How To Fit All Your Belongings In A Carry-on Bag, When You’re Tall or Big

Every time I see a video on how to fit everything in a carry-on bag when traveling, I usually roll my eyes because it’s usually some skinny or petite person in the video.

Of course, their clothes fit easily in a carry-on bag — they’re tiny! I, however, am not. I am a female who is 6’1. Ain’t nothing on me tiny.

I hate having a lot of stuff to carry when I’m on vacation because it makes me feel tied down. I have made it a point to learn how to fit everything in a carry-on, regardless of the length of the trip. I even took a carry-on when I went to Europe for two weeks.

Even though some of the tips I’ve read are great – including using packing cubes, rolling items before you pack them, and wearing heavier items on the plane – some tips aren’t realistic for someone who is big or tall. Here are some tips that I’ve read about or have tried on my own that make traveling lighter easier when you’re bigger.

  1. Just Say No to jeans.

There is no way in hell that I can take a normal pair of jeans on a trip without taking up A LOT of space in my bag. My inseam is 37 inches. I usually try to stay away from jeans altogether, but if I do decide that I absolutely need a pair of jeans I wear them on the plane. I also would never bring more than one pair on a trip.

One type of jean that doesn’t take up a lot of space is the thin, legging denim. I have some ‘jeggings’ from Old Navy and they are perfect because they are thin, skinny, and they take up very little room.

  1. Just Say Yes to leggings

I’m a firm believer that leggings are the greatest item of clothing ever invented. They’re lightweight, they match everything, and they can be dressed up and down—let’s also not forget that they can make butts look amazing and stomach look flatter. (AMEN). I always try to wear leggings for most of my vacations because they are easier to pack in a carry-on, and they are also extremely comfortable.

If you are male, I’m sure you aren’t going to wear leggings so I’d recommend slacks, because they are lighter than jeans, or shorts, because there is less material to work with. My 6’8 boyfriend usually sticks to shorts while traveling, even in cold weather.

Just remember the consider fabric when you are packing. Stick with thinner, lighter material.


This is always the easiest way to bring very little clothing. If everything matches then everything is interchangeable and you can have more outfit choices to choose from. Stick with neutral colors for clothing and avoid getting bored with your wardrobe by bringing a variety of lightweight accessories to help spruce everything up.

  1. Stay away from jackets, if you can.

Jackets are bulky and take up way too much space. Even wearing them on planes isn’t my favorite thing to do because they get hot. I usually try to bring a lighter weight item to keep me warm like a flannel, sweatshirt, or vest. I also try to bring beanies and scarfs because they are lighter and keep me just as warm.

If you do get to your destination and you are cold, consider buying a cheap jacket somewhere. Last time I went to NY, it rained the entire time so I bought a cheap jacket and scarf at Old Navy and then gave it to a homeless man before I got on my flight. That way I didn’t have to carry it back with me.

  1. Don’t bring a lot of shoes

Us tall and big folks got big feet, and big feet require big shoes, and big shoes take up A LOT of room. I try to bring two pairs of shoes max whenever I travel, and usually one of those is flip flips or a thin shoe that is easy to pack. The other pair is something comfortable that matches all my outfits.

If you do need to bring a lot of shoes, try putting things like accessories, scarves, socks etc. inside the shoes to help free up space.

  1. Wash clothes during your trip

This isn’t for everyone, but it is a great way to be able to bring fewer items on a trip. This is how I survived bringing only a carry-on to Europe.

Tip: Tide makes individual packets of detergent that are perfect for travel.

  1. The fewer toiletries, the better.

Toiletries can take up more space than clothes so I try to keep everything simple for trips. Bringing minimal makeup, air-dry your hair instead of using a blow dryer, using the toiletries in the hotel, and sharing toiletries with your travel partner so you can take half the amount. All these things can help you lighten your travel load.


One thing to always remember before you pack is that no one of vacation cares what you look like. Keep everything simple, lighter, and easier. That will help you free up space in your carry-on and make packing easier.

Do you have any tips to pack lighter? Let me know in the comments.

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