Learn how-to pack like a pro

Love to travel but dislike packing or looking for tips to help you pack a carry-on your next adventure? Look no further, I am sharing some of my tips to help you pack like a pro and enjoy your vacation. Traveling is one activity that you spend money on that makes you richer and I dare say enlightened.

Over the last 3 years I have been enjoying making city escapes and adventures to Europe and further afield. I have had to learn how to survive with just a carry-on to pack all my essentials and valuables. I know people who pack the house including the kitchen sink but still don’t have the essentials required at the destination. We are here to help you change that and be more confident with your packing.

pack like a pro

Learn how-to pack like a pro

When it comes to packing for a trip, I consider myself a minimalist. I always pack the essentials and nothing else because I enjoy traveling light and it saves me money. Often I travel on budget airlines, and if you’re familiar with them you will know they come with ‘hidden’ costs. The majority of my flights to Europe are £9.99 return, check in at airport is £15, checked luggage is £40, priority boarding is £4.99+. As you can see, it can add up pretty quickly you’re better off on a luxury airline and get most of these included. But since I am a sucker for a bargain, here is how I pack like a pro and keep costs down.

Simple outfits

When it comes to pack my clothing, I am all about simplicity and longevity. I like coordinating my outfits in such a way that I can wear them for longer. Often I pack jeans, jeggings and a dress or shorts depending on the weather. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a four-day vacation I pack only two jeans to alternate on my trip. A dress or shorts if its warmer weather and a jacket or coat which I can pair with all items. I have one rule which saves me a lot of bother, what I wear on departure is what I will wear on return.

howto pack like a pro

Carry-on luggage

Packing wisely is something that I learnt from experience but also from other travelers who shared their secrets. The majority of my travels I only pack a carry-on except when traveling with ageing parents where I sometimes need more. In most cases if I need to pack more than a carry-on, with budget airlines I often purchase priority boarding which allows me an extra bag. With a *carry-on I pack the essentials as mentioned above, I use a few tips that are space-saving like:

  • Roll all my clothes instead of folding them.
  • I pack smaller gadgets in my socks inside a second pair of shoes
  • Pack a small crossover bag with important documentation and wear it on me.
  • Use a shower cap for my non-liquid makeup
  • Wear bulky things instead of packing them.

Related: Why I only travel with a carry-on

Plan your trip ahead

This is something I myself am still working on, normally I have a general idea of my destination but nothing else. If I am planning a Winter city escape, I am thinking spending more time indoors and less time outdoors. Often I will opt to enter popular attractions as opposed to admiring them from the outside. If I am planning a Spring city escape I want a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities and pack accordingly. When you plan your trip it helps with packing the right items, saves space and money.

When it comes to planning how I will be navigating the city, Rome2Rio app is pretty good and so is über. If a lot of walking will be needed I pack the right footwear, either trainers, canvas or boots.

Share responsibilities

If you’re not traveling alone its important to share responsibilities. Instead of both packing chargers and toiletries, one can do that and create space for the other to pack essentials. I often travel alone so I am used to ensuring I have packed everything and created a packing list. Traveling with my folks of late has made me double check I pack most things so they have space for souvenirs and other bits.

Pack multi use products

Traveling on a plane abroad comes with liquid restrictions which can be a pain. I always love using the products I use at home abroad too but I don’t want to purchase them abroad. My solution has been *buying clear and empty containers where I repackage my favourite products. If you’re someone who has to always wash their hair then a shampoo and conditioner combo products are your friends. Others opt for dry shampoo which can be quite handy, I prefer lotions I can utilize as hand cream on the go.

There are so many tips out there sharing their secrets to packing like a pro. I know I check others out often to see if I can learn how-to pack like a pro even more. What other tips do you utilize when traveling with only a carry-on bag?

howto pack like a pro

Asterisked (*) links in this post are amazon affiliate links, any purchase made via these links allows me to make a small commission. Thank you


  1. Hayley
    April 25, 2018 / 9:19 pm

    I’m so bad at packing light! I have a couple of trips coming up that are hand luggage only, so this is really helpful!

    • April 26, 2018 / 4:35 pm

      That was me a few years back but after the many hand luggage only trips i have learned and mastered the minimalist packing

  2. kim@hungryhealthygirl
    April 20, 2018 / 2:42 am

    This is super helpful! I have to admit, I hate packing and tend to want to bring everything. Will totally follow your tips next time I’m traveling.

  3. MattieLacey-Davidson
    April 17, 2018 / 2:23 am

    I am useless at packing so I’m loving these tips! I always take too much or too little x

  4. Lavanda Michelle
    April 16, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    I tend to over-pack so this was a really useful post! I think I should just bookmark this page. I can now tell what I do wrong. Thanks for sharing.

    • April 17, 2018 / 1:35 pm

      You’re most welcome, I used to over pack but not so much anymore.

  5. April 16, 2018 / 5:54 pm

    I am a pro at packing too, I used to be really bad at overpacking outfits and shoes but I have gotten so much better over the years and now I always get asked to help my friends pack

  6. Jennifer Gladwin
    April 16, 2018 / 11:55 am

    Really useful tips. I’m terrible at packing, I’m a complete overpacker!

  7. April 16, 2018 / 1:47 am

    I have to be the worst packer on the planet and I always over pack for everything. Great tips that I will eat using next time I’m going anywhere.

  8. Kara
    April 15, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    My hubby always comments that I pack too light, but we still don’t use everything we pack. I roll our clothes too

  9. Siobhan McLoughlin
    April 15, 2018 / 8:05 am

    Great tips! I am a notorious overpacker! More so with the kids stuff than my own haha! xxx

  10. John Milnes
    April 14, 2018 / 11:02 pm

    Because of the suit case I take is mega small, like the ones you need for EasyJet etc. It means I have to take too many bags.. grrrr. I wish I knew how to pack like a pro.

    Thanks for Sharing.

    John M

  11. Laura Dove
    April 14, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    I am terrible at packing!! I always over pack for every eventuality and we end up with enough to last a month!

  12. Angela Milnes
    April 14, 2018 / 3:14 am

    I’m not really good when it comes to packing and Glad that you share this tips I need these for our travels during this vacation

  13. Terri
    April 14, 2018 / 12:22 am

    These are good tips. I will need them soon!

  14. Kara Ferwerda
    April 13, 2018 / 11:58 pm

    Great tips! Packing light i really struggle with!

  15. Louise Senderowich
    April 13, 2018 / 10:21 pm

    Ah great tips I am terrible at packing especially for my kids as well! I must try and pack lighter this year! 😂

  16. Dana Brillante-Peller
    April 13, 2018 / 9:49 pm

    You always want to pack the essentials and be sure to pack early on because you just never know what might come up in life.

  17. Frankie jacklin
    April 14, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    I really need to start packing smarter I always pack too much and never actually wear half of it. I must try harder, thanks for the tips.

  18. Bryanna M
    April 13, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve been getting better and better at this since travelling more often, but it’s always nice to get more insight

  19. Angela Ricardo Bethea
    April 13, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    Great post!! These are some great advice on how to pack things before traveling. Having a lists of things is the most important.

  20. Jessica Taylor
    April 13, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    Unfortunately I am not a minimalist. I tend to overpack TREMENDOUSLY!

    • April 15, 2018 / 2:54 pm

      Oh dear, I just hope these tips were handy in a small way for your next vacation

  21. Melanie Williams
    April 13, 2018 / 3:13 pm

    Haha I so need this, I always no matter what over pack, so streamlining is something I need to do when packing x

  22. Mellissa Williams
    April 13, 2018 / 11:42 am

    I have to show this to my husband! He’s great at packing, but packs WAY too much!

  23. April 13, 2018 / 9:20 am

    I am normally in charge of packing and always pack more than needed and try to plan for every possibility (weather, illness, extra time away!). My fiance is responsible for packing his own things but sometimes assumes I have done it: last time he expected me to have packed his toothbrush but I hadn’t! I think I will try your idea of rolling clothes…

    • April 14, 2018 / 7:18 pm

      OMG, my OH did the same thing but thankfully I assumed he wouldn’t so I did pack without telling him and he ended up with some items for our trip.

  24. vian
    April 13, 2018 / 8:01 am

    I’m don’t travel that much but your tips are perfect, I also roll my clothes than folding them, but packing smaller gadgets in socks inside a second pair of shoes is really a great idea!

  25. Cecile Blaireau
    April 13, 2018 / 7:56 am

    Personally, I hate packing because I want to take it all! LOL. But you get better at it with time lol

  26. Alison Rost
    April 13, 2018 / 5:41 am

    It’s definitely important to learn how to pack light, otherwise, you’re going to have a difficult time especially if you’re going to different cities and riding trains/public transport with your luggage during your trip. I think this is a great guide!

  27. Hannah Marie
    April 13, 2018 / 5:17 am

    I am not really good with packing. Even when trips are planned ahead, I tend to pack the last minute.

  28. April 12, 2018 / 11:57 pm

    OK I most definitely need all these tips I really struggle to pack and always end up over packing or managing to forget something and I’m not sure which is worse.

  29. Hollie Burgess
    April 12, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    I’m a terrible packer! I pack too much every single time! Thanks for the great tips.

  30. Isabella Grey
    April 12, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    I’m a habitual over packer! I can be gone for 3 days have 2 uitcases full of stuff I MIGHT need. These are some great tips.

  31. April 12, 2018 / 7:09 pm

    I really need to listen to the simple outfits part since as much as I think I packed small, everything goes wrong when I arrive and I notice that I can’t even wear some of what I carried. The struggle is real I need to change.

  32. Battle Mum (BattleMum)
    April 12, 2018 / 5:03 pm

    When travelling alone I try pack as minimally as I can. However, I’m often travelling with my husband and son and in that case we try to book only 1 hold bag within Europe and 2 for long haul.

  33. April 12, 2018 / 1:38 pm

    I’ll keep this in mind when we travel this summer. I admit, I am a terrible packer. I always bring wayyy too much.

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