Carry-On Only Travel Tips and Tricks to Avoid Stress

by Jillian Zhang / Nov 23, 2021

If you’ve ever traveled by plane, you’re likely familiar with the struggle of over-packing and having to carry several heavy bags while running through the airport, only to end up using less than half of what you brought with you. You swear that next time, you’ll pack light -- but it never seems to work out.

Enter: carry-on only travel. We’ve put together our best tips and tricks so you can pack efficiently for your next destination, near or far.


midi maestra in peony, carry-on only travel

What is Carry-on Only Travel?

Carry-on only travel is exactly what it sounds like: traveling for vacation or another trip with only the luggage or bags that you’re allowed to carry with you onto a plane. Typically, this means packing within your single carry-on bag and personal item, which fit in overhead bins and/or under the seat in front of you. Carry-on travel is quite a different experience for those who are used to checking their luggage, which provides more room but also has a 50 pound weight restriction.

What Are the Airline’s carry-on restrictions?

Every airline has similar carry-on restrictions. Most bags should not exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches / 56 x 36 x 23 centimeters and need to fit in the overhead bins or under your seat. You’re also allowed one “personal item”, which is a smaller bag, such as a purse or laptop bag. For a beautiful and spacious bag that can sit under the seat in front of you, our Maestra is the perfect personal item to carry-onboard your flight when you’re trying to pack light.

The Lunettes Case and Passport Holder

How to Pack for Carry-on Only Travel: 8 Tips

1. Pick the right carry-on bag

Make sure your carry-on bag meets all the restrictions of the airline you’re traveling with. Ideally, choose a bag that is of high quality and will last through the wear and tear of transportation.

  • Travel Handbag:
Bring a travel handbag. Senreve offers a large selection of backpacks and totes that qualify for both carry-on bags and personal items. Each bag also has up to 9 compartments to fit everything from your laptop, a change of clothes, wallet, and keys so your carry-on bag can fit everything else you need for your trip.
  • Small suitcase: 

Most carry-on bags are small suitcases. All popular suitcase brands, such as Away, Paravel, and Rimowa, have small suitcases designed to fit in overhead bins, so you’ll never have to measure them yourself.

    2. Pack clothes for a week

    Make sure you’re packing clothes that make sense for the weather and activities you’ll be doing for your trip. Up to a week of clothes is great, and if you’re traveling for longer periods of time, find a place to wash and dry your clothes for reuse.

    3. Bring clothes that can be layered

    The most important aspect of carry-on travel is to avoid overpacking. Bring clothes that work with your whole wardrobe, and that can be layered and switched around for different occasions to minimize the weight. A long sleeved shirt is a great basic that can be worn by itself, as a coverup, or under a heavier jacket.

    4. Choose the right toiletries

    Successful carry-on only travel means packing a good selection of solid toiletries. For carry-on toiletries, there is a weight limit of 3.4 oz. That means, keep your full sized shampoo and face wash at home. Since the goal is to pack light, keep just the essentials. A small face wash, lotion, tooth brush, and toothpaste are all you need for a carry-on only travel trip. You can easily fit these into a smaller bag, like Senreve’s Mini Maestra, as well as your wallet, keys, small tablet, and more. A small travel towel is also helpful just in case you need to clean up in a pinch.

    5. Be selective about footwear

    Make sure your footwear encompasses all the activities you plan to do. A summer sandal would be great for walking around when it’s warm outside, and a fuzzy slipper makes sense for travel that is indoors. But you may also want to consider bringing sneakers for exercise or a nice pair of dress shoes if you will be attending anything more formal. 

    6. Use compression bags or packing cubes

    One of the not-so best kept secrets to packing light is packing cubes. These are easily purchasable from any big retailer (Nordstrom, Amazon, Target), and come in different sizes depending on what you’d like to store in them. Normally, shoes, clothes, accessories, and tech gadgets all get their own separate packing cubes so that it is easier to find what you need.

    7. Roll instead of fold

    Another great space saving solution is to roll your clothes instead of folding. Rolling your items keeps them as compact as possible, so you can fit even more into your small bag or packing cubes.

    8. Wear what you can during check-in

    The last thing to keep in mind with carry-on only travel, is to keep your check-in outfit comfortable and chic. Comfortable shoes that are easy to slip on and off, non-restrictive pants, and a comfortable sweater in case the plane is chilly.



    Why do people do this? 

    • The fewer bags you have, the less likely you are to lose one or have one stolen.

    When you have fewer bags, you’re forced to keep things more organized. You’re also able to carry everything by yourself, meaning the chances of losing a bag or having it stolen are lower.


    • Easier onward travel by bus, taxi or train.

    When you’re able to carry everything in your own two hands, traveling to and from the airport is much easier. You won’t need to make multiple trips back and forth from the bus, taxi, train, or car, and can carry everything you need without requiring assistance. You also won’t need to wait for your checked luggage to come down the baggage carousel (which is often a significant wait time after you’ve finally stepped off the plane) and can easily continue on your trip.


    • Packing and unpacking are less of a drama.

    The worst part of vacation and travel is always having to dedicate the time to packing and unpacking your giant check-in suitcase. With carry-on bags, you can easily pick and choose the essentials you’ll need for travel. If you use packing cubes, it is even easier and more stress-free to pack and unpack your bag.


    We all want to dedicate our vacation as a break from the stress of everyday life. When you pack just a carry-on bag, you no longer need to stress about the outfit you’ll need to wear or what purse you’ll need to bring to go sightseeing. Our Aria Belt Bag will fit in any carry-on luggage easily, and the belt is removable for an easy-to-store option. 


    • Lighter bags are easier on your body.

    Carrying a lighter bag also reduces the tension put on your body. They’re better for posture, and overall long term health, so you don’t need to strain yourself carrying your 50 pound check-in bag.


    Travel in style and comfort with Senreve

    For your next trip, consider carry-on only travel bags for a stress-free experience. The size of your travel pack can make a huge difference in your experience. Luckily, Senreve has the perfect bags to pack into your carry-on luggage or as your personal item. From the Doctor Bag to the Mini Armonica, there’s a bag for every type of traveller.