Leah Elizabeth Photography

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Ways to pack your carry on for a long weekend

Ways to pack your carry on for a long weekend

Usually when I’m  traveling, I am driving with my family to our destination (the Beach, Disney…). We don’t have to worry about packing or luggage weight when we’re driving.


But, when I went to New York last week, I decided to pack a carry-on because I was only staying for three days and no one wants to pay $50 for a checked bag for three days.



Because of that extra luggage cost, a lot of people are choosing to pack carry-on bags these days and save $50 no matter how long their trip! Here are ways to pack your carry on for a long weekend (which is basically what I did)!



First, you need to have a good travel carry-on bag. Mine is by American Tourister and it is bright lime green.


It would be really hard for me to lose my bag, for someone to get it confused with theirs or have it stolen. It is very obvious.


You don’t want to get a plain black bag that looks like everybody else’s. You want a bag that looks different.


And a hard case is better than a soft case because it will hold up better/longer and things are more protected. All these tips are especially true if you’re checking luggage!


Here are some great affordable options:

Luggage recs



Pack your breakables (or more fragile pieces) in the middle of your bag and in between clothes. It will help protect them and even more so if you have a hard case carry on.


For my earrings I rolled two pairs individually in paper towels and then stacked the paper towels in a pouch, and the pouch within a purse. Nothing was happening to those earrings!


Travel Jewelry holder



If you’re checking luggage, mark it “Fragile” and the airport staff might be a little more gentle with your bag.


Mini-Capsule Wardrobe

Bring clothes that go easily together for many different outfits. Think, mini-capsule wardrobe.


I brought one romper that I could wear two different ways. There were a couple more variations but two main ways (with white button down & without).


I also brought three outfits that are completely interchangeable with each other. And three pairs of shoes that can go with most everything.



I purposely did not bring a dress to New York because I wanted to purchase one at a store we don’t have locally. So that also saved some room in my suitcase!!



Pack snacks! Airport food is notoriously expensive. If you do a little planning ahead and bring your own snacks, you won’t have to waste money at the airport.


I put some in my personal item/purse so I could have them readily available in the airport and on the flight.


The rest I put in my carry-on for on the go, last minute snacking in New York.


Security Checkpoint


Put all of your liquids in a clear bag and put that clear bag in your personal item so you can take it out easily when going through the security checkpoint.

Clear bags


You also have to take out your phone, laptop or tablet, jacket, anything in your pockets, the list goes on... So make sure all that stuff is out, readily available and not hidden in the depths of your carry-on.


Slide on Shoes

I would also recommend wearing slide or slip on shoes. That makes it so much easier to take them off in those security check lines.

Slide on shoes


Also, if you have a coat or jacket you’ll want to wear that, because it will be cold on the plane. It will also save space in your suitcase if it’s not in there.


Weather Check

Make sure you check the weather so you know what extra gear you might need to bring. It was going to be rainy one day in NY, so I brought an umbrella (rain coat, not necessary if you have an umbrella & rain boots too big/bulky).


Packing Tips

Put the heavy items on the bottom of your suitcase so it’s not top heavy and they don’t smoosh the lighter things.


Get organized with packing cubes, if you can. Packing cubes are a great way to separate outfits, articles of clothing or for different places.


Packing cubes


I ran out of time to get affordable ones and ended up using ziplock bags to seal my outfits but it ended up saving space on the way back to roll them!


Ziplock bags


You can also organize different things (like cables, cords, note taking supplies, other small things)  with pouches to keep them separate, and easily accessible. 



There are literally a million more tips and tricks for packing a travel carry on bag. Especially if you’re going for a longer trip, international and just more tips in general.


Though, these are the things that really helped me pack for my trip to New York for three days.


Do you have any hacks, tips or tricks for packing a carry-on? I would love to hear them below!

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