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How To Pack Only a Carry-on

After the airlines lost my checked luggage three times in a row, I vowed that on future trips I would pack only a carry-on to save money and prevent lost luggage. Although I no longer adhere to this rule as strictly as I used to, I have flown on weeklong trips to places such as India, Canada and Jordan with no checked luggage.

It may seem impossible at first, but by following my advice, you will be able to pack using only a carry-on — or at least make more room in your checked bag for fun souvenirs.

First, make sure your clothes have plenty of neutral colors and layers. Although it’s tempting to pack half of your wardrobe for a trip like this, you’re better off bringing only a few essential items. For shoes, pack only one casual, one dress and one athletic pair. Wear the bulkiest clothes, coat and shoes on the plane to save room.

When packing, place the shoes in first along the edges of the bag and roll your clothes so they pack in tighter. That saves a lot of space and can prevent your clothes from wrinkling. Afterward, place all your travel-size toiletries on top and zip up.

Finally, put remaining items into a smaller bag or purse that will fit under the airplane’s seats. And just like that, you can save yourself the checked luggage fee and ensure that you won’t have to spend a night in a foreign city without any belongings.

Eliza Myers

Eliza Myers has worked for The Group Travel Leader since 2007. She is the online editor and associate editor for Select Traveler.

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