How to Fly With Only Carry-ons
Travel Travel Tips

How to Fly With Only Carry-ons

If you have read our previous post, 3 Places to Find Cheap Flights, then you know we are always looking for travel bargains. One of the things we mentioned was finding airlines, such as Southwest, that offer free checked bags. Unfortunately, sometimes the better deal is to fly with carry-ons and leave the convenience of checking a bag behind.

I have spent a ton of time looking up tips and practicing how to pack our suitcases to fit the most stuff in the least amount of space. I usually always travel with my boyfriend, Tyrell, so for the purpose of this post I will be talking about how to travel for one week with two people both bringing two carry-ons for a total of four bags! A standard dimensions of a carry-on bag are 9 inches X 14 inches X 22 inches which actually provides quite a bit of space if used properly!

This post will also assume that we are traveling somewhere warm and can pack light shirts and shorts. Traveling to winter locations makes the carry-on scenario more difficult because the clothes are thicker, more fabric, and you need more layers.

Bag 1 – Jeans and Pants

Jeans bag

In the first carry-on I pack all of our jeans and pants. Jeans don’t wrinkle as easily as some material and the fold pretty flat so I fold them just like I normally would and don’t spend the time rolling them or folding them together as I’ve read in so many other blogs!

On the bottom of the bag I start with two piles (his and hers) putting 1 – 2 pairs of regular, full length jeans. I then pack myself 1 – 2 pairs of capris and then I add 5 – 6 pair of shorts for each of us. most of our shorts fold up small enough that I can put two pairs next to each other on each layer. All of these pants should be jean, khaki, or a tough material.

Now there still should be room on top for softer material items. This layer I don’t worry about keeping the his and her piles separate because I don’t fold these pants up as small because they may wrinkle easier. So I add 2 pairs of nice cotton shorts for him and for myself I add one pair of nice leggings and 1 – 2 skirts. On top of everything or stuffed into open spaces I add our swimsuits into this bag as well.

Total I pack each of us 9 – 10 pairs of various pants. This should fill up a carry-on just right and will last us the full 7 days including a couple extra evening outfits to go out in.

Bag 2 – Shirts and Shoes

Shirts and shoes

For this bag I use a double sided carry-on with a zipped divider. On one half I put our shirts and on the other side I put our shoes. Shirts are easy to pack because the fold up fairly small and a lot of them can fit into half of the suitcase.

Again I start with 1 sweater for each of us dividing the half of the suitcase into two piles (his and hers). But I usually make us each wear one on the plane just in case. I also pack 1 long sleeve shirt for each of us. This is usually a nice/fancy shirt so that we have something to go out to a nice dinner or event in.

I then pack 5 t-shirts and 5 tank tops for each of us. The tank tops I usually roll up and put them around the edges. Then I pack a couple of dresses or rompers for myself which I lay on top.

On the other side I pack 3 pairs of shoes for each of us. One pair of tennis shoes and two pairs of flip-flops or sandals. In the fabric divider of my suit case there is one zipper pouch and two scrunched pouches. In these I put our undergarments and socks.

Total I pack each of us 11 shirts, 3 shoes, undergarments, and a couple dresses for myself.

Bag 3 – Toiletries

Instead of a backpack I usually pack myself a shoulder bag. Either a Vitoria’s Secret bag or one of my old cheer or dance bags. Both of them fit nicely under the seat in front of me and are easy to carry through the airport.

In this bag I pack my hair supplies: blow dryer, straightener, brushes, etc.. All of my makeup. Deodorant. Our toothbrush and toothpaste in a baggie. And a bag with some Tylenol, Benadryl, Excedrin, and Tums because let’s be honest, we al might need these when we are traveling.

I also pack traveling buddies as I like to call them. Things like headphones, a neck pillow, a book, or other things to entertain us on the airplane. On the top of everything I put our baggie of liquids that is easy to grab. The liquids usually include shampoo, conditioner, soap, and perfume. I also leave room for my small purse so that I have it when I get to my destination.


Bag 4 – Everything Else

For Tyrell’s carry-on I always have him bring a backpack. We usually have to do work or school so we bring at least one laptop but sometimes two. We also bring a tablet and camera. In this bag we pack our chargers for all electronics. I also always bring my travel journal with me!

With whatever room is left over we pack a small blanket for the plane, sunglasses, and snacks. Even if this doesn’t fill the backpack we bring it to have room for souvenirs of course!


For my birthday a few years ago Tyrell bought me a passport case that has a protective metal inside and slots for credit cards and IDs that stops them from being scanned by someone or damaged by the x-rays. It is awesome and I always take it to the airports with me whenever we travel! You can buy them on Amazon for $20.00 or less!



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