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Mastering the Art of Carry-On-Only Travel

Packing light tips to enjoy your vacation to the fullest

“My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…!”

We want to look and feel our best on the trip we’ve worked hard to map out, but the struggle of how to get all your favorites crammed into the suitcase can be a challenge.

After multiple situations where my luggage has been lost, these tips come from a person who has gone 22 years without checking a piece of luggage, and that includes multi-week multi-country European travel vacations!

Here are my tips for taking any trip with just your carry-on:

Go In With A Plan

Look at the agenda and map out your outfits in advance; it’ll save you valuable time of having to decide what to wear each day when you get there, which means more time for fun.

Create A Capsule Look

Pick a color scheme and stick with it. With one theme, you’re bringing one pair of sandals, flats, workout shoes, and a heel that goes with everything.

Don’t Fight The Climate

I have extremely curly hair, and for a while, I thought this was a battle I could win. I’d bring the flat iron, the curling wand, the special hair dryer, basically all the tools in my hair straightening toolbox only to look like the Lion King after five minutes in humid locations! It’s vacation – embrace the elements.

Technology Has Advanced, Use It

I love an actual book in my hand and swore off any type of virtual version for much longer than I’m proud to admit. After carrying multiple books with me on trips, I gave in and got a Kindle for travel. It’s lighter and when I finished my book on the train in Barcelona it hit me, I was able to download the next book in the Bridgerton series instantly without having to wait until I got home to continue the story. It was a magical moment.

The Beloved Sunhat

We love them. The bigger, the better. We want to feel like we’re on a yacht in the French Riviera when we’re at the pool, but they’re bulky, tough to pack, and even worse to carry. Get a foldable travel hat that will automatically reshape after being stuffed into the abyss of your suitcase. They exist and they are worth every penny.

Build The Perfect Toiletry Travel Bag

Stock up on mini versions of your essentials and build out your toiletry travel bag with your favorites so it’s always ready to go.  I add the essential everyday things to the pre-packed toiletry bag but having it stocked and always ready limits the things you need vs. things you’re cramming in last minute. 

Packing Cubes

They may look completely useless, but these little magic workers allow you to contain many items in a small space. They help you organize your bag by categories - workout/pajamas, regular day/night, and undergarments/swimsuit. If it doesn’t fit in the packing cube, it doesn’t make the trip, and they fit nicely in your suitcase.

Just remember that it’s vacation. It’s supposed to be light. Keep it simple and let it go.

 Happy Travels!  

After multiple situations where my luggage has been lost, these tips come from a person who has gone 22 years without checking a piece of luggage.