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Carry-on Only: How to Travel Light

Covid-19 put the whole world on hold, which means people across the globe have been stuck in their town for over a year (and in some cases, longer). Being stuck indoors means many have the travel bug and are itching to jump on the next plane to a new destination where they can rediscover what freedom tastes like.

With travel rules and guidance still up in the air (pun intended) and subject to change at any time, those who are planning to travel need to be able to adapt and change plans.

This means that being able to travel light is key. Even in pre-pandemic times, taking less baggage meant you could travel more freely. Think about it: traveling with only carry-on luggage means no waiting around at the airport for your suitcase, or facing excess baggage fees or the risk of lost luggage…you can simply walk off the plane with your duffle bag or backpack and begin your adventure!

But traveling ‘light’ isn’t as easy as it sounds. Even when packing only what you think you’ll need, you can end up with a big heap in a suitcase that won’t close. As the brand behind the ultimate (and TSA-compliant) bag for travel, Private Label has a few tricks to keep your luggage light, so you can travel carry-on only. Read on to learn more.

Take the right bag

The bag you pack your luggage in might not seem that important, but trust us, it is. While many scramble in the basement for the old suitcase they pull out every year, or grab the biggest duffle bag they can find, this really isn’t the best approach.

If you’re going to travel light successfully, you need a bag designed to allow you to do just that. A good bag for traveling light will:

  • Be TSA-compliant
  • Be big, but not too big (so it’s suitable as a carry-on) 
  • Have wide, padded traps for comfort
  • Be secure, with hidden pockets and zips for maximum security
  • Be flexible, such as removable sections for efficient packing
  • Be breathable, for your comfort
  • Be stand-out, so you can easily spot your bag

This is why Private Label’s original travel, sport and sneaker duffles, gym bags and backpacks are all great choices for traveling light. All our bags are TSA-compliant, breathable, have secure zipped and hidden pockets and have padded straps for user comfort. Our duffles and original backpacks also have removable dividers for efficient packing and are designed to carry things like your prized sneakers with ease. 

All our bags are available in lots of different colors, with something to suit every style. We also stock accessories, like big bright key tags, to help make your bag unique.

Write a list

When it comes to packing, there are two types of people: the ones who open their wardrobe and pull out everything they might need, and the ones who write a list of what they need to take and only pack that. Please, be the list-writer.

Writing a list might seem unnecessary, but it can really help control what you end up packing, so you don’t over pack. Write a list of must-haves, like clothing for X number of days, essential toiletries, electrical and so on, and leave off the nice-to-haves that you can really do without. If you’re drawing a blank, there are a lot of packing lists online which you can adapt to meet your needs.

Once your list is complete, don’t deviate. When packing, be sure to stick to your list, and not take additional items that will add unnecessary weight.

Be smart with your wardrobe

For those who love to look fly when they fly, traveling light doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. Being smart with the clothes you take can mean you look effortlessly cool with literally minimal effort.

When writing your list, think:

  • Which clothes are lightweight?
  • Which clothes can be worn together?
  • Which clothes are suitable for all kinds of weather?
  • Which clothes can be hand washed and dried easily?

Thinking about these things when packing can really help reduce the amount of room taken up by clothing. Taking clothes that are lightweight and dual-purpose is ideal, and using a laundry or hand washing and re-wearing your clothes  is preferable to taking different items of clothing for each day of your trip.

Also, on the day you travel, wear your heaviest gear. That way, you can still take slightly bulkier clothing like a coat, hoodie, pair of jeans etc. without adding weight to your bag.

Be smart with your kicks 

Wear a pair, take a pair is the golden rule here. Two pairs of shoes should be enough for any trip - as long as you choose ones that are dual-purpose. We know that for a sneakerhead this can be a difficult choice. But shoes do take up a lot of room, so it’s a decision that needs to be made.

Whatever you choose, make sure they’re comfy for walking, but smart enough for outings, and go with all the outfits you’ve packed. To keep your packed pair fresh and protected, be sure to use one of our protective sneaker cases.

Pack neatly 

This sounds like an obvious one, but we need to say it because so many people don’t do it. And admit it, we’ve all been there - sitting on our bag or suitcase and desperately pushing down to zip it up.

But packing neatly really is essential to traveling light. If you want to get serious about it, there’s loads of folding for packing guides, like this one, on Youtube. But simply folding your clothes and organizing them using dividers and individual cases should suffice.

Decant your toiletries

Traveling light doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice cleanliness. Rather than cut out toiletries, decant everything you need into travel-sized bottles. If you’re flying, make sure the liquids you’re taking are no more than 100ml for hand-luggage. You can label your bottles so you know what’s in each, and reuse them trip after trip.

If you’re traveling as a group you can organize for each person to take on full-sizes of each item (remember, anything over 100ml needs to be checked in).

Alternatively, you can pack no toiletries at all and buy them in the airport or once you reach your final destination.

Weigh your bag

Most airlines have a pretty strict policy when it comes to carry-on luggage - and baggage. Don’t be one of those people at the airport who gets caught out, is forced to redistribute their clothes, ditch less valuable items or pay a charge. Weigh your bag to make sure that it meets the guidelines. 

If you want a rough idea of your bag's weight, simply weigh yourself, then pick up your bag and weigh yourself again. Minus your weight without the bag from your weight with the bag. The remaining figure is how much your bag weighs. 

If you do this and your bag is on the limit, double check with luggage scales - these will tell you the exact weight of your bag.

Weighing your bag isn’t just a good idea in terms of meeting airport luggage rules, it’s also for your own sake. If your bag is on the heavier side, think about the practicality of carrying it around with you wherever you go. If the thought of this sends shivers down your spine, reevaluate your packed items and cut down if you can.


If you’re planning your next trip away, this guide gives you everything you need to travel light like a pro. If you’re in need of a new bag designed for travel, sports and sneakers to take your carry-on game to the next level, shop for it here at Private Label.


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