How To Pack A Carry-On Fast

Whether a last-minute trip popped up on your schedule or you’re just a chronic packing procrastinator, there’s something to be said for packing in a flash. The last thing anyone wants is to miss a flight because they spent too much time at home frantically rushing to fit everything into their bag. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple hacks to streamline your packing routine and get yourself out the door - and on to adventure - as quickly as possible.

How to Pack Carry On Bag Quickly

Pre-pack your toiletry bag.

Keep your toiletry bag packed at all times with everything you’ll need, even when there’s not a trip on your immediate horizon. This will save you the hassle of going through your toiletries at the last minute deciding what to take, hoping you don’t forget anything, and attempting to transfer them into tiny bottles without making a mess. You can buy travel-size versions of your favorite full size products, or you can build up your travel-size collection over time by stocking up samples and hotel shampoo whenever you’re able. However you get them, make sure to put those mini products directly into your bag as soon as you take them home.

Packing Quickly: Pre-Pack Toiletry Kit

Keep a routine packing list.

Keep a list in your phone of the essentials you need on most trips - even things that seem obvious, like socks - so you don’t have to waste any mental energy considering what you have to bring. If there’s something you frequently forget, like your toothbrush or a charger, make sure it’s at the very top of the list!


Get multiples of the little things.

Just like having a separate of toiletries for travel makes life easier, duplicates of other small essentials can be game changing. An extra phone charger that always lives in your carry-on (the Bento Bag’s tech organization pouch really comes in handy here) or even a spare set of house keys can be worth their weight in gold, because they’ll make it so much easier to pack on autopilot. You won’t have to worry about forgetting them, or constantly switching them pack and forth from your luggage to your home between trips.


Have a place for everything.

Designate a spot in your carry-on for each category of items you usually pack. If you know your shoes always go in the drawstring pouch under your sweaters, and that your chargers are always in the front pocket of your bag, you’ll be able to quickly put things where they go without worrying about whether they’ll fit. You’ll also be able to spot gaps for anything you forgot in an instant.

How to Pack a Carry On Fast

Be strategic about your wardrobe.

Two key moves will save the day when packing clothes quickly: sticking to a cohesive color palette and packing pieces that look great for both day and night. Choose two or three colors that match and only pack clothes that fit this color scheme. You’ll look polished and will avoid packing clothes you won’t end up wearing. Another power move you’ll want to try is packing clothes that can transition between work, evenings, and casual days off. This can help stave off the overpacking tendencies that most of us have when we’re in a hurry.


The more often you pack, the easier it gets. When you build simple habits around the process, you’ll be prepping for trips on autopilot before you know it. The faster you pack, the more freedom you’ll have to join in on last-minute adventures - so let’s get going!

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