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Packing In a Carry-On

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Packing in a carry-on can be done, even on a long trip! Sharing five tips for traveling light!

Big trips can be daunting – all that planning, not to mention the expense! Then once you’ve finally made the plans you’ve got another mountain to climb – packing!  Last spring I had the chance to take a fantastic vacation to Europe and while planning the trip was fun, trying to figure out how to pack was hard!

Not only was I was trying to get all my clothing into a carry-on suitcase, I was also faced with uncertain climate. The possibility of warm days, cool nights, and the chance of rain. There’s a lot to consider!

Plus, I knew I’d be doing some serious shopping so I wanted as much room in my bag as possible! I did my best to plan ahead and take items that would give me the most potential for making several outfits out of each item. I finally narrowed it down to these items:

Europe Packing List

Since I was going to be gone for about 15 days I tried to pull together at least 10 different outfits with a few repeats! (Not to mention some vacation purchases.)

I also had a few accessories (belts, scarf, jewelry) to change things up a bit. Plus, I had a motorcycle jacket for cool days and a rain jacket for any wet weather, which did come in handy!

europe outfits2

All together, I was pretty happy with my selections. I had some variety, and still plenty of room in my bag for my new purchases!  

I probably could have left one of the pairs of shoes behind, most pros would tell you to do so, but I’m a girl who loves her shoes!

Packing in a Carry-On

1. Consider your every day style

If you planned a day of museum touring and lots of walking at home, what would you be wearing? If you wouldn’t wear sweatpants and sneakers to sight see at home, leave them behind. You want to be comfortable of course, but you also want to feel like you!

2. Think mix and match

If you want to make the most of your travel wardrobe, take items that can be worn multiple times. For instance, the blue button down could be worn with jeans, with a skirt, or over one of the dresses I took.

3. Consider clothing care

Leave the skirt you love that wrinkles easy. It won’t do well in your suitcase and even if you can get the wrinkles out, it won’t last more than a few hours of wear.

4. Think about purpose

If you’ve only planned for one “fancy” dinner during your trip there’s no reason to take along a really nice dress that you’ll only wear once. This is where a black dress always comes in handy!

For me, the black maxi dress could be easily dressed up or down and layered. So while I wore it under a jacket or button-down throughout the trip, I also wore it with diamond studs and my black scarf as a wrap for a fancy dinner in Rome. Perfect!

5. Make the most of your packing

Roll clothes instead of folding, use travel compression bags, and of course, layer on the plane!

On the trip over and back I wore jeans, a top and motorcycle jacket along with the scarf. You can easily shed your layers once you’re on board and it’s always nice to have a jacket or scarf to wrap up in!

Those are just a few ideas to keep your luggage light, and remember, your luggage might change for the destination! A Hawaii packing list might look differently than one for New York or Colorado!

Have some tips for packing light? Share!

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Anna Jane

Thursday 5th of November 2015

Do you have a brand of maxi dress you recommend?


Tuesday 10th of November 2015

I've tried a lot of brands, some of my favorite maxi skirts have come from Kohl's (Apt. 9 brand) and the best quality maxi dresses I've purchased were DKNY (outlet) and Chloe and Isabel. They've held up great for several years now!

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