26 Space Wasters You Should Leave Out of Your Carry-on

Packing can be stressful, especially trying to fit everything into your carry-on. The key to a hassle-free journey lies in what you leave out of your bag. Many people tend to overpack, filling their bags with unnecessary items and wasting valuable space. Knowing what to leave behind can make your next trip far more comfortable and hassle-free.

Limit Your Shoes

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Shoes are bulky and can quickly eat up space in your carry-on. Stick to two pairs: one for everyday wear and one for special occasions or exercise. Wear the bulkier pair during travel to save room. Consider versatile shoes that can serve multiple purposes, like comfortable walking shoes that are also suitable for dining out.

Avoid Excessive Electronics

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Carrying too many gadgets can be a hassle. Choose one or two multi-functional devices. Your smartphone can serve as a camera, GPS, and music player. A tablet with a keyboard can replace a laptop for light work tasks. This minimizes your tech load and reduces the need for multiple chargers and cables.

Ditch the Paperwork

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Travel documents, maps, and guidebooks can be stored digitally. Keep electronic copies on your phone or tablet. This not only saves space but also helps keep you organized. Use apps like Google Maps offline and download travel guides to have all the information you need at your fingertips minus the bulk.

Rethink Your Clothing Choices

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Avoid packing too many clothes. Instead, plan outfits you can mix and match. Rolling your clothes can also save space and reduce wrinkles. Pack lightweight fabrics that dry quickly and consider layering to adapt to different weather conditions.

Skip the Extra Snacks

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Airports and destinations usually offer plenty of food options. To free up space, bring only one or two favorites. Stick to non-perishable, compact options like nuts or dried fruit that curb your hunger without taking up too much room.

Don’t Overdo the Accessories

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Hats, scarves, and belts can quickly turn bulky. Choose a few versatile accessories that can complement multiple outfits. Keep it simple and practical. Streamline your packing by picking items that add style without taking up too much space.

Minimize Workout Gear

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Workout clothes and shoes can fill up your carry-on. Opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics that are easy to wash and dry. If possible, wear your workout shoes during travel. This saves space in your bag and ensures you’re ready for exercise as soon as you arrive.

Streamline Your Hair Tools

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Hairdryers and styling tools can take up a lot of room. Most hotels provide hairdryers, so consider leaving yours at home. If you must bring your own, choose compact, multi-functional versions. Look for travel-sized hair tools with multiple settings and functions.

Keep Souvenirs Small

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Souvenirs can quickly fill your bag. Consider buying items like postcards, magnets, or jewelry that only occupy a little space. If you want to buy more oversized items, shipping them home instead of carrying them might save you hassle. This approach ensures you can bring back memories without the bulk.

Reduce the Makeup Bag

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Bring only your makeup essentials and choose multi-purpose products. For example, a tinted moisturizer can replace the foundation. Use sample sizes of your favorites to save space, and consider a small makeup palette for multiple looks. This way, you can maintain your beauty routine without overloading your carry-on.

Limit Jewelry

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Jewelry can be delicate and take up space if not packed carefully. Bring only a few key pieces that can match multiple outfits. Use a small pouch to keep them organized and safe.

Use Packing Cubes

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Packing cubes can help you organize your items and maximize space. Group similar items together before compressing them. This method makes it easier to find what you need without unpacking everything.

Avoid Bulky Jackets

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Instead of a bulky coat, pack layers that you can add or remove as needed. Lightweight, packable jackets are a great alternative. You can also wear your heaviest layer on the plane to save space.

Forget About Extra Bags

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Extra bags can be tempting, but they take up valuable space. Instead, use a lightweight, foldable tote that can double as a day bag.

Condense Your Medications

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If you need to bring medications, use a pill organizer instead of multiple bottles. Label each compartment clearly. This will save space and keep your medications easily accessible.

Opt for Travel-Sized Games

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Bringing entertainment is important, but full-sized board games or puzzles are not exactly carry-on friendly. Choose travel-sized versions or download games on your device.

Compression Bags Are Your Friends

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Compression bags can help shrink bulky items like sweaters and jackets. Squeeze out the air to make these items take up less space. They’re great for maximizing space in your carry-on.

Leave the Heavy Books at Home

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Books can take up a lot of space and add unnecessary weight. Instead, opt for an e-reader or download books to your tablet or phone. You’ll have more room and a lighter bag. Many public libraries offer free digital lending options if cost is an issue.

Skip the Full-Sized Toiletries

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Full-sized shampoo bottles, conditioner, and lotion take up too much space. Transfer your favorite products into travel-sized containers. Many stores sell empty travel bottles you can fill up. You can also purchase solid toiletries, like shampoo bars, which are compact and spill-proof.

Pack Multi-Use Items

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Look for items that serve more than one purpose. For example, a sarong can be used as a beach towel, a blanket, and even a dress. Multi-use items can help you pack less and save space.

Carry Only Essential Travel Guides

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Travel guides can be bulky. Tear out the relevant pages or download guides to your device. You’ll have the information you need without the extra weight.

Lighten Up Your First Aid Kit

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Taking a full first aid kit may be excessive. Pack a small kit with just the essentials, such as band-aids, pain relievers, and antiseptic wipes. You can always buy additional items if needed.

Keep Tech Accessories Minimal

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Chargers, cables, and adapters can become a tangled mess. Bring only necessary accessories and use cable organizers to keep them tidy. Consider universal chargers that work with multiple devices.

Choose Lightweight Fabrics

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Heavy fabrics take up more space and can weigh you down. Opt for lightweight, wrinkle-resistant fabrics you can layer. These are easier to pack and keep your carry-on light.

Pack Reusable Items

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Reusable items like water bottles and shopping bags can save space and reduce waste. Choose collapsible versions that are easy to pack. They’re convenient and eco-friendly.

Plan Ahead

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Think about your itinerary and pack accordingly. Avoid the temptation to bring items “just in case.” Instead, stick to what you know you’ll need and use.

About the author
Lori Meek

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