The Carry-On Challenge

Is it possible to pack a week's worth of clothes AND avoid paying $80 in airline baggage fees? Domestic CEO is up for the challenge! Does she succeed? Click to find out!

Amanda Thomas
2-minute read


This week, I gave myself a challenge. I just flew into New York to speak at Blog World on the Women in Podcasting panel (check me out!), and I had ZERO desire to pay $80 in baggage fees. I figured that I would take this opportunity to show all you doubters that a week’s worth of clothes could be packed in just a carry-on bag.

See also: 3 Packing Tips to Avoid Airline Baggage Fees



To start, I followed my own advice and made a packing list to make sure I didn’t forget anything. This list also helped me make sure that I had complete outfits and versatile options that could be used in multiple ways.


 When I started packing, everything got rolled so it could fit in the bag’s awkward spaces easier. The main section of the bag is holding tops on the left and bottoms on the right. Then shoes and belts got stacked on top of that part of the bag. In the top zippered section of the bag, I have my workout clothes, PJs, and undergarments. My toiletries and other small items went into my purse. And because my makeup had to fit in my purse too, I am only bringing the bare minimum.

I used a number of baggies to help organize both bags. For example, that pair of white sandals that went on top of my shirts? They don’t have super clean soles, so I tossed them in a gallon size plastic bag. My socks and underwear are in sandwich size baggies, which keeps them all together. After all, there’s nothing worse than having to disrupt your neatly packed bag just to find a stray sock on your first morning. In my purse, I even used a sandwich size baggie to hold my phone cord and ear buds.

Still not convinced that I could possibly have enough for a week in NYC? Well, here’s what I’m bringing (including what I’m wearing on my flight):

  • 8 tank tops, 2 t-shirts, 3 dress shirts

  • 4 sweaters/cardigans and 1 jacket

  • 1 dress

  • 3 pairs of jeans

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • 1 skirt

  • 4 belts

  • 3 pairs of dress shoes, 1 pair of ballet flats, 1 pair of flip flops, and 1 pair of running shoes

  • Makeup, toiletries, phone, Bluetooth keyboard, snacks

  • 1 travel pillow

Now, who else is up for the challenge?!?

Let me know about your own packing successes in Comments!