One of the most daunting tasks ahead of an exciting getaway? Packing. Whether you dutifully make lists or fling clothes into your suitcase on the fly, the inevitable question is always whether or not to check a bag. Is it best to cram as much possible into a smaller bag? Or succumb to the pressure to just check it?

We’re always fans of traveling carry-on only. Inspirato’s vice president of brand strategy, Melanie Taylor, religiously avoids checking a bag.

Losing your personal items causes so much anxiety—it would ruin the trip. I believe if you just really think through what you need to bring, there’s never a need to check a bag.

Melanie TaylorVice President, Brand Strategy at Inspirato

For those willing to pack a little lighter, we’ve compiled some helpful reminders, tips, and a few luggage suggestions for your next packing endeavor. Happy travels!

What you definitely can’t bring


When the Uber to the airport’s four minutes away and you’re still scrambling to throw some last-minute additions into your bag, it can sometimes be hard to remember what exactly you can and can’t have in that overhead compartment.

Here are a few of the most commonly confiscated items in the security line:
• Liquids or aerosols over 3.4 ounces
• Scissors more than 4 inches long
• Knives of any kind
• Mashed produce like applesauce
• Straight razors
• Torch lighters for cigars

How to pack what you can bring

Now that you know what should probably be left at home, here’s how to best utilize all 22 x 14 x 9 inches of your carry-on.


Wear the bulk:
Taylor always recommends against packing big items like coats or outerwear.

“Pack by material—don’t bring, bulky sweaters with you unless you’re wearing them on the plane. And whatever you wear on the plane there, wear it on the flight home again.”


Packing cubes:
Though the highly organized among us have been using them for years, packing cubes are having a moment. They usually come in packs of four to seven of varying size, and help keep clothes separated by type and function. Plus, they can compress down.

Roll, don’t fold: This is an old trick, but it’s easy to forget in the flurry of packing—roll up clothes into neat bundles rather than folding them. Not only does this free up space, but it avoids the dreaded wrinkles and hard creases that come with folding.

3 great carry-on bags

Still not convinced to opt for the overhead compartment? These three trendy bags might change your mind.


For a weekend trip:
Away’s hard-shell luggage can easily be spotted at any major airport, but we think its canvas Weekender bag deserves its own shout out.. Boasting almost the same capacity as the cult-favorite Carry-On, the Weekender is easy to throw over a shoulder or into an overhead compartment. Leather options are also available.

(The Weekender, $245)


For a longer getaway:
This stylish carry-on bag from actress Shay Mitchell’s new luggage line, Béis, offers a sophisticated look and feel. But some of the features that set it apart are its cushioned, silicone grip and weight indicator; an indicator window will turn red after the bag reaches 50 pounds.

(Béis, $198)


For making a statement:
These wild bags from IT Luggage will turn heads in the TSA line. Available in a variety of patterns, styles, and colors, they’re fun, practical, and come with a 10-year warranty.

(IT Luggage, $54.99-69.99)

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