How to Pack Carry-On Only in the Winter
February 12, 2019
By Erica Hayton

Traveling carry-on only has become a bit of a trend.

Between the rising cost of flight “extras” like checked bags or the fear that the airline might misplace belongings, carry-on-only travel has a number of perks.

But packing everything you want to bring on vacation into a 9 in. x 14 in. x 22 in. bag is hard. Add thick winter clothing and it can seem nearly impossible.

Packing carry-on only when headed to a snowy destination takes some planning, but it can be done.

Here’s how.

Create a packing list for your carry-on

It’s easy to overpack when you have no idea what you’re packing. If you find yourself just pulling items from your closet, you’re probably bringing things you won’t actually need.

Before you start packing, create a list of what you’ll need for your trip. Plan your outfits ahead of time and look for opportunities to wear an item more than once. You should also plan outfits with layers, rather than bulky sweaters or thick pants.

Don’t forget thick socks and hatsboth of which prevent body heat from escaping. Minimize wasted space in your carry-on by stuffing these smaller items into shoes or open spaces.

Maximize your personal bag

Most airlines will give you a carry-on bag as well as a personal bag to bring on your flight. Don’t waste this extra space by just bringing a small purse.

Grab a backpack or a tote bag for some additional space to work with. While you’ll want your personal item to hold any electronics, books, or other items you might need on the plane, you can also use it to pack some things that may not fit in your carry-on.

Always be sure to check your airline rules before relying on this space. Different airlines will have different rules for personal bags.

Wear your heaviest clothes

Don’t waste precious space in your carry-on bag trying to fit boots or a coat. Instead, wear them while you travel.

You can also wear layers on the plane for some additional space in your bag. If you want to bring a bulky sweater and scarf, wear them rather than pack them.

Once you board, you can usually stuff your heavy jacket into an overhead compartment, or use it as a blanket to stay warm during the flight.

Use space-saving bags

Compression bags squeeze all the extra air out of your clothes to minimize the amount of space being used especially when packing bulky coats and sweaters.

You can also use travel cubes or bags, which help keep you organized while also saving some space. Like compression bags, travel cubes minimize air and wasted space when packing. However, they don’t flatten clothes in the same way compression bags do.

Make sure to purchase compression bags that you can roll the air out of, rather than using a vacuum, so you don’t have any trouble repacking for your return.

Carry-on-only travel isn’t impossible in the winterbut it does require a bit of additional planning. With a solid packing list, smart attire while traveling, and some help from space-saving bags, it can be done.