How to Pack For Vacation Using Only a Carry-On

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My first major trip was in 2011 when I moved to the South of France to be a nanny for the summer (you can read all about this by clicking here). I had no idea how to pack, I didn’t know what was necessary to bring, and what really wasn’t necessary at all. Needless to say I learned the hard way. I didn’t have someone to tell me what I did and didn’t need. Therefore, I packed almost my entire wardrobe, which is what I thought I needed for three months abroad. I was in for a rude awakening when I showed up in Paris and couldn’t fit through any of the turnstiles because my luggage was too big (who knew there were so many turnstiles in Europe).

Lets just say that since then, I have learned how to be a light packer. I either pack everything I need in a duffle bag, a carry on size suitcase, or a backpack, depending on the trip.

Here are my tips for being a light packer for any length trip.

  1. You don’t need as much as you think
  2. A lot of times if you’re going somewhere for any length of time, you will have access to a washing machine. If not, a little soap and water does the trick
  3. In order to bring a carry on, your liquids need to be no more than 100ml. Bring 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, that way you don’t need to bring bottles of both. Use a bar of soap instead of body wash. If you need sunscreen buy sunscreen at your destination. Side note: It’s cheaper to buy containers and fill it with your own products rather than buying travel size everything.
  4. When it comes to footwear, wear your bulkiest footwear on the plane, that way you aren’t taking up precocious space. Aside from that you will need no more than two other pairs of shoes. You’re on vacation it’s okay to be wearing the same pair of shoes in every picture :)
  5. Much like your shoes it’s okay to wear the same clothes over a few days. Bring more tops than bottoms, as bottoms seem to last longer and not get as dirty.
  6. If you’re going to over pack on anything make sure that it’s socks and underwear! Worse comes to worst you can start wearing your underwear inside out.
  7. When packing, roll your clothes rather than folding them, it takes up less room.
  8. What a lot of people don’t realize when travelling is, if you are bringing on a carry on suitcase, you’re also allowed to have a “personal item” this personal item, can be a backpack. Use that to your advantage. Pack lighter, but bulkier things in your backpack as you will be carrying it.
  9. During my last few trips I have noticed that more and more airplanes are actually checking your luggage at the gate. This is actually a great thing if you ask me. Normally it’s smaller planes that do this, as they don’t have room for the luggage on the plane. What this means: after they scan your boarding pass, you will leave your luggage at the door to the plane, it will then get put underneath with all of the checked luggage, but then it will be waiting for you at the door as you exit the plane. This is great because A) you then don’t need to hold up the aisle on the plane as you’re trying to find an overhead compartment for your luggage and B) it’s like you checked your luggage, but you’re not paying the checked luggage fee, AND you don’t have to wait at baggage claim.

Happy travelling!

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One Comment

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  1. Your suitcase is adorable haha! Good tips here :)

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