Travel Gear That Makes Packing Your Carry-on Super Simple

May 14, 2015

If you’ve done any traveling over the past couple of years, you are sorely aware that most, if not all, airlines charge travelers for every checked piece of luggage.  Revenues accumulated by airlines from these fees are in the BILLIONS of dollars – so they won’t be disappearing any time soon! To avoid paying the $20.00 plus for each bag, many passengers try to cram all their items into the two carry-on bags.  Sometimes this works out well for them…..sometimes it doesn’t.  You have to be aware of the size and weight restrictions for carry-on luggage of the particular airline on which you are flying because these limits do vary from airline to airline.  A handy piece of travel gear you should have is a digital luggage scale to avoid being dinged with additional charges for excess weight – never a great way to begin your vacation!

So far, most airlines allow you to take 2 pieces of carry-on luggage on board with you…for free (enjoy it while it lasts!).  You can travel with carry-on luggage only…and very successfully…but it takes some skill, organization, and preparation.  You’ll need some travel gear that is designed to make it easier to get more of what you’ll need into a carry-on bag – without going over your weight or size allowance….and, without putting your back out lifting that heavy little sucker up over your head to place it in the overhead bin above your seat – if there’s any room left.

General Packing Tips for Carry-on
  • Coordinate your clothing – you don’t need to pack an entire ensemble for every single day.  Pack neutral colors that are easy to mix and match – navy, beige, black, gray, brown.
  • Carry your coat/jacket and wear comfortable, walking shoes on the flight – as these tend to be the bulkiest items in your luggage.  Pack one more pair…..or, at most, two additional pairs – maybe a pair of neutral colored heels and a pair of dress flats.
  • Pack smaller items into your shoes….underwear, socks, lingerie….and pack your shoes near the bottom of your luggage to keep it better balanced….less ‘tippy’ when standing upright.
  • Check with the hotel where you’ll be staying to see if you really need to pack that hair dryer – most hotel rooms come equipped with one.  And, most hotel rooms have a supply of toiletries such as lotion, shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, etc.  These items can take up valuable space in your carry-on luggage and you may not even need to pack them!

packing tips

Packing Carry-on Luggage (Bag #1 – stored in the overhead bin)

All types of travel gear are now available to make packing simpler.  To help you pack the carry-on bag that you store in the overhead compartment, you’ll find all of the following items very useful.

1. You’ll need transparent containers for your toiletries – which again have a size restriction for liquids and gels.  GoToobs containers are approved for airline carry-on and are the perfect little travel companions to carry lotions and liquids and other restricted items.


GoToob Squeezable Travel Tubes

2. Consider compression storage bags for bulky articles of clothing, like sweaters.  No vacuum required!

compression bags

Travelon Compression Bags

3. Nylon mesh or clear travel packing cubes make it simple to pack and travel with just your carry-on. These handy and versatile cubes will keep your items well-organized and tidy and can help you fit everything you’ll need into your carry-on.  You can purchase travel cubes in sets of 3 or more in a variety of sizes.  You might want to use one as a cosmetic/toiletries bag, another for underwear/socks, another for T-shirts or other clothing.  You’ll be able to find things much quicker in your luggage, and keep unused items neat and tidy, ready when you need them!

packing cubes

Packing Cubes by Eagle Creek

4. Shoe bags will prevent your shoes from soiling the rest of your clothing.

shoe bag

Travel Shoe Bag by Richards Homewares

5. Waterproof bags are great for a wet swimsuit or just to ensure your clothing doesn’t get wet while in transit.

waterproof bags

Outdoor Products Ultimate Dry Sack by Outdoor Products

Packing Carry-on Luggage (Bag #2 – stored under the seat in front of you)

Your second piece of carry-on luggage is the one that you’ll store underneath the seat in front of you.  This is where you store EVERYTHING you’re going to need throughout the flight.  You don’t want to be getting up and down every few minutes to struggle with your luggage in the overhead bin to bring down necessary items. Inside this carry-on bag, use smaller bags to keep everything organized.  We all like to carry everything with us but the kitchen sink!  Finding exactly what you need, if everything is in a heap at the bottom of your handbag, will be a nightmare….not to mention, SUPER annoying to your seatmates!

  • Pack your reading glasses in a smaller bag with your book or eReader.
  • Pack your charger, power cord, memory stick, headphones and other electronics in a bag with your tablet. Check out the TAB Seatback Organizer by Walter + Ray, it fits all your electronics perfectly in the seat pocket in front of you.

Tab messenger

The TAB: Messenger by Walter + Ray

  • Your wallet should be with your passport, boarding pass, and other travel documents.
  • Your jewelry and medicine also should be stored here. Your jewelry will be within eyesight and your medication will be within reach when you need it.
  • Do everything you can to keep your personal information secure with travel gear including RFID sleeves for your credit cards and passport.
  • Keep travel documents safer by carrying them in a waist or neck stash rather than in your back pocket or handbag where they may be more susceptible to pickpockets.
  • Finally, slip some individually-wrapped wipes into your handbag/computer bag to keep your hand's clean while on the plane.  Jo-sha Wipes “cleanse, naturally disinfect, and soothe the body, mind, and spirit”.  These wipes contain pure essential aromatherapy oils with calming scents like lavender and tangerine. Close your eyes while using one of these wipes… and you’re being pampered at a lavish spa; open your eyes…and you’re squished in the middle seat of a jam-packed airplane!  Close your eyes again….quickly!
Travel Gear For Your Electronics

There are all sorts of cool gadgets among must-have travel gear for your electronics.  It seems there is something new and exciting coming out every week.

  • Small kits, like the Grid-It Organizer, are available to store your adapter plugs, electronic cords, memory cards, etc.

Grid-it organizers

Grid-It Organizer by Cocoon

  • A Belkin mini surge protector lets you keep your electronics charged and ready to go.  This surge protector features 3 plugs allowing you to charge multiple items all at the same time, plus 2 USB ports to charge things like your cell phone or tablet.  How great would it be to have 5 items charging at once and you only need to pack one adapter!  This surge protector also prevents your electronics from getting fried, particularly if you’re traveling in an area where power surges may be common.
  • Get yourself a lightweight and durable external hard drive. Could there be anything more frustrating than losing or inadvertently erasing your memory card of photos that you can’t replace?  Backup your photos onto an external hard drive at the end of each day and then, in the words of Donnie Brasco, “forget about it”.
  • Check out a World SIM card.  You’ll be able to make cheap local calls when you arrive at your international destination. You can even call home for a reasonable price; and, data roaming is at a low cost, too.

Written by Emma Ghattas