When it comes to travel, I always try to never pack a bag.

Back when I was in college, my luggage got lost.  All I had was my “airplane clothes” for a vacation in Mexico.  I had to buy everything!!  Like, swimsuit, flip flops, underwear!!  I wasn’t thrilled, to say the least.

Ended up getting my luggage on the second to last day of the trip.

From that moment on, I vowed to never had to check a bag again.

And haven’t really… we did check golf clubs because you can’t carry those on.

how to pack carry on with kids

So I feel I am a total expert in the packing department, and have learned many things about how to pack.  This last trip, I packed myself and both kids in a carry-on suitcase.

Head over to The Organized Mama TV for a video of how I packed for our latest vacation!

Make Lists

I always start by making a checklist of every single thing we need.  I don’t just write “toiletries”, I write the specifics… toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, etc.

I make a list for each family member, with every specific item they may need.

You can either write it on a Post-It or print this FREE Packing Checklist PDF download!

Plan Your Outfits

Whenever you travel, it can be tough to edit your wardrobe.  But this can help significantly reduce excess packing!

Start by planning out your outfits.  Each day lay out everything you need for that outfit… shoes, jewelry, etc.  Then you can see if you can reuse some of the items such as shoes or jewelry so you don’t have to pack as much!

rolling clothes suitcase packing tips

Roll Clothes

Once you have made your list and outfits are planned, grab all your items on your list and make a giant pile in an area with lots of space.  For me, it’s in our master bedroom.  I have lots of floor and bed space.

Start by rolling all the clothes.  Larger items go first, and line the bottom in rows.  Then, smaller items like t-shirts go around the outside.

If you are traveling with dressy items, use a garbage bag or dry cleaning bag.  Put your dressy item in the bag.  Roll the item in the bag by making sure you remove all the air from the bag.  This helps eliminate wrinkles.

packing tips shoes suitcase

Store Socks In Shoes

Store your socks in your shoes.  Then store the shoes in plastic grocery bags and put in your suitcase.  By keeping shoes contained to a bag, you don’t have to worry about the dirt getting on your clothes.

Toiletries Make Up Packing


I always recommend double bagging the liquids.  I have had way too many liquids spill all over my clothes.  Buy the travel-size empty containers to fill with your products.  Write on the bottle with a Sharpie marker.  You can easily remove it by using nail polish remover.


To ensure your necklaces and bracelets don’t get tangled, try rolling them in a wash cloth and storing in a baggie.  Store earrings in a pill box or small box.


Go watch the full packing video at The Organized Mama TV!

And I know there is so much I am missing, so leave a comment below with any other packing questions and I will add it to this list!!