Life, Marriage, Q&As, Travel

How To Pack for Two in a Carry-On

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How to pack for two in a carry-on. Tips for dealing with TSA, knowing what to pack, and taking only what you really need.

These days, it is so hard to get through the airport, Mikey and I have just resorted to one carry on (for the both of us) and one backpack (for essentials we might need on the flight).  We used to travel with a regular sized bag or two carry ons for any trip, but these days, with the proper equipment, you can totally pack for a long weekend in a carry on.  Today I am going to share how I pack us both into one suitcase that allows us to travel light, never forget anything and make sure we have all of our basic needs covered. It is completely possible to pack for two in a carry-on if you know how!

(Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase anything through them, there is no extra cost to you.  I simply make a small commission from the sale which allows me to keep this site up and running.  Thank you for supporting To Eat, Drink & Be Married!)

Remember, unless you’re going to some remote island, there are supermarkets or convenience stores wherever you are traveling to, so if you do happen to forget something, you can pick one up at your destination (you may even be able to find it at the airport or your hotel gift shop).  Whatever you do, don’t panic if you forgot something.  It is totally alright, and very likely replaceable.

So let’s get to it! First of all, buy a double sided suitcase.  And the hard shell type, not fabric.  In my experience, these hold so much more than the fabric kind.  Also, if possible, buy the expandable kind. Below you’ll see my favorite kind.  If you take a look at it, one side of it has a strap to hold everything in, and the other side has a mesh.  That is awesome to keep things organized and in place and make it easy to access anything that they may ask you to open when going through security.  It’s also expandable which is an awesome plus when you bring some souvenirs on your way home! I love the blue shell on this one, but if you click through, you’ll see it comes in a bunch of different colors. 🙂

Next, determine what kind of clothes you want to take, and what.  For example, for our latest trip to D.C., Mikey and I each took a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts.  My shorts were white and his were gray (what matches best with all our clothes!).  From there, we decided we were going to need 3-4 tops, plus what we were flying with.  I like to travel with light, short sleeve or sleeveless blouses and then carry a sweater with me in case it gets cool, instead of wearing a long sleeve blouse and sweating if it is too hot.  Here are a few photos from our trip:

How to pack for two in a carry-on. Tips for dealing with TSA, knowing what to pack, and taking only what you really need. How to pack for two in a carry-on. Tips for dealing with TSA, knowing what to pack, and taking only what you really need. How to pack for two in a carry-on. Tips for dealing with TSA, knowing what to pack, and taking only what you really need. How to pack for two in a carry-on. Tips for dealing with TSA, knowing what to pack, and taking only what you really need.

On our first day, I wore exactly what I traveled with all day.  I wore cropped boyfriend jeans with a short sleeve top and packed a light sweater with me since the airport tends to get cold.  I also wore my favorite travel sneakers, Keds by Kate Spade. Here’s a picture of them:

How to pack for two in a carry-on. Tips for dealing with TSA, knowing what to pack, and taking only what you really need.

They are light, comfortable and great for walking! Mikey wore his jeans and a polo for the day and I also packed him a light jacket for the day in case he needed it.  We both wore our sneakers to fly as well.  By wearing our jeans and sneakers to fly, we saved a lot of space in the luggage for other things.  When we landed, we dropped our stuff off at the hotel and headed out.  We ended up spending the whole day in that outfit. Check out these Kate Spade sneakers on Amazon! SO cute!  There are so many prints and patters to choose from.

For the other 3 days, I packed 2 t-shirts and 2 polos for Mikey and 3 blouses and 1 Vineyard Vines long sleeve tee for the rest of the day.  Those Vineyard Vines tees are the best for traveling since they are light and warm, but very thin so you’re never really too hot.  They are my favorite for flying. You can get one on Amazon here!  They are a bit pricey, but the quality is amazing and they are so comfortable!

For shoes, I usually pack a pair of sandals or flats for myself (depending on what our destination is) and flip flops or Sperry’s for Mikey.  The shoes we pack are the smallest/thinnest we have so they don’t occupy a lot of space.  On top of that, I pack our essentials like underwear, pajamas, socks, belts and the like.  If I pack any extra jewelry, I keep that in my backpack with me in case we are asked to check our luggage when we arrive at the airport.

How to pack for two in a carry-on. Tips for dealing with TSA, knowing what to pack, and taking only what you really need.

I have also gone through an array of bathroom bags to discover which is the perfect type for the suitcase (takes up minimal space, has lots of compartments, etc.) and have found that my number one favorite, is the type that hangs up later in a bathroom. It is so simple to carry around, has three large zipper compartments, and is really practical when you arrive at the hotel.  My original is from Target, but I just recently broke the zipper, so I am in search for a new one!  Here are a few contenders I found on Amazon!

Space saving tips and tricks I use quite often:

  • Roll up your belt and tuck them into one shoe, then stuff your socks into the other.
  • Use this little pocket to store undies and pajamas for easy storage, quick packing and a perfect place to bring back dirty laundry!
  • Even though you are going to put your toiletries in a toiletry bag, Ziploc the ones that carry liquids.  Sometimes bottles explode during the flight and spew shampoo EVERYWHERE. I may or may not have have learned that from experience.
  • Always pack a few more plastic baggies in case you need some for the way back, or buy anything that needs to be transported back safely.
  • Always pack an extra pair of shoes, even if it is just a one day trip.  I have been caught in the rain or snow more than once on a trip which ended up with soaked shoes and no replacement.  Not fun! Make sure whatever shoes you pack are a neutral color that can be worn with any of your outfits.
  • Speaking about neutral… go with neutral colored clothing as well.  Let your purse, accessories or hair ribbon change the colors of your outfits.  The more neutral you go, the less you can pack!

How to pack for two in a carry-on. Tips for dealing with TSA, knowing what to pack, and taking only what you really need.

And now for the backpack…

I mentioned above that in it, I carry my jewelry.  I also pack my computer or iPad and chargers.  Other than that, my backpack goes fairly empty.  Maybe I’ll pack some granola bars or snacks, but basically my goal is to leave it as empty as possible so I can have space to bring my souvenirs back.  Sometimes, if my souvenir is larger than the backpack, I will end up filling my backpack with dirty laundry and then putting the souvenir in the luggage.  My Vera Bradley and Kipling backpacks are favorites for traveling! Both light and easy to carry or hang on a suitcase as well as very spacious! The Vera Bradley ones usually have really feminine prints, so good luck getting your guy to carry it around! 😉 For that reason I have a neutral Kipling backpack that my husband totes around with no problem! haha

Well, there you have it! These are my biggest tips for packing.  I know it varies with location and weather, but for a basic spring, summer or fall trip, this is perfect.  If it is beginning to get chilly where you are going, just carry a coat with you and replace that pair of shorts with an extra pair of jeans.  You can do so much with a simple wardrobe on a trip.  Don’t go crazy.  Remember when you travel, you are going to look back at pictures and think of the memories, not the clothing you took and what you were wearing.  Over packing is annoying and difficult to deal with.  Take the basics and hit the road.  Enjoy your vacation!

17 thoughts on “How To Pack for Two in a Carry-On

    1. Yep, neutral clothes are the way to go! Don’t have to think about anything in the morning and we can get right out and start exploring! Thanks 🙂

    1. Yess! That’s one of the main reasons I try to always keep to one carry-on…maaaaybe two if our stay is more than a weekend long. I never want to have to claim bags. It takes time away from my vacation!

    1. You can do it! I used to be the same way. But after lugging way too much stuff on our honeymoon, I knew we had to figure something else out! I’m still learning!

  1. I think this post is great if you have a partner that will compromise when packing. My husband would never let me tell him how many shorts/shirts he can carry… So if I want any of my stuff to come on a holiday with us, I need my own bag haha! I love the packing tips though so will keep them in mind for future use ?

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