How To Pack A Carry On Like A Pro

This is the fourth in a series of blogs written by Hayley Babineau, a HC UConn blogger studying abroad in Florence. Check back for more of her adventures!


As spring break approaches I bet you are constantly finding yourself staring at your closet trying to figure out what to pack and how to fit it all. Whether you are driving to your destination and have limited space, don’t want to deal with checked luggage or are studying abroad and have to deal with the pesky budget airline size restrictions, hopefully these tips will help make your packing a little bit easier.


Warm Climates:

Traveling to a warmer destination is a little easier because the clothing for this weather tends to be thinner and smaller (that means more room for shoes!) Here’s what should be packed in a carry on for warm climates for a week:

  • 2-3 Neutral tank tops (layering or dressy tanks)
  • 2 t-shirts or light blouses
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 light cardigan or jean jacket
  • 2 sundresses (can also be used as a beach cover-up)
  • 1-2 rompers
  • 3 bathing suits
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 pair of nice sandals
  • 1 pair of wedges

For going out: You can reuse the neutral flowy tanks and pair them with shorts and sandals, or opt for the romper paired with wedges (all which can be used as day-time outfits too).

Cold Climates:

Packing a carry-on for colder climate locations can be a little trickier due to the thickness of the clothing, but don’t worry it is possible!

  • 2 pairs of jeans (one denim, one black)
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 2 neutral t-shirts
  • 2 layering tanks or dressy tanks
  • 2 neutral long sleeve shirts
  • 1 cardigan
  • 2-3 sweaters
  • 1 leather jacket
  • 1 heavier coat
  • 1 pair of walking shoes or shoe of choice
  • 1 pair of boots (fashion or weather-friendly)

Going Out: You can use the tanks and pair them with the leather jacket, jeans (or leggings) and boots.


  • If you pack clothes more on the neutral side you can use them with multiple other articles of clothing such as one tank top being paired with multiple cardigans or any type of shirt or tank being paired with one pair of denim shorts.
  • ROLL YOUR CLOTHES. Seriously, it will save you so much more room than folding them.
  • Always wear your thickest articles of clothing on the plane to leave more room in your carry-on.
  • Put your socks and underwear inside of shoes to save some more room.
  • After packing the clothes you want you can THEN choose what accessories you deem necessary (hats, shoes, sunglasses, etc…)
  • If you don’t wear it at home, you probably won’t wear it on vacation…skip it.
  • Try to mentally plan outfits in your head for each day so you don’t over pack too much.

If you follow these packing tips you and your carry on will be ready to go in no time.

Read more of Hayley's articles here!