Pack a Carry-On Like A Pro

Last month my husband and I took a trip to Arizona for 4 nights, 5 days,  sans children.  He had some business to take care of, so I tagged along. It’s a perfect time for us to reconnect. His job can keep him super busy at times, so I appreciate all of the one-on-one time traveling allows. We talk non-stop while we drive to the airport. We share lunch in the airport while we wait to board our flight. We have tons of time to chat on the plane. We also have time to reconnect in the evening when his business meetings/conferences are done for the day.  It’s heavenly! One of the things I learned very quickly about my husband when I first met him, is “he does not check luggage!” It’s not so much the “extra fee” thing, (even though avoiding them is a huge bonus!) it’s more about being in control. No waiting. No lost luggage.  Just grab your luggage and quickly move on to things like a sunny resort! Yes, please!  I kind of loved his philosophy, so I learned a new way to pack.  I use a garment bag that I place in the overhead compartment. I also take a very large tote that I am able to stow away under the seat in front of me.

I pack all of my clothes in a garment bag. They are already on hangers, which I love. Very few items seem to get wrinkled and once we arrive to our hotel, I immediately remove them and hang them in our room closet. Doing this makes picking outfits out so much easier too! Everything is there, right in front of my eyes. No digging for anything. All of my toiletries, make-up, magazines, books and purse are placed in the large tote. I also like to use several travel accessories to keep everything organized. This is key for me. I like having a system even when I am away from home. My travel accessories have accumulated over time, but you could basically purchase a big bulk of these travel accessories for the same amount that it would cost you to check 2 bags of luggage. I won’t elaborate on my husband’s luggage, but for anyone wondering, he has been travelling with the SkyRoll ←(this thing is amazing!! I am a huge fan!) for years. The SkyRoll gets placed in the overhead compartment. He also takes a backpack that he stows away under the seat in front of him.  For me, it is absolutely necessary that all luggage/totes have shoulder straps. I think it is much easier to carry heavy bags this way and I like being hands-free in the airport when needed. Let’s take a closer look at everything so I can explain my packing process in greater detail.

 

I absolutely love the plastic zip pouches that come with the little empty plastic containers. They meet TSA guidelines, so there is no second guessing yourself.  You can usually find them in any large Grocery/Super Center in the section that has all of the travel sized items. I fill some containers and I also bring smaller, sample sized products if I know the ounces will meet TSA guidelines. I was able to bring some extras on this trip (definitely not necessities) since me and my husband were each able to pack one.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

 

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

One of the plastic containers was perfect to carry Q-Tips.

This is one thing I am never sure if the hotel/resort will have in the room, so I always bring my own.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

My husband’s zip pouch with a few of my things stuffed in. Haha. :-)

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

I found this First Aid Travel Kit at Target. I am so happy I did. It came in handy when I got attacked by a Jumping Cholla Cactus. Stay away from those things.They are dangerous. I definitely learned the hard way!

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

My mom bought this contact carrying case for me years ago when we were shopping together at TJ Maxx and gifted it to me for Christmas.  It was love at first sight. I love anything that has an organizational purpose. Always have and always will.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

I put my small TSA approved plastic pouch is a much larger plastic zip pouch. Then I throw in a wide-toothed comb, my tooth brush, extra contacts, razor, basically anything else that is not a liquid. I zip it up and all of my toiletries are contained in one place.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

I found this at Marshalls and my heart skipped a beat. I’m not kidding. I usually use the plastic bag that is hanging in the hotel closet to transport my small, dirty laundry home, but this was WAY cuter. Had to have it!

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

These traveling cubes by Sharper Image are amazing! I found them at Marshalls and I believe they were $16.99 for a set of 3. It was money well spent. I will get so much use out of these! I used the smallest bag to store my undergarments and socks.  The medium bag was for all of my swim wear, suits and cover-ups. The large bag stored my PJ’s and work-out clothes. On a side note: When I am traveling with my children. I always pack their clothes in one suitcase. These travel cubes are awesome for keeping their items separated.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

Small Bag

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

Medium Bag

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

 

Large Bag

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

All of the travel cubes fit nicely in the zip pouch of my garment bag.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

When packing my  outfits, I only use hangers that have handles made from wire. (Plastic hangers do not work. the handles are too thick!) I can usually fit 4-5 hangers in each little slot of my garment bag.  You can see there are 3 slots. Each hanger has to be inserted individually. It is much easier that way!

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

Once my outfits are zipped up in my garment bag, I have two compartments on my garment bag that I use for flip flops and ballet flats.  Obviously, flip flops or ballet flats are very easy to travel with. I always pick my battles when it comes to shoes. What will be the easiest to pack? I cannot travel with out my tennis shoes. They are a must for working out and exploring. I only allow myself to take one additional, larger  pair of shoes.  My tennis shoes are a must, so I usually carry these in my tote. I was able to bring my camel colored wedges on this trip. My husband carried them in his back pack. They go with anything (dress, shorts, capris or jeans). I thought they would be fun to have on date nights! Thank you sweet hubby!

 

 

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

Compartments for flip flops and ballet flats.

When it comes to outfits. I usually use one hanger to transport all of my pants and shorts. This allow me to fit more in my garment bag. Also, I always like to take a few cardigans to have on hand for cooler evenings. I hang these over tops that are already on hangers. Make sense? Two pieces of clothing, one hanger.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

Love these bags from Thirty-One Gifts to store my shoes in.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

I found this pouch during a Thirty-One Gifts “Outlet Clearance” Works perfectly to store small books, pen and paper. I love packing everything in individual bags and pouches. I throw everything in my tote and am still able to find what I need very quickly.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

I found these storage cases by Travelon at TJMaxx. Had to have them. All 3 of them were packaged together for $9.99.

I thought the smallest case would be perfect to store my camera battery, cords and chargers.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

I will never vacation without my sun hat. I fold it up and it gets stored in my tote.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

This is my tote! LOVE it!! It is by Diane Von Furstenberg and it is huge. As I was boarding the plane for my flight home, the flight attendant said “Oh my gosh, is that your purse??” Yes Ma’am. (Well, not really, but for right now, yes! Haha. I’m not messing around) She then stated  “I think you broke the record for largest purse.” It’s 19.5 inches tall and 18.5 inches wide. In this tote, I carry my toiletries, make-up bag, magazines, books, purse, sun hat and one extra pair of shoes if needed. If laid flat, it fits perfectly underneath the seat in front of me.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

 

This is my garment bag. This is placed in the overhead compartment. It is also by Diane Von Furstenberg. In it, I store all of my outfits as well as my 3 travel cubes that contain my socks, undergarments, swimwear, PJ’s, Work-Out Attire, Flip Flops and Ballet Flats.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A  Pro

Here are a few of my favorite photos from Arizona.

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

How To Pack A Carry-On Like A Pro

If you get a chance to sneak away with your husband. Do it!! Life can be so busy and children are such a huge responsibility. Caring for these little humans is so time-consuming and exhausting at times. It can be so easy for your marriage to seem distant or 2nd on the list, especially if you have young children and have been hit with sleep deprivation.For me, alone time with my husband takes me straight back to the dating years, every single time.  I came back from this trip, relaxed, rejuvenated and even more in love!

If you don’t have time for a trip, you will be able to accomplish close to the same thing on a 4 hour date. A date doesn’t need to be away from home either. My husband and I have weekly date nights at home when our children are asleep. We order take-out (or make something yummy at home), watch our favorite shows together and basically reconnect, after a long, super busy week! We do not have any family members that live near us and we haven’t ventured out into the land of babysitters yet, so a date night at home is the norm for us. This trip to Arizona, sans children, was a huge treat for us. Do whatever works for you.

If you having any packing tips or tricks you would like to share, please do!! I would love to hear them!

My goal, next time I travel, is to take even less!

Until next time, Happy Packing/Organizing!

~ Colette

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