No, not emotional baggage. I’m talking about that 45lb suitcase you should ditch. Read below to find out how to pack in a carry-on for two weeks in Europe
Packing for an extended trip in a carry-on suitcase seems impossible, and I used to think it was. For years I was a textbook over packer. I could pack a large suitcase like nobody’s business, always walking that fine line of 49 lbs at the airline counter. I wanted to have options when I got to where I was going, how will I know what I want to wear two days from now?
What. Was. I. Thinking?!
Long gone are the days of lugging a massive suitcase around the world. I never thought I could do it, but I have spent the past year getting a great packing routine down in a carry-on, and you totally can too.
Why should you pack a carry-on?
The real question is, why would you check a bag?
Sure, there are definitely times when you need more things and more space to pack. A special occasion or event, for example. But past that? You should avoid checking a bag.
Say goodbye to;
*Airline checked bag fees. At $25 each flight, that can really add up. Especially if you are going to be taking several flights over 1-2 weeks.
*Stressing about checking in to the airport before the bag cut off time. Without a checked bag, as long as you’re checked in with 30 mins prior to departure time, you’re good to go.
*Wasting time at the baggage claim anxiously watching for your bag on the belt, only to find out the airline has sent it to the wrong airport.
Not checking a bag is an incredibly liberating feeling. Here is how to pack in a Carry-On
- For starters, get packing cubes. These have been a game changer for me! They allow me to organize my bag and it compresses my clothes a bit. Without these, I could not fit the amount of clothing in my bag that I do. I use these ones I got on Amazon, they come with a variety of sizes and I can wash them too. I had 3 pouches packed this trip; One for dresses / rompers, one for tops and bottoms, and one small pouch for swimsuits and underwear.
- Pick out your carry-on suitcase. I am partial to a four wheel hard shell bag, like this one from Rimowa. Let’s talk more about suitcases in another post!
- Pack what you truly need to wear, and not what you *think* you want to wear. When I would over pack, I would bring so many different outfit options but ended up wearing pretty much the same thing everyday. Why complicate your trip with clothes you don’t end up wearing?
Being in Spain and Italy in the summer time, I knew it was going to be hot. We would be by the pool during the day and going out in the evenings. I ended up packing mostly dresses; some for day, some strictly for night time, and the others I could wear to the beach / pool.
- I fold my clothes following the Kon Mari Method, (Here is a YouTube tutorial demonstrating this packing method) which I learned after reading The Japanese Art of Tidying Up. Honestly when I read this book it left me feeling really irritated, (You’re supposed to organize your entire home / life in a day, like please come over I’d love to see that attempted at my house) but I did get some great tips from it and I apply a lot of them when packing a suitcase.
- Keep loose items in a pouch(es). I keep my phone cables, sleeping mask, and other bits n bobs in a pouch. This keeps them together and from getting in the way of packing.
- Pack sensible shoes. Yes, shoes are a vital part of an outfit, and I’m sure you have the perfect pair of shoes for every outfit you own, but you don’t need them when you’re not at home. I packed one pair of heels, 3 pairs of sandals that I could dress up if I wanted and one pair of running shoes. (I also picked up a pair of handmade sandals in Capri!)
- Don’t over do it with the makeup and hair products. Come up with a simple makeup look for your trip and pack only what you need to achieve this look.
- Keep your essentials like medication, passports etc in a tote bag / purse that fits on top of your carry on suitcase. I cram alooooooot into my “personal item.”
- Last but not least…it’s gonna sound weird…but you gotta trust me…Wash your clothes in your hotel room. I know, wtf?? But hear me out; packing less things means your will be re-wearing outfits more than once, and things like your tops and undies will need a refresh. I will make a post about how I wash our laundry on the road, it’s actually kinda awesome once you make it a part of your routine. I recommend using these travel packs of detergent.
- For some more really helpful packing tips, check out this article here.
Let’s wrap this up
It’s incredible what you can fit into a carry on suitcase with some strategic thinking and some great Tetris skills. Give it a shot on your next trip, once you do, I guarantee you won’t go back.