How to Travel with Light Carry-On Luggage: 6 Tips and Tricks


When you travel light, you travel happy.

In addition to the fact that carrying light carry-on luggage saves your back, it makes it easier to navigate through crowded airports, trains, and bus stations.

It also reduces the risk of having your personal information or belongings stolen, as well as freeing you up to enjoy the country you’re in, rather than constantly worrying about your valuables.

If you’re planning a trip where you’ll spend much of your time walking, commuting, city-hopping, or sightseeing, traveling light is critical to ensuring your happiness and wellbeing along the way.

In this article, we’ll help you learn how to travel with light carry-on luggage, without sacrificing anything that you need.

6 Tips to Travel with Light Carry On Luggage

As you head out for your grand adventure, follow these six tips to travel with light carry-on luggage:

1. Be prepared

The first tip to make the most of less packing space is to be prepared.

While it’s possible to bring all the essentials you need in a carry-on bag and leave the heavy suitcase at home, you’ll need to start preparing in advance.

Make a list and don’t pack at the last minute. Additionally, consider exactly what your plan is while you’re away, and make sure that everything you’re packing fits seamlessly into that plan. 


2. Only take the essentials

As you pack for a trip, it’s tempting to bring a bunch of items you don’t need – just in case.

Unfortunately, this makes your bags heavier, cumbersome and harder to carry around if you are in transit.

Only take the essentials on your upcoming trip. This should include a few shirts, some pants or shorts, good shoes, a raincoat and any additional layers that you need to be comfortable in the environment you’re headed to.

Keep technology to a minimum (don’t bring your laptop if you don’t need to, for example) and keep the mantra “travel light” in your head at all times.

For some inspiration on how to pack light, check out what lifestyle guru Tim Ferriss packed for his Maui trip in the screenshot below.

Tim Ferriss Maui packing image - light carry-on luggage

3. Pack the right bag

Your bag is almost as important as what you decide to put in it. So consider purchasing a piece of super-light carry-on luggage before you go (if you don’t already have one).

In addition to saving you weight, these convenient bags will also make it easy to organise all of your must-haves and get your trip started on the right foot.

For an example of lightweight carry-on luggage, consider Zoomlite’s Excalibur 4-wheel carry on, pictured below.

Carry-On Luggage - Zoomlite Excalibur

Equipped with wheels, pockets for everything you need, and sturdy fabric, this carry-on is ideal for anyone travelling to foreign and exotic places.

4. Be a pro packer

Using rolling bags and packing cubes to organise your items can be a great space saver to help you make the most of a small carry-on.

In addition to keeping small items (like underwear and socks) within easy reach, packing cubes and organisers can help you take more of those essential items on a long trip and ensure that they fit seamlessly into your light carry-on luggage.

Packing Cubes

5. Prepare to wash your clothes

When you bring fewer clothes, you’ll need to be prepared to wash them when you’re away.

There are cleaning services around the world that specialise in washing clothes for tourists, and ensuring you have clean clothing to wear throughout your trip is as simple as finding one.

A Google search will reveal laundromats and cleaners in the area you are travelling, or you can ask the locals to find out who they recommend.

There are also on-demand laundry services available through apps like FlyCleaners in many parts of the world:

FlyCleaners app for cleaning services - for light carry-on luggage

6. Get a multi-purpose pair of shoes

While taking numerous pairs of shoes is common during a long trip, this approach adds weight and makes your carry-on luggage heavier and more difficult to manage.

As an alternative, search for a multi-purpose set of shoes that are good for walking, water activities and a night out at dinner.

A good set of Chaco's could be your choice of style, but there are numerous other options available too.

Chaco screenshot for multi-purpose sandals

Is light carry-on luggage the secret to an enjoyable trip?

As you head out on your next big adventure, make sure that your luggage doesn’t hold you back. Light carry-on luggage gives you the freedom to enjoy the world, without the burden of lugging a huge bag along with you.

Many people believe that carrying a small suitcase is a recipe for sacrifice, but these six tips prove that it’s easy to take everything you need in just one small bag.

1 comment

  • Gillian Silver

    Really helpful, and you are right!!! Heavy carry on is not fun. By the time you’ve walked 5 miles to the Gate you wish you’d left the whole lot at home !!!!!

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