Last Updated on September 22, 2021
If you enjoy traveling to different places without a strict itinerary, you know full well the advantages of flying with a single carry-on bag. For one, you don’t have to worry about your suitcases getting lost. Sure, the airline industry employs the most advanced tracking technologies, but it doesn’t negate the fact that airlines still lose tens of millions of bags every year. Traveling with only a carry-on bag is also less troublesome. You’ll be out of the airport in half an hour or less after landing, and you can move about freely without hauling several bags from one place to the next.
Although traveling with a single carry-on bag is ideal, packing one can be challenging. This is even more so during the winter as you’ll need to bring bulkier items. If you’re a newbie to winter travel, you may be wondering if you can fit all of your essentials inside a medium-sized bag. If so, read on. This article will give you several pointers to maximize your bag space, pack more efficiently, and travel to the coldest places with only your carry-on luggage.
Invest in Thermal Clothes
Instead of bringing heavy jackets, you may want to consider packing thermal clothing so you can layer up instead. Apart from being significantly lighter, they’re more readily adaptable to changing weather conditions. That said, you should buy tights, crew neck long sleeve shirts, and other clothing staples with thermal features.
Thermal clothes are made of innovative fabrics that generate heat and keep you dry. Wear them underneath your outfit for the day to stay warm and comfy even if it’s freezing outdoors. They also double as lounge wear, so you can use them while relaxing in your place of accommodation.
Choose Clothing Pieces That Go Well Together
To travel light, you need to pack smart. Select clothing pieces that you can readily mix and match to create a new and fashionable ensemble, regardless of the combination. Instead of simply visualizing what you’re going to wear for each day of your trip, lay all of your clothing pieces out to more clearly see what you have to work with. Better yet, come up with different outfits and try them on to ensure that your tops, bottoms, coats, and other garments all complement each other.
You may also want to stick to neutral tones, such as black, off-white, white, navy, khaki, or charcoal for easy mixing and matching. If a favorite piece is so edgy that you can only wear it once, put it back in your drawer. Opt for items that you can use at least twice during your trip so that you get the most use out of them. To help make each of your outfits look a little more unique , pack a couple of lightweight scarves and other accessories that barely take up any space in your luggage.
Opt for a Packable Down Jacket
Make sure you have enough room in your carry-on bag for all your stuff by bringing a packable down jacket rather than a typically bulky one. As the name suggests, this type of jacket is readily packable as it can be compressed to fit a small space. This type of jacket may be lightweight, but it will surely keep you warm in places with cold temperatures.
If you don’t own one yet, invest in a goose down as it’s the lightest and warmest type of down jacket. They’re a bit more expensive than other kinds of jackets, but they’re well worth the cost. Opt for a black one as they look good for both casual and dressy occasions. Take note, however, that goose down jackets will stop warming you up if they get wet, and they can take a lot of time to dry. To address these issues, you may want to layer a rain jacket over it in case it rains.
Combine Different Packing Methods
Instead of choosing to either fold, roll, or pack your clothes in compression bags or cubes, do a mix of all three. That way, you get to experience the benefits of all these packing methods combined.
For any clothing pieces that are prone to wrinkling, try folding them and packing them vertically, Marie Kondo-style, so you can immediately see them when you open your luggage.
Another way to save luggage space is to roll your clothes and place them in packing cubes to compress and organize them. You can treat them like more flexible drawers since you can sort your belongings by category, all while protecting your items from moisture and dirt. Lastly, try to roll the rest of your items and fit them into the remaining gaps in your bag to ensure that you don’t waste even a bit of available space.
Pack a Single Scarf, a Hat, and a Pair of Gloves
Besides keeping your clothing pieces to a minimum, limit your winter essentials to only one scarf, one hat, and one pair of gloves. Make sure that these items visually match your coat or jacket so that you always appear put together, even if you keep wearing the same pieces. Although it’s slightly more expensive, opt for a wool hat instead of an acrylic one as it’s breathable, moisture-wicking, and water-resistant. More importantly, it feels soft on the skin while keeping you comfortable and toasty warm.
As for winter gloves, consider buying a pair of fingerless texting gloves with mitten covers. This type of gloves allows you to readily use your phone, take photos when needed, and cover up your hands if you need to warm them up. You may want to choose a pair made with fabric that ensures maximum thermal insulation, such as wool, fleece, and synthetics.
Ditch the Toiletries
The key to traveling light is leaving everything behind that will weigh you down and keeping only the items that you truly need. Although toiletries and personal hygiene products are must-haves, you don’t have to bring them on your trip. Most accommodations, including Airbnb rentals, provide complimentary bathroom products such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. If they’re not provided by your place of accommodation, you can always head to a local drugstore or supermarket to buy everything you need.
Do you always bring a hair straightener or dryer? If so, invest in compact hairdressing tools to save a lot of space. You may also want to learn different tips and tricks to help you style your hair without needing to bring such equipment with you.
Don Your Heaviest Items on Your Flight
Reserve your carry-on luggage for less bulky items so that you can pack more stuff into it. As for your jacket, thick sweater, heavy boots, and other similar space-consuming clothing items, consider wearing them to your destination. While the thought of spending an entire flight wearing a puffy jacket may not be appealing, you can try and get creative. For example, you can use your jacket as a pillow or blanket so you can stay comfortable throughout your flight. You can also squeeze your jacket on top of your luggage in the overhead bin.
Consider Doing the Laundry
You may not realize it, but there’s a perk to winter travel: you can wear your clothes several times without washing. Because you’ll hardly sweat during the day, you can air your garments out in the evenings to keep them wearable.
If you’re vacationing for more than a week, though, be sure to do your laundry once in a while. You can visit a nearby laundromat or wash your dirty clothes in the bathroom sink. As long as you budget some time to do the laundry, you can pack a minimal number of clothing items regardless of your length of travel.
Packing everything you need in a single carry-on bag for winter travel may seem impossible at first. The good news is that there are plenty of tricks you can use to pack light, such as investing in functional and space-saving clothing items. With a bit of planning and by being smart about your wardrobe choices, it’s possible to enjoy your winter adventures all while bringing just the bare necessities.