I’m often asked how I manage to squeeze everything into a single suitcase. My readers are amazed at how I seem to never wear the same thing twice (which I definitely do! Hello, laundry. Hello, layers.)
The number one thing I learned from packing in a carry-on was that I could still fit an incredible amount of clothes inside. 10 outfits…TEN. Plus a cosmetic bag, shoes and accessories. I was so proud of myself and I hadn’t even boarded the plane yet.
What’s more? No baggage fees! It wasn’t until I landed at Charles de Gualle Airport, however, that I realized I packed the wrong clothes. It was supposed to be summer in Paris, but 65 degrees and rain isn’t summer in my book. Oh well. “The sun will come out tomorrow,” I thought…and it did, as seen in these photos!
And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: here come the tips for packing light!
Maximize Suitcase Real-Estate
- Wear your heaviest items on the plane.
- Ah yes. The fold/roll debate. I’ve always been a folder, but there are rollers out there who swear by this space-saving technique. Apparently it does numbers for minimizing wrinkles as well.
- Often overlooked is the technique of placing heavier items (shoes, toiletries) towards the bottom, or near the wheels of your carry-on. It does make a difference when wheeling around.
- The one item I pack too much of: shoes. I don’t need that many shoes. A recent discovery of mine were the Sanuk Yoga Devine Sandals. To me, these are my necessary pair of flip flops and my nice pair of flats all in one (that go with everything and are comfortable enough to wear walking around a city). The best part? They’re made from real yoga mat material…which makes me feel like I’m always getting a workout in 😉
What to Always Bring (no matter what!)
Always pack a scarf and a swimsuit no matter where you’re going. You never know when you’ll come upon a desert oasis. It may sounds weird, but a plastic bag never hurts, either. I use them on multiple occasions, whether it be for a wet swimsuit or organization.
Liquids, Gels and Aerosols
Travel-sized products have come a long way. You can find just about anything you need in a cute, little fun-size container (3.4 oz or less) these days. (Take a look at some of my favorite beauty products here.) I never pack items that I know my hotel will have for me, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. To pack (most) hair products is to waste space. I don’t even own a hairdryer anymore! If you’re a hair snob, well, I can’t help you there…
This is a big one for me. I travel with tons of camera equipment (see my favorite camera gear). I found the perfect bag that will carry my Nikon, three lenses, my GoPro, cords, charges, accessories AND my laptop. Score! Unfortunately, this always counts as one of my two carry-ons on trips, but it’s part of the job. At least we live in a digital world where we can read books on Kindles, get news on iPads, and do business on iPhones.
I’m a lover of many different suitcase brands, but I love Victorinox’s Global Carry-On. Each airline is different in terms of carry-on dimension requirements, so either check with them beforehand or make sure to get a smaller bag to be safe. The biggest hurdle for me is the 1 carry-on and 1 personal item rule, especially because my camera bag is not optional. UGH. I typically try to stuff my purse inside my carry-on (depending how big it is) or hide it underneath a scarf at the gate (guilty…). Whatever the case, just make sure to throw everything up top for optimal space underneath the seat in front of you!
Over to you! If you have any tips for packing light, please share!