Packing in Carry-Ons Only Even with Kids

We Nancy and her kids are taking a 2 week trip in carry-on luggage only. Think it’s impossible?  Tricia can’t pack for a weekend in anything less than a large suitcase.  But Krista Paul, VP Content Marketing at eBags, explains tips and tricks to get the most out of carry-on luggage. You will be surprised at how much you can actually take using these tricks.

Nancy and her kids are packing their clothing and Anna’s big blanket using the eBags Packing Cubes. Below you can see all their clothes packed up as well as Anna’s blanket and the bags they are taking with them. Nancy is in purple, Alex is in blue and Anna is in green (one for her and one for her blanket).  Then check out the packing tips below.

All our clothes and one big blanket
Anna’s big blanket packed in the eBags Small Packing Cube
The bags we will carry–nothing else!

Other Great Travel Finds

I will be using the SHOLDIT and the Limber Stretch to secure things like passports, credit cards and phones.  Pick Pockets won’t know where to find our valuables!

NOTE:  I said that one version SHOLDIT baby carrier–OOPS.  It is a nursing scarf and has the pocket I like so much.

Using the Shouldit for my credit cards and passport
Using the Shouldit for my credit cards and passport
Not My Body! But Using Limber Stretch
Not My Body! But Using Limber Stretch

Travel Suggestions from Nancy and Krista


  • Each passenger gets 1 carry on and one personal item (and one bag for toiletries) but maybe you don’t need them
  • Decide if you need roll on or backpack
    • If you have to walk, think backpack
    • Roll on for kids (consider one with wheels that go all ways so they can push it instead of pull it) if you don’t need to walk
    • If you have a baby, you can wear a backpack and a baby carrier/sling
  • Make sure you measure the bags to ensure they will meet airline requirements (some airlines are more stringent)
  • Use your day bag as your personal item for the cabin and include:
    • Things to do, snacks, sweater or shawl (it’s cold on a plane)
    • Change of clothes for small children
    • Sanitizing wipes or spray
    • Electronics for easy access
    • Important documents


  • Pile everything you are going to take and take things out (get really critical)
  • If you have time, wear what you are going to take and see how it works (if you are going for a week, wear your items for a week and see if you actually wear it all).
  • Do a rehearsal run of packing and carrying/wheeling your luggage. If you have kids, involve them. Have them carry their bags or if they are small, practice holding their hands with your luggage
  • Keep jewelry simple
  • Find out if you can do laundry at your destination or bring a sink plug and a rope so you can wash things in your hotel room with a bar of detergent like Fels Naptha (no liquids)
  • Pack clothes that wash easily and dry quickly. If not, you might want to change clothes.
  • Americans wash clothes way more than people do in other countries. Wash only the important parts (stains and private areas).
  • Think Layers not bulky sweaters/jackets (if it’s a cold destination bring thermals).


  • Invest in the little sizes or the bottles you can transfer your creams and shampoos to (and label those).
  • Remember the 3-1-1 rule
  • Bring meds you need in bottles with prescription.
  • Limit makeup.
  • Bring makeup remover wipes instead of a liquid (you can pack it in your carry on instead of in the 3-1-1 bag

Packing Techniques

  • Wear your heaviest shoes and clothes on the plane
  • Rolling? /Cubes?


  • Use electronics that do double duty (camera/phone; reader/video player/game console)
  • Pack one electronic per person
  • Bring plugs/converters for your destination plus a power strip (most destinations never have enough outlets)

Consider shipping to your destination or buying things there

  • Ship diapers from Amazon Prime to your destination
  • Make a run to the store when you get there

Other things

  • Foldable Water Bottles
  • TSA Locks so they can get in your bag without ruining your lock


Read about Extreme Packing: One Bag for a Family of 4 for 21 Days in Europe

Their guidelines:

  • One, at most two, changes of clothing
  • Basic hygiene items
  • One (small) comfort item per child
  • One electronic device


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