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Traveling with a Carry On

Pick the right carry on bag

This is my first tip because it is imperative to your carry-on travels. I learned the hard way during one of my first 'packing light' trips to Paris that not all carry on bags are created equal! I bought a bag from Winners for a great price (awesome sale) but the handle broke during my layover when I was flying home. The handle wouldn't come up and I had to CARRY my not-very-light bag from my international gate in Toronto to my domestic gate, and we all know Toronto is HUGE. Let me tell you - my next carry on bag was chosen with precision. I went for one of the top-rated brands for durability and packing space. I also went for a soft-sided bag so that I could squeeze it more easily into the overhead bin. Make sure your bag is the proper size for your airline or you WILL have to check it if it doesn't fit.

Choose outfits you can mix and match

You might notice, or at least you will now that I've said it out loud, that I wear the same outfits in a lot of my travel photos. Honestly - there's no shame in that! I bet no one has even noticed until just now. I pack a travel outfit for my flights. I like to dress business-casual, so I'll have an outfit put aside for just that. I also pack pajamas for the week (forgot once - that was awkward). And then I'll back one or two outfits that I KNOW I'll wear - because they are my favorites, and I'll mix/match and wash them through-out the week. I almost always stay in an Airbnb that has a washer/dryer so that I can have the ability to freshen up my clothes.

Tips for traveling with a carry on bag with Marie Roy Photography in Amsterdam

Be selective about footwear

I used to pack heels. Not anymore! I rarely ever go out for a night on the town when I travel. I've realized I'm more of a go to bed early and wake up early type of traveler. So, I pack accordingly. I wear the same shoes for the whole trip, and I'll only pack an extra set if I'm going somewhere beachy where I'll know I need flip flops. Shoes take up way too much space in your carry-on, so it's just not worth it. The space that used to be for heels is now used for my camera.

Tips for travelling with a carry on to a sunny destination with Marie Roy Photography. Photograph taken at eagle beach in Aruba.

Roll instead of fold

This one took me a couple of trips to learn - but it totally works! Don't just roll your clothes to make more space for more clothes, though! Roll your clothes to make space for other essentials. Remember, you still need space for your liquids bag, your camera (if you're like me), a small blanket (if you're flying economy, many times the little blanket isn't included. And, it's just nice to have one to get cozy. I wrap mine around my camera). You'll also need snacks. Pack some granola bars and other healthy snacks as well. Don't judge me, but I bring a bit of food because when I arrive at the Airbnb I'm always starving and too exhausted to go straight to the grocery store.

Travelling with a carry on with Marie Roy Photography. Photograph taken in Lyon France.

Don't let your carry-on get too heavy, because you should always be able to lift in into the overhead bin yourself - and you should never have to put your back out trying to do so.

I enjoy traveling with a carry-on because it's just so much easier. Pro tip: I have freedom to stand-by early for a flight if I arrive early to my connection and there's another flight that will get me there sooner. This option is not available if you have checked luggage. Packing my suitcase back up to head home is also way less time consuming - so I can enjoy more of my time exploring, and way less time re-packing!

I have so many more tips for traveling with a carry-on, so feel free to reach out if you're trying it for the first time! I am happy to help.

A tip from fellow travel expert, Megan Isenor

Packing is a real skill in my opinion, and being creative and spontaneous is an advantage for me. It's all about simplicity. I don’t take 15 pairs of shoes, hair accessories, or even makeup and have learned to utilize only a few items from my wardrobe as a staple piece to save space.

Roll your outfits together

If you are the person who knows what outfits go well together and know what you’ll be wearing on your trip, roll all of those items in to one outfit. Then place them in your bag as you would if you rolled each item individually. Underwear, shirt, pants and socks - bam. It’s a space saver and you’ll just have to grab it on the day you want to wear it without stress!

Separate your worn clothes

My trips are always busy and full of activities. Let's be real - adventurous travelers get wet! We break a sweat, get caught in a rainstorm or spontaneously go swimming - and our clothes become damp. Take along a few plastic grocery bags with you! These will come in handy at the end of the day. Tuck your old clothes, smelly socks, dirty garments or damp bathing suits in to the bags so that they don’t get all over your clean fresh clothes. Don’t leave your suitcase smelling stale! Nobody wants to smell sock feet 3 days later, I can promise you that!

Megan is a travel and lifestyle blogger and has been working in the airline industry for 8 years. You can check our her Instagram page here for lots of great sustainable and affordable home decor inspiration!

If you'd like to see more travel inspiration head to my travel page


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