7 Easy Steps for Travelling Internationally with Only a Carry On

Friday, 24 May 2019
When you're trying to make the most out of your holiday time, the last thing you want to do is wait at the airport for your bag to be unloaded from the plane and placed on the baggage carousel. I don't know about you, but I hate giving over that much control to the airline. What happens if they lose my bag? 




Many assume that one cannot go on a multi-week holiday with only a carry-on. This is not true! It is totally possible. Take control of your holiday by keeping your luggage with you throughout your travels. Here are our top tips for travelling with only a carry-on with a free packing checklist. 

Whatever you think you need, cut it in half.
If you're newer to international travel, it is no surprise that you will be guilty of overpacking. Thinking you may need a new outfit for every day so that your trip is Instaworthy isn't worth the potential extra cost from the weight.  Try and find clothing items that can be mixed and matched. 

Eliminate the "Just in Case"
We've all done it. We pack something just in case we go somewhere that we might need heels or a fancier dress or something spectacular. Instead of packing the 'just in case' items, opt for hiring outfits when you get to your location. This way, you save on luggage weight, you keep more room for souvenirs, and you can still get the most Instagramable photos. 

Travel with Layers
Items like jackets and boots can take up a lot of extra space in your suitcase. So don't pack them. Airplanes are typically pretty dang cold so wearing multiple layers will help make the flight more comfortable while also leaving more room for other items. Just don't be that person that puts every layer on themselves so that their carry-on makes weight. 

Pack Multipurpose Items
To save some space in your carry-on, pack items that can be worn in multiple ways. Maxi dress can double as a dress and a skirt, scarves can be made into head wraps, coverups, or skirts. Packing these items will help ensure you're packing less but getting more variety in your wardrobe. 

Marie Kondo That Suitcase
Don't just throw all your clothes into your suitcase and call it a day. Shoes should go at the bottom of the bag so that you don't dirty your clothes. Folding your clothes Marie Kondo style will help create extra space in your bag. You'll have no trouble fitting all your outfits into your bag!

Buy When You Arrive
If you happen to mistake your flight date like I have in the past, packing a proper bag might not be in the cards. The beautiful thing about travel, there will be clothes to purchases where ever you arrive. If you buy on arrival, you'll be able to get some unique, memorable pieces to add to your wardrobe. It may not be the most cost-effective packing method, but it definitely is a fun way to start your trip. 

Utilise Laundry Rooms
Most hotels and hostels allow access to laundry service. There may be a small fee involved but doing your own laundry whilst travelling helps you save heaps of space in your luggage! Plus then you don't have to carry around dirty clothes for your entire trip. 

Don't make the same mistakes of travellers past. If you follow these tips, you'll have no problem packing for an international trip using only a carry-on bag. For my fellow seasoned travellers, what are your favourite tips for packing?

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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24 comments


  1. I don't know if I would be so good at bringing few things to me, but it is certain that in the last few years I have diminished the things that I carry in my suitcase because I use so much the washing machine in the apartments where I stay!

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    1. I used to be horrible when I would travel. But I've gotten much better especially since I've started having longer layovers. It helps make sure you can get out and travel the city much quicker.

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  2. I always fly with only a carry on because I don't want to pay the extra fees for checking in a bag. I became a master of packing. I am actually just preparing for a 10 days trip with only a small backpack (Ryanair size).

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    1. That definitely is a great motivator to only pack a carry-on. Most Aussie airlines only allow a carry-on as well. You've definitely got carry-on only travel down!

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  3. I'm a total overpacker but would love to try to tone that down. Will definitely try out your tips!

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  4. These tips are great!! I know I over do it every time!

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  5. I do tend to overpack. These are tips that I will use for my trip next week.

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  6. We don't travel often but I really love these tips. One time we lost a piece of luggage. I don't like the extra fees for checking anyway. Great post, I'll have to keep some of this in mind next time we travel!

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    1. Losing luggage is never fun! It can totally derail a holiday. Even more reason to pack only a carry-on.

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  7. This is exactly how I pack for a cruise. Your advice for your readers is on point!

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    1. Thank you! I've never been on a cruise before but now, thanks to your comment, I know I'll be ok!

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  8. I am AWFUL at packing I always over pack and then never use much of what I have packed! I totally need to try and follow your tips in future.

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  9. I love this! When we travel, I teach my girls to multipurpose their wardrobe. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Love your post! This is exactly what I need before going to a trip next week :) I will follow your tips and let you know how it goes!

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    1. Please let me know how it goes! I hope you have a wonderful trip!

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  11. Oh wow, I would never able to travel internationally without one carry on. So interesting!!

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  12. These are great tips! I've learned through the years of traveling, to pack less.

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  13. I don't know if I can travel international with only a carry on. Thanks for these great tips.

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    1. It's definitely doable! Give these tips a go and you'll be surprised! Planning ahead helps heaps too. I find if I'm just chucking stuff in my suitcase the night before or day of I pack way too much.

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  14. I spent 5 months abroad with only carry on luggage. I did eventually buy clothes and lots of souvenirs so I returned with a lot more than I went over with. But I honestly could have bought an item or two and just be fine with what I had. You don't really need a lot of anything. It's so easy to over pack.

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  15. This is really wonderful tips, I usually pack a suitcase for 3 days of vacation. I need to use your trip to make it luggage less heavy.

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  16. Perfect! I've always found myself over packing to the point that I'm paying extra for luggage. Funny enough, I end up not using everything. So, I'll be halving it all. I also love the idea of packing multipurpose items.

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  17. Yes I truly agree with you That in Thinking that one may need a new outfit for every day so that one's trip is Instaworthy isn't worth the potential extra cost from the weight, I do that a lot, but I really think the cult in halve tip it good idea but will be difficult for me to adapt.

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  18. The only problem with these packing ideas is there is a weight restriction of 7K. So buying while overseas will not only take up more room but also increase the weight. As far as having more room for gifts and trinkets, good luck. I have travelled to Thailand with just carry on because I didn't want to pay the $170 checked baggage. I bought clothes there and a few other things and ended up buying a backpack and paying $80 for checked luggage on the return flight.

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