How to Pack All Travel Items in A Carry-On and Personal Item


Why choose carry-on and personal item instead of large suitcases?

We recommend traveling without gate check luggage because…

Carry on and personal item
  • You spend less time for check-in and luggage collection at the airport
  • Many airlines charge extra for gate check luggage. Your flight fee may not so cheap after all
  • You can minimize a risk to lose your belongings
  • The smaller and lighter your luggage is the better for the environment


So, how much you can pack in a carry-on and personal item bag?

Firstly, you are allowed to bring both Carry-on and Personal Item luggage in most cases without extra cost. But it depends on the airline and the class (First, Business or Economy). The total weight limit also depends on the airline, usually between 7 to 14kg. Check with your airline.



Size Limit:  56 x 36 x 23cm (22” x 14” x 9”)

Fits in the overhead bin

About 45 liters capacity

Some airlines may force gate checking


Personal Item

Size Limit:   43 x 33 x 21cm (17” x 13” x 8”)

Fits under the seat in front

About 30 liters capacity

Keep valuable items in this bag



What you CANNOT pack in carry-on and personal item

  • Any liquids, aerosols, and gels over 100ml: All liquids, aerosols and gels must be stored in a container less than 100ml. These containers must fit into a transparent and re-sealable bag (max perimeter 80cm), limited 1 per person.
  • Inorganic powders over 350ml/350mg
  • Flammable items
  • Insect repellent spray
  • Some chemicals such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide (in hair dye), mercury (in thermometers), etc
  • Skateboards and hoverboards
  • Power tools
  • Sharp objects such as manicure scissors, ice skates, metal cutlery, and utility knives
  • Sticks except walking canes. For example, trekking sticks, bats, hockey or lacrosse stick, golf club, etc.
  • Cable ties, handcuffs, and other restraints


What MUST be packed in a Carry-on or Personal Item

  • All types of batteries
  • E-cigarettes and vaping devices



How to Pack all in a carry-on and a personal item

Packing List



1. Make a packing list in advance

Clothes – Choose stretchy, no-wrinkle, and thin materials. Comfortable and versatile style that can cover formal dinner to beach walk. 5 sets of underwear, 4 tops, 3 bottoms, and 2 pairs of shoes, 1 hat should be enough. Think about rain and prepare a couple of clothes and a pair of shoes that are easy to dry. Do a couple of quick washing at your destination.

Toiletries & Makeups – Start with the necessities such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Solid products will reduce volume and weight of your bag. You will have a hair dryer at most hotels and no need to bring. If you need a hair styling tool, take only one. Try to keep your makeups minimum by selecting multi-tasking items such as tinted BB sunscreen cream and cheek & lip stain.

Medications – Make sure to bring medications you will most likely need. You may not be able to find them at the destination. Also, make sure that your medications are allowed to bring into the destination.

Tech Gears – These should be packed into a personal item bag. Prepare information you need in digital format and save in the computer device. Choose smaller devices that do the job you need. Power connector would be different at place to place, and a multi-power adapter is handy.

Valuables and documents – Make sure your passport is valid, you have a right type of visa, and an insurance. You may need extra documents if you are traveling with children. It is good to have some cash for just in case card payment is not available.


Personal item
2. Pack Personal Item

Make sure you don’t have any items banned in a carry-on or a personal item. Pack all valuables such as cameras and computers and medication you might need in a personal item bag. The reason why you should pack them in a personal item bag instead of a carry-on is you could be forced to gate check your carry-on when there is not enough space in overhead compartment or some other reasons.

Remember, the bag must fit under the seat and the maximum weight is 7 to 14kg total (including carry-on).


3. Pack Carry-on

Clothes – Roll tops and bottoms them tightly and put in a foldable shopping bag. Put socks in shoes. Packing cubes can save more space and organize things easily in your bag. If you had bulky jacket and sweater, wear them, or carry in your arm. If you needed to reduce space, wear the bulkiest shoes. 

Toiletries and Makeups – You should have a lip balm or a multi-use moisturizer in your personal item bag, and the rest should be packed in a carry-on. Make sure to check TSA limits. 

Any other items you don’t need until you arrive at the destination can be packed in a carry-on.


Check Travel Planning Guide for other free tools and information.


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