How to Fit a Week’s Worth of Clothes in a Carry On

What to Pack for Spring Break

Wearing: White Blouse | Denim Shorts

I have a pretty fun travel week ahead: tomorrow, I’m headed down to Charlottesville, Virginia with all of my Philly friends for the weekend, and then Tuesday I’m flying out to Arizona for an incredible press trip with Visit Mesa and Visit Phoenix (it will be my first time ever in the state of Arizona, so excited!) While I know the typical “spring break” period for college and grade schools have passed, I’m so excited for my grown-up spring break adventures!

One thing you should know about me? I am a carry on queen. Checking baggage is kind of the worst; the fear of my luggage being lost is real, and, you know, I’d prefer to not pay $50 to check it. Save money when you can, right? Here’s some tips and tricks on how I manage to fit a week’s worth of clothes in my carry on!

How to Fit a Week's Worth of Clothes in a Carryon

Use the largest carry on and personal item possible.

First things first: how efficient is your carry on bag? I’d recommend something that has room to expand and a lot of compartments. Often times you’ll see a 19″ or 21″ option for carry ons — always, always go for the 21″! I went with a 19″ one last year and ended up giving it away since it didn’t hold much!

As for your personal item, skip the purse and go for an oversized tote. Often times I end up packing my laptop, toiletries and medicine in my “personal item” just in case I end up having to check my luggage at the gate. 

The Best Toiletries for Traveling, Secret Clinical Strength, Vera Bradley Toiletry Pouch

Use the Roll Packing Method.

Once you start roll packing, you won’t want to stop! By rolling your clothes instead of folding them, you’ll be able to fit a lot more pieces than normal. I actually roll my clothes in my dresser instead of folding them as well due to how much I need to fit in my drawers! You’ll be surprised by how much additional space you’ll end up with using this technique. You can view a video here on how to do it!

D.C. blogger Alicia Tenise at the brand new Apollo Rooftop on H Street

Limit Your Shoes.

Ladies: I know shoes are going to be your downfall with this. I get it. I’m a lowkey shoe hoarder as well, but shoes are going to take up the most room in your suitcase. I try to sit down ahead of time and pack 3-4 pairs of shoes max. I know. That sounds nuts! I usually pack a pair of heels/wedges, one pair of sandals, one pair of closed toe shoes, and a pair of lightweight gym/athletic sneakers. I usually end up traveling in the gym/athletic shoes, and since those are on my feet and not in my suitcase, I already end up with more room!

Secret Clinical Strength Gel Review

Pre-Pack your toiletries.

This might sound a little extra, but I have a tote that’s full of all the (travel-sized!) toiletries I need ready to go at all times. I keep this completely separate from the toiletries I use on a regular basis. I’m not gonna lie, I always end up procrastinating while packing. Having my toiletries pre-packed helps save a ton of time!

What toiletries do I tote along with me? Toothbrush and toothpaste are always a must, face cleanser, lotion, dry shampoo, shampoo/conditioner, contact lens case/solution, sunscreen, and last but certainly not least, deodorant. Of all things to forget to pack, I think deodorant is probably the worst thing to leave at home! 

I scooped up a few travel-sized Secret Clinical Strength Deodorants in both Clear Gel and Invisible Solid. What I love about this deodorant is that it goes well with all of the fun little spring/summer outfits that I’m packing — and won’t rub off on my clothes during the day! I’m planning on bringing it to Arizona with me next week where it’s supposed to be in the 90’s all week — most likely I’ll be putting it on multiple times a day! It has two times the sweat protection vs. an ordinary antiperspirant, making fashion sacrifices a thing of the past.

Spring Break Fashion Trends 2017

My Spring Break Packing List

Want to know what I’m bringing with me next week? Here’s what’s sitting in my suitcase!

  • 1 Flat Pair of Sandals
  • 1 Pair of Wedges
  • 1 Pair of Closed Toed Comfy Flats
  • 2 Pairs of Denim Shorts
  • 3 Lightweight Dresses
  • 3 Tops
  • 1 Lightweight Sweater
  • 1 Skirt
  • 1 Pair of White Jeans
  • 2 Pairs of Yoga Pants
  • 1 Crossbody Bag
  • 1 Clutch
  • 1 Gym Top/Sports Bra
  • 2 Sets of Pajamas
  • 2 Swimsuits
  • 1 Coverup
  • Toiletry Pouch
  • Underwear (obviously!)
  • DSLR Camera
  • Laptop 
  • Medicine
  • Book for the Flight

+ I’m wearing a jacket, cropped denim, t-shirt, sneakers and hat to the airport. I’m also having Rent the Runway ship a top and 2 dresses to my hotel, freeing up some space in the carry on!


How do you fit it all in a carry on?

Thank you to Secret for partnering with me for today’s post!

Photos by Anna Meyer. Thank you to The Apollo for letting us shoot on your rooftop!

Leave a Comment


  1. Meaghan Gonzalez wrote:

    First off, this place you took your photos in is amazing!! I’m like you in that I prefer to take a carry on over a checked bag these days. I find I usually have everything I need instead of loads of extras. I like your idea of ready to go toiletries at all times! I love your outfit too!!

    Meaghan xx

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  2. Sarah wrote:

    You’re headed to my neck of the woods (Charlottesville)! Have the best time – and let me know if you need any food/things to do recommendations!

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  3. Dana Mannarino wrote:

    I have two quick trips in May and June so these tips are SO helpful! I need to try out that rolling method!

    Pink Champagne Problems

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  4. Julie wrote:

    Oh my goodness I need to try this next time! I always have to bring an extra bag haha. Thanks for sharing.
    Julie *

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  5. Julie wrote:

    have fun in arizona! it’s hot here now, but not as awful as it’s going to be come summer!

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  6. Wow, you fit so much in your carry-on! I feel like I constantly need these tips…always trying to pack too much!!!

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  7. Anh Thu Le wrote:

    wow, you fit so much in a carry on! that’s so impressive. have fun on spring break! and the roll tehnique truly works 🙂

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  8. You are an awesome packer! I need to start trying the roll method!

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  9. Mary Gui wrote:

    my downfall is always the shoes! it’s so hard to limit the number of shoes I bring!

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  10. Jenny wrote:

    These are amazing tips! I really need to do the roll method next vacation.

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  11. Ashley wrote:

    Amazing tips! I need to get better at packing…I always tend to overpack!

    Posted 4.20.17 Reply
  12. Christina S wrote:

    I am a carry on only packer even for long trips, so this is very helpful! A note about the 21″ carry on: some European airlines will cap you at 19″ or 20″, so make sure to consider that if you’re heading across the pond a lot.

    Posted 4.21.17 Reply
  13. Brittany Daoud wrote:

    Great tips! I always try to just use a carry-on! I actually prefer backpacking just because it’s easier to get up and go and walk through crowds with a backpack, but for vacations that are more for relaxing, I definitely do some of these things (rolling and pre-packing toiletries!)

    Posted 4.21.17 Reply