Your presents have been ordered, shipped and hopefully arrived at their intended destination, but what about you!? I think packing myself up for a trip home for the holidays can be even more stressful than buying all of the Christmas gifts! I am traveling home for 10 days for the holidays and I want to fit EVERYTHING in a carry-on bag. Why would I challenge myself to pack for 10 days in a small bag? Well, I will be bringing gifts back with me and will probably check a bag on my return flight and I refuse to pay baggage fees twice when I don't have to!


I start my packing by looking put the weather conditions at my destination. Most places this time of year are cold so I know on the plane I will try to wear my bulkiest items; for example my jacket and boots. If it is too hot to wear your bulkiest items, carry your coat or thick sweater in your hands to save space in your luggage (airlines don't count them as carry-on items).If you are someone who is traveling for the tropics this Christmas I am jealous and suggest you still wear the bulkiest items you need, like jeans and tennis shoes.


Next, make a list of items you know you will need to pack; socks, underwear, pants, sweaters, tops, pajamas, shoes, toiletries etc. Then, lay these items out and see if you can get away with wearing some pieces twice, and eliminate items like those hot pink tights that do not match with anything. Instead, pack things in neutral or similar colors so that your tan sweater can go with two other tops, and your jeans can be worn three times. The key to smart packing is to bring items that can be repurposed for more than one outfit. Scale down the amount of shoes you bring and the amount of toiletries you pack. Bring only essential makeup and products (The TSA allows 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottles or less, packed in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag and allows 1 bag per passenger)

Now comes the hardest part, fitting everything into your bag! One of the most effective packing strategies is a simple one: roll clothes instead of folding them. Rolled clothes can stack both vertically and horizontally together, to take up far less space than folded clothes. Here is a great slideshow of how a flight attendant packed for ten days in a carry on bag! Begin by placing your heaviest items (shoes, jeans, etc.) in the bottom of the suitcase, along with any items you want to lay flat to avoid wrinkling. If some of your items do wrinkle, most hotels have an iron and in a pinch you can hang your clothes in the bathroom while taking a hot shower, allowing the steam to release some of the wrinkles.


Your second carry-on bag is important. I take a large tote bag which contains my medication, important papers, a small purse (so I don't have to lug a huge tote bag around my whole vacation) my lap top, headphones, a book, a small notebook and pen. If you are headed cross country or have a flight with multiple layovers, it is a good idea to pack a change of clothes in case your bags get lost or delayed.


I found TONS of great ideas on Pinterest by searching "packing tips", and also found these sites to be very helpful:

Comprehensive packing list
Week long business trip outfits and packing ideas
TSA rules for Carry On (Now I know I cannot carry on my nunchucks, bummer.)


How do you pack for a trip? Please share your tips in the comments!

1 Comment
Tara Crooks
Limitless Contributor
My friend you are a genius! I just cracked up laughing...this is ME packing! I actually have a word document that has a packing list that I go through b/c each time I nearly have an anxiety attack packing. :) I hope your holiday was wonderful!