How To Pack For A Week In A Carry On

Checking bags can be a huge hassle and adds a lot of additional time to your traveling, so here's some advice on how to pack for a week in just a carry on.

When I travel I rarely check a bag, whether I’m gone for two days or two weeks. Part of this is the fact that I hate the hassle of checking bags, but also over time I have developed a certain way to packing that ensures I won’t need more space (or at least, most of the time. If you’re looking for tips on how to pack for moving check out this post). I tend to get a lot of comments at check-in desks by people who are surprised that’s all the luggage I have, so I thought it would be good to pass along some of my wisdom for packing and hopefully you guys can save some money and a bit of time the next time you travel.

Pack clothes that can be paired with each other.

The biggest thing I see people do when packing for a trip is packing with certain outfits in mind or specific pairings. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if you’re limited on space you’re going to struggle if you’re down to one top, one cardigan and a pair of pants– none of which go together. I find it’s best to pack things that can be paired with almost everything else and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much less you’ll need.

Only one or two paris of pants are necessary.

I love my clothes as much as the next person, but at the end of the day I really only alternate between two paris of pants normally so there’s no point in packing things on the off chance you might wear them when you’re away. They take up the most space, so cutting back on this will save you tons of space.

Layering is crucial.

It’s a lot easier to pack multiple tops and cardigans than a bunch of more flimsy clothes and a bulky jacket or coat. Normally when I travel I try to only take one jacket or coat and bring clothes that I can layer underneath if it gets colder. Although it may sound counter-intuitive to pack more clothes for layering, you’re saving yourself a lot of space if you’re can forgo the second sweatshirt or jacket.

Be strategic about your footwear.

I think the most ridiculous thing I see when people travel are bringing half a dozen pairs of shoes. So not necessary! Depending on where you’re going, what you’ll be doing and the weather, the types of shoes you’ll need will change, but you’re maximum should include comfy everyday walking shoes, casual shoes (or warm or cool shoes), and maybe a pair of nice shoes if you think you’ll be going out or going to be somewhere that requires a nicer outfit. But what you don’t need are two paris of boots, flats, sandals, heels, and athletic shoes.

Be practical, don’t pack anything you’re not going to wear.

We are all guilty of doing this, even me, but never pack something that you only think you’re going to wear. I find it’s always best to go with my trusty usual clothes, the things I’m always happy wearing. If you can’t see when you’re going to wear it or what you’ll wear it with, leave it behind.

Also make sure you’re packing the most practical items. Don’t pack your biggest, bulkiest jacket because that takes up unnecessary space. When it comes to jackets, rain coats are critical because they are so versatile. These lightweight travel rain jackets are your best bet to keep things practical for travel outerwear and for packing.

Only take a small makeup bag with the essentials.

In general I don’t wear much makeup, but when traveling I usually bring the bare essentials because a whole bag filled with makeup I only use for special occasions is a waste of space and weight. Only bring your everyday makeup, whether it’s a lot or not, just leave behind all of the extra things that rarely get used.

Don’t forget about your personal item.

A lot of people forget they get a personal item as well, which includes a purse, backpack or laptop case. If you need a bit of extra space for a few bits and bobs it’s important to remember that you get this as well. Normally when traveling I keep my wallet, iPad, glasses and liquids bag in my purse.

Wear your heaviest items.

This doesn’t always work, but if all else fails, wearing you’re heaviest shoes, sweater or coat can sometimes clear up the little bit of space you might need. I don’t advise this as your first go-to, but if you just need a bit of extra space it can be a life saver.

These few tips will hopefully help you travel lighter, easier and quicker. Personally, my favorite carry on is the Le Pliage Longchamp, it’s incredibly roomy and comfortable to wear and I absolutely love how it folds down into absolutely nothing to pack away when you’re at home. I rarely use the zipper extender, but if you need a larger bag it can come in really handy since you have two sized bags in one. My packing skills will be put to the test this week since I’ll be gone for a week in Scotland and France!

Don’t forget to follow my Instagram account where I regularly post photos from all of my adventures! This week I’ll be in Scotland and Marseille, so some great photos will be posted! 

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