When we left for the Grand Adventure around the world, Rob and I decided we wanted to keep our luggage to a minimum. That meant just a backpack and a carry on suitcase for each of us. I’m not going to lie, the idea of fitting everything I would need for 7 months of traveling through a range of different climates seemed daunting. I was going to need warm sporty clothes for hiking in Ireland, cute sundresses for summer in Europe, and plenty of swimsuits and shorts for Thailand.
The first key to packing everything into a carry on is to have a minimal packing list. I spent weeks planning out what I was going to bring in my head. I wanted to make sure everything I brought was something essential and I would need. You can see my packing list, I did bring all those clothes and shoes, and I did manage to get it all in a carry on.
The next thing to consider is how you actually pack everything up. There are tons of schools of thought on this, from using packing cubes, to rolling, to specific folding methods. I started out using compression bags to both organize my clothes and to try and save some space. Eventually I ditched the bags and went with rolling my clothes together, it just seemed more space efficient.
Check out the little video I made of how I get everything packed up. I manage to get all my clothes shoes and toiletries into a 20 inch hardside carry on case.
How to fit everything in a carry on
Of course this packing method isn’t just for long term travel you could pack like this for just a week vacation or a few days.
Also I’d like to note that this isn’t the exact packing list from our trip around the world, I’ve modified it slightly for a better range of clothes. If you’d like that list, it’s below.