Traveling with just a carry on? It's definitely possible! After so many flights and packing mishaps, we finally know the secret to a super organized carry-on luggage (spoiler alert: it involves packing cubes). Curious, aren't you? Well, you have to keep reading to find out! Plus, we shared our list of carry-on essentials and some cool tips so you can pack light and right. Let's get started!
Carry-On Essentials + Packing List
Expensive baggage fees? Absurd waiting times in the airport?
Whatever your reasons, packing light is absolutely the way to go. But before you can even be a #CarryOnBoss, you need a handy packing list. Don't worry, we did a quick rundown of everything you'll need for your carry-on trip below. Download and save it ASAP!
Please note: In addition to your carry-on luggage, you're usually allowed 1 extra personal bag (backpack, laptop bag, tote, etc.) - ask your airline if unsure.
**Need all this is in a fancy packing list? Sign up here.
Pack these items in your Personal Bag 👜
✓ Travel Documents - If you’re planning to use a state-issued ID for your domestic flight, make sure it’s Real ID Compliant. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring your passport with you. Traveling overseas? Prepare your passport, visa, boarding pass and itinerary as well. You can also keep photocopies or digital screenshots of any important documents in case of emergencies!
✓ First Aid Kit (Medications) - Check this post to learn how to make your own First Aid Kit for travel. Don't forget to pack your prescription meds!
✓ Valuables - Jewelry, expensive makeup, birth control, money, credit or debit cards... keep all these items inside your personal bag when you travel.
✓ Electronics (Entertainment) - Bring your smartphone or tablet on the plane, but make sure to download your favorite tv series, playlist, etc. before boarding. For readers, bring along a portable reading device like the Amazon Kindle.
✓ Toiletries - Keep your mini toiletries in a TSA Approved Quart Size Bag like this one. Great for freshening up on the flight!
✓ Snacks - As long as these snacks aren’t liquid, gel or cream in consistency, the sky’s the limit to what you can pack.
✓ Set of Extra Clothes - A long flight can leave you feeling sticky and gross. Do yourself a favor and pack an extra set of clothes for each member of the family.
✓ Other Gear - Headphones, eye mask, earplugs, scarf, jacket, whatever will make your long flight more comfy!
✓ Baby Essentials (For Parents) - Diapers, wipes, formula and feeding bottles… These are just some of the baby essentials you can’t forget when you’re flying with a baby. Don't worry, these items are not limited by the 3-1-1 Liquids Rules.
✓ Portable Water Bottle - Save money and save the earth (;
✓ Hygiene Kit - Definitely important! Pack antibacterial wipes, tissues, face masks, nasal spray and eye drops, 70% solution alcohol in a travel spray bottle, or a hand sanitizer.
Must-bring items in your Carry-On Suitcase 🧳
✓ 2 to 3 Pairs of Pants / Bottoms - Bring 1 to 2 comfy pairs of pants for walking around and 1 dressy pants (jeans or slacks) for night outs.
✓ 3 Casual Shirts / Tops - Depending on where you're going, can be tank tops, t-shirts or long-sleeve tops.
✓ 1 to 2 Dressy Shirts - For night outs. You can also pack a cute dress instead!
Pro Tip: Color coordinate your clothing so that everything can be mixed and matched together. 6 pieces + color coordinated = 12 outfits!!
✓ 4 Pairs of Undies / Socks
✓ 1 to 2 Loungewear
✓ 2 Casual / Dressy Shoes - Wear your bulkiest pair in the flight and pack the other in your carry-on luggage.
✓ Larger Toiletries - Shampoo, body wash, conditioner, lotion, or any other skin care essentials larger than 3 oz.
✓ Glasses / Sunglasses
✓ Day Bag / Purse
✓ Travel Towel
✓ Cords / Chargers - Use a Circle Pouch to keep your cords and chargers organized.
✓ Travel Laundry Bag - Don't let dirty clothes mingle with your clean ones.
✓ Travel Shoe Bag - This one fits 2 to 3 pairs of women's size medium shoes.
Need all of these items in a printable packing list? Go ahead, join the EzPacking family and we'll send you the printable version 😉
The Best Packing Cubes for Your Carry-On Luggage
Using clear packing cubes is the best way to organize your carry-on because of its easy packing perks and easy access through airport security. But what is the best packing cubes set for your carry-on? Glad you asked!
Introducing EzPacking's Starter Set!
Trust us when we say that the Starter Set is a match made in heaven for your carry-on suitcase. Get each member of the family his or her own Starter Set in their favorite color and let the packing fun begin! It includes:
- 1 Extra Small Cube - aka the TSA Approved Clear Toiletry Bag. Perfect for packing your 3 oz toiletries for carry-on only travel.
- 1 Small Cube - Our small but mighty packing cube size! Fits your travel undies, socks, a few children's clothing and loungewear.
- 1 Medium Cube - Packs a few complete outfits or your fave tops and shirts.
- 1 Large Cube - Awesome size for your bigger clothing items like jeans, jackets and sweaters.
3 Reasons Why Customers 💖 the Starter Set for Carry-On Travel
Your carry-on luggage always seems to be the bag opened and closed twelve times before you actually board your flight. Why? Airport security makes you take out liquids and electronics from your carry-on bag of course. You get hungry and need your snacks (7 minutes after getting to the airport). You left your new magazine at the bottom of the bag and the list continues...
Without clear organized packing cubes, life is a chaotic mess. With EzPacking cubes, easily open your suitcase and pull out the specific cube you need to access. Zip it up and slip it back in - no problem, no hassle, no messing up your organized suitcase!
Here's why customers love the Starter Set for carry-on travel:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "These are my favorite packing cubes! I have tried so many in the past but these really stand out. I like how they are see through and hold their shape more than a regular mesh cube. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than other cheap options on Amazon, but this is great value for what you are getting. I would rather buy once and use the product for many years than buy cheap and need to rebuy soon after." - Greta
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "I love these packing cubes. They hold an amazing amount, fit perfectly in suitcases and backpack to keep things organized and easy to find. The different colors make it easy to efficiently pack our things and still tell which were mine and which were my husbands when unpacking. I bought a third set in a different color for things that go in our carry on bags and backpacks so I could organize our medicine and toiletries to have the accessible." - Patricia
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "This bag is awesome if you love products but need to carry on. I’ve been able to fit a ton in it. Everything fits with room to spare! I love that it opens all the way up; it makes it easy to dig through and access everything." - Mallory
Our Favorite Carry-On Bags for Packing Cubes
On the hunt for the ideal carry-on bag? We got you! Here's a few of our go-to brands for a carry-on suitcase. Check them out below:
✓ Samsonite Ascella - This one's super lightweight, rolls easily and fits perfectly in the overhead bin. It's also a 'soft-shell' so it expands a bit and can fit more compared to your standard hardshell suitcase. Buying the Starter Set? No worries! It fits well in this suitcase with the cubes stacked vertically.
✓ Samsonite Freeform - Very roomy, light and look at that gorgeous lilac color! Matches our lilac Starter Set, don't you think? Plus, you can stack our cubes horizontally and they will fit so perfectly.
✓ Tortuga Women's Setout (45L) - Looking for a backpack instead? This one from Tortuga is a great option! It opens flat like a suitcase and can fit a few packing cubes as well.
✓ Rockland Jr. Kids My First Spinner Luggage - How cute is this spinner luggage for kids?? It comes in super fun animal designs kids will surely love!
Before a flight, the last thing you want is an endless abyss of carry-on chaos.
With packing cubes, you can easily avoid these scenarios. Separate items, organize by category, pack efficiently, and easily find what you need. Organize with our Starter Set and let the adventures begin! We want you to experience how easy packing should really be!
P.S. New to the packing cube game? Click here for a more detailed guide - including the different types of travel cubes and the BEST brands to choose from.