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How to pack a carry-on for a long trip.

Traveling with a carry-on will save you a ton of money while backpacking through multiple countries. Our family loves to travel on budget airline tickets and instead of purchasing their high check-in bag fees that are about 90$ USD one way(internationally), we just take a carry-on bag. Not only will you save money but you’ll save time by being able to hop off the plane and get going to your destination. Waiting for a check-in bag at the carsole can be a drag, especially if your in a rush! You also won't ever have to worry about luggage getting lost or stolen!

Before you even get to packing, the key to successfully packing for over a week is to pack in advance on a day off. Last minute packing for most can cause over packing. Not only will it avoid over packing but if your missing something you need, you’ll now have time to get it before departure. I like to pre-pack at least 3-7 days before departure.

We ONLY travel with our Osprey bags, which are carry-on size! To read more about the features of our Osprey bag click the link. We have a large Ozone pack and it is suitable enough to share 1 bag for two people, depending on how long your traveling for. In previous trips, when we traveled to multiple destinations for one week, I was able to share one bag with my daughter and myself. Since we we're traveling for a month,this time we decided to bring an extra 4 wheel carry-on suitcase to put our daughters clothes in so my husband and I could maximize our carry on bags for our personal items.

Whats in my bag?

The first items we pack in our bag is all our necessary documents we NEED to travel with. Whether, thats boarding passes, passports, drivers license, money, medications, pregnancy documents, hotel receipts, itinerary, and ect.


Down sizing is major key for being able to travel with a carry-on bag! After all TSA won't allow any products over 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Now it doesn't matter how many items you bring in your carry-on, just as long as all the items are under 3.4 oz.

Buying clear containers to transfer your toiletries are ideal. I get most of my travel size toiletries from Walmart or the Dollar store. At Walmart/Dollar store you can get multiple travel size bottles for less then 5$. Toiletries travel size name brand bottles already made for you can add up and per bottle can start at 3$.

In the picture below you can see the comparsion on what you'll save from buying a $4 travel pack VS one brand name bottle for the same price. If you already have the product at home you can transfer, why go out and purchase the same bottle for more??!!

Most of my followers complain about having long hair and would go through a shampoo or soap bottle in a day or two! Well for starters, we bring a bar of soap since 3 people will use up a 3.4oz bottle in a day. If we run out, we use our hotel bottle soaps till we can go to the store and purchase another. The same thing applies for hair products and shampoo. If you run out, wait to get to your destination and purchase a size you’ll be able to use for your entire stay!

Another way to avoid over packing hair products is to wear protective hair styles for vacation such as braids or a style you won’t need to constantly touch your hair. The best way to save and manage your toiletries is to be as natural as possible so you don't have to bring much in your bag! When I travel I bring basic make up and get my lashes done so I don't have to wear much make up. Also wearing protective hair styles like braids really saved me from not having to buy multiple bottles of shampoos. I never pack more then 1 or 2 bottles of the exact same product to avoid over packing.

Tip: Sometimes you have to over pack on your toiletries because you may not find it in the country you are traveling to. Before departure do some research in advance on what stores are located where you are staying. When we went to Sri lanka in Weilgama, there was no convenience store to buy to curl cream. I had to wait until I went to the city of Colombo just to find a hair product store.


  • One pair of multiple use sneakers that I wear going on the plane. The sneakers you pack or wear should be both suitable for walking around or hiking.

  • One pair of heels(which is optional if you choose to go out.) Try to bring a pair that can go with multiple outfits. The pair of heels fit in my daughters carry-on bag on top this trip.

  • Sandals if your going to a beach vacation.


Rolling instead of folding your clothes will save you room in your bag. Pull all your heavy items on the bottom while packing. All items you chose to put in your carry-on bag should be multi-use attire. Try packing jeans and tops that you can mix match. Jumpsuit and dresses are other ways where you don’t have to put together a top AND bottom wear. Also be aware that different attires can take up more space then others. When packing my multiple shirts, I chose to bring the thin ones to pack more.

If I ever feel like i'm missing an item I just go shopping like I normally would as a tourist around the city. We also take a trip to the laundromat if our hotel or airbnb doesn’t have a personal washing room.

The following attire packed is for a months worth of travel..

  • Bathinsuit and under garments I throw in a ball or roll my under garments within a shirt.

  • One pair of jeans.

  • Two different shades of shorts.

  • A cardigan or light jacket.

  • Two night out dresses.

  • Two skirts.

  • 8 pairs of shirt that I can mix match with my jeans and shorts.

  • 2 jump suits.

  • 5 dresses.

  • 3 pairs of socks (I mostly wore my sandals).

  • One pair of leggings and a night shirt.

  • One pair of sandals.

What is in our daughters carry-on?

Now that our daughter is over 2, she is entitled to a carry-on on bag with the purchase of her ticket. Since our daughter's clothes are lite and small, my husband and I were able to put our second pair of shoes in Amiyah's suitcase that wouldn't fit in our carry-on bag. When packing with kids its always a good idea to pack a few extra clothes because they tend to make a mess. Even with packing extra clothes for our daughter, we were able to add souvenirs in her bag since she had extra room.

  • One pair of jeans.

  • Two cardigans or light jacket.

  • Two night outfits.

  • 6 dresses.

  • 3 pair of shorts.

  • 2 jump suits.

  • 3 pair of leggings.

  • 5 pair of shirts.

  • Two pair of sandals.

Keep in mind that packing isn’t always the same depending on your travel destination. We packed our month long carry-on during the warm summer months, which allow us to pack more thin clothes. Traveling during the colder seasons require being more anal on what to pack to stay warm. I hope you now have a better idea on how to pack your carry-on bag and save money on check-in bags!

"Its not really what you have, but how you manage what you have."


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