Checking bags for flights can be a real pain in your wallet.

Checked baggage fees seem to go up every time you take a flight, and some airlines charge up to $50 per bag!

If your family of four checked just one bag each, you’d spend $200 before you even got to your destination!

Checking your luggage can leave you feeling anxious about your belongings, and make it feel more like a gamble than a convenience.

Your bag could get lost, delayed, or things could even break in your suitcase without you knowing!

These are just some of the reasons we’ve learned to pack the perfect carry on bag to avoid having to check our bags whenever possible.

So I’ll share how to pack a carry-on so you have everything you need with you.

Plus, I’ll share some carry-on packing tips so you’ll be organized from the start.

And, I’ll share some personal bags for flight tips so you won’t overpack this time.

If you follow these tips, you can just about guarantee you’ll never need to check a bag again!

bags for flights

Pack Your Bags Efficiently

The top two reasons most people will check their bags for flights are because they’re either too lazy to carry their luggage around the terminal or they have too much stuff.

If your reason for checking a bag is number one, get over it! The cost of checking a bag is just not worth it!

If the problem is too much stuff, there may be something you can do about it. You may not necessarily have too much stuff, but instead, you don’t pack efficiently.


Create A Plan For Your Money

These FREE Budgeting Spreadsheets will help you keep a pulse on your money (from the palm of your hand).

If you know you will have a pretty full suitcase, create some extra space by first rolling every article of clothing you have to save space. This is also an excellent way to keep your clothes wrinkle-free.

Next, use the nooks and crannies in your suitcase to store your shoes and other items, so there is no wasted space. Use these carry-on packing tips to make the most of your carry-on.

Here’s a great video on how to pack using the bundle method!

Packing cubes are also a great way on how to pack a carry-on efficiently.

bags for flights

You Probably Need Less Than You Think

If, after following the above advice, you still can’t fit everything in your carry on, or it’s a very tight fit, you may want to consider taking out items you don’t need. Because you don’t want to check those bags for flights and pay even more money!

Wear It

Can’t fit that bulky jacket or sweater? Wear it! You can always use it as your blanket or pillow during your travel.

Deciding what to leave behind can be challenging, especially if you have a habit of over preparing for a trip. Depending on where you will be traveling to, decide what you can leave behind.

Leave It

If you are going to be staying at a hotel, skip the shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Nearly every modern hotel has these supplied for you, and if not, you can call the front desk and ask.

You can always look to see if there will be a store nearby to pick up any necessary items your hotel may not have. Leaving this stuff behind can also mean less hassle during your TSA check.

bags for flights

Make It Versatile

Next, look for versatile clothing. These items will save you space since you won’t need a separate outfit for each day you are traveling.

Think of how you can mix and match your outfits or wardrobe. This will keep your attire interesting without your wardrobe looking over worn.

Check out these tips on how to make a Vacation Capsule Wardrobe!

You’ll be glad you read these carry-on packing tips when you are not having to lug around a 50 pound suitcase all by yourself!

Wash It

If you are still short on space, consider doing laundry while you are away. It might sound like the last thing you want to do while on vacation, but if it’s less than the cost of checking your bag, it’s worth it.

Plus, you will have fewer loads to do and will keep your costs down if you keep your wardrobe to like-colored items.

These Sink Suds can help you do a small load in your hotel bathroom sink and they are TSA compliant!

bags for flights

Decide What Should Go Into Each Bag

In addition to how to pack your bag and what to take out, it’s also important to figure out what should go into each bag.

Remember that while you are flying, you are allowed one carry-on sized bag and one personal item. Your personal item could be a backpack, purse, or even a shopping tote.

Contain It

If you are only bringing a carry on bag, make sure the items you need are easy to get to without unzipping your entire bag. Put those items in the front zipper or in a zippered pouch at the top of your bag for quick and easy access.


Create A Plan For Your Money

These FREE Budgeting Spreadsheets will help you keep a pulse on your money (from the palm of your hand).

In fact, I use plastic zippered baggies to organize everything in my carry on bags. Have you ever had your purse explode in a busy line? Well, I have. It just makes life easier knowing that everything has its own bag and everything is organized.

Ziploc now has accessory bags that are perfect for storing items in your purse or backpack. They are heavy duty and are reusable!

Don’t forget to pack the chargers you may need during your travel in a place that’s easy to access. If you are using a laptop or electronic device while on the trip, bring the necessary charger in your purse or the front pocket of your suitcase. And yep, put those in a plastic baggy too!

You’ll be glad you didn’t have to check your bags for flights since you don’t have to lug it around the airport!

bags for flights

Pack It In Your Carry-On

Your carry-on bag should be reserved for the things you don’t plan to use while in flight. The less you have to open your suitcase, the more likely it will be to stay organized while you’re flying.

There is nothing worse that trying to dig something out of your carry-on while not trying to step on the person underneath or dropping anything on their head!

Pack It In Your Personal Item

Use the pockets of your purse or backpack to your advantage to hold headphones and even slip a book in your bag. This will avoid having to open up your suitcase on the plane.

Other items to keep in your personal bags for flight:

  • Chargers
  • Mints/Gum
  • Lotion
  • Lip Balm
  • Snacks
  • Cash/Card
  • Water bottle
  • Jacket/Shawl
  • Travel Pillow
  • And anything else you might need during the flight.

Flying is stressful without adding the hassle of packing.

So I hope you’ve learned how to pack a carry-on so you have everything you need with you.

Plus, these carry-on packing tips will help you be organized from the start.

And, these personal bags for flight tips can help so you won’t overpack this time.

If you follow these tips to pack your perfect carry on bag, you will avoid checking your bags every single time you fly!


YOUR TURN: Rethinking the way you pack your bags for flights, what changes are you going to make? Let me know in the comments below!

bags for flights
How To Pack The Perfect Carry-On To Avoid Checking Bags