Packing for air travel can be stressful, follow this advice to learn how to help your teen pack her carry-on for her next flight.
First, choose the right carry-on luggage.
Be sure to double check the size limits for the airline your teen will be flying, then measure your teen’s luggage to make sure it will fit in the airport sizers.
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If you are looking to purchase a carry-on for your teen, this list of the best carry-ons for teens is a great place to start.
How to pack a Carry-On
Compression packing cubes are your friend!
Packing cubes not only keep your things organized, they actually can help your teen fit more into a small space. Regular packing cubes are a big help, as you can usually squish clothing into the cube more tightly than simply placing clothes inside a suitcase. Regular packing cubes also help keep other items together and organized, such as electronics, accessories, toiletries, and shoes.
Compression packing cubes work even better for cinching clothes and other soft items down tight to create the most space possible in your carry-on luggage.
Roll don’t fold.
Roll don’t fold is the usual mantra for the tightest possible packing. I recommend starting your packing with the roll method.
However, the best piece of advice for packing small is to try multiple options. Packing a carry-on is much like playing Tetris. Try all the possible folding, rolling and placements possible to figure out the best use of your space while packing.
Now that you have some general carry-on only packing tips, and we’ve talked about some packing techniques that will help pack your carry-on, lets talk about helping your teen decide what to pack in her carry on.
Choosing what to pack in your carry-on
Make a list of all the items you need to pack – it’s easy to overpack without a detailed packing list.
Pick a color scheme (black or brown) to take fewer accessories and shoes.
Choose items that easily mix and match. Think solid and neutral colors for the base pieces, adding just a few more colorful items that could easily be worn with several of the base items.
Choose outer layers that can be layered and worn several days if packing for cold weather. Wear your bulkiest layers on to the airplane rather than trying to squeeze them into the carry-on.
Choose clothing and items that can multitask. Some examples… Take a Turkish towel rather than a beach towel and a travel blanket. Choose a scarf that could double as a shawl for warmth and a sarong bathing suit cover up. Pick comfortable walking shoes that also look nice enough to wear out in the evenings. Plan to re-wear outer layers, jeans and/or evening clothes for more than one day.
Limit yourself to 2 or 3 pairs of shoes. Wear the bulkiest pair onto the plane. Choose one comfortable walking shoe, and one nicer shoe for dressier events and evenings. Choosing a cohesive color scheme for the entire trip makes parring down your shoe needs much easier. Take a thin, cheap pair of flip flops for walking around your lodging, wearing in the shower, and wearing to the pool.
When packing toiletries consider what toiletries you could skip for the duration of your trip. What toiletries could you switch out for a solid product? Use powder foundation rather than liquid, bar soap and shampoo rather than liquid. Use travel size containers for products you need to pack. Find out what toiletries your lodging provides and leave those off of your packing list. Check a map and figure out if a nearby drug store could allow you to buy most of your toiletries after arriving at your destination, rather than packing them. Don’t forget that you’ll be limited to 3.4 oz containers and one quart size bag for your liquid items when you travel carry-on only in an airplane.
Personal Item Tips
Choose your personal bag wisely depending on your needs both packing and once you arrive at your destination. Either use a comfortable backpack that can double as your day pack on the trip, or something more roomy, if you expect to have a lot of overflow from your carry-on suitcase that you’ll need to fit in your personal item. You can always pack a small foldable backpack or tote inside your personal item for use once arriving at your destination if you choose to carry the largest personal item the airline allows.
Be thoughtful when packing your personal item- keep items you’ll need while traveling and on the airplane in an easy to access portion of personal item bag. Keep anything security might ask you to take out to inspect in your personal item, rather than in your carry-on. This includes all liquids and electronics (and sometimes snacks). Having security ask you to open a carry-on you just barely managed to close to look more closely at something is the worst!
Deciding what to pack in your personal item for a comfortable flight is a whole other packing conversation. Be sure to read this post about must have items your teen will want to pack in her personal item for a great flight.
With these tips your teen can successfully travel carry-on only for her next trip!