending on how many you need.
$33 at Amazon
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