Happy Monday! After being back from Europe for over 2 months, I have major wanderlust! Recently, one of my sweet sorority sisters, Jennifer, reached out and told me about how she was going on a European vacation with her husband and only packing a carry on. I was intrigued because I cannot go on a trip longer than a weekend with only a carry on! I’ve been an over-packer my whole life, and it’s only gotten worse after being a travel blogger. I am excited to have her write a guest post for y’all. Her advice is not only helpful for me, but I know it would be helpful for y’all too. I cannot wait to use her advice next time I travel.
Guest Post: How To Pack Only A Carry-On For A 2 Week Vacation By: Jennifer Young
So my husband and I are going to Europe for two weeks…..and all we are taking is just a carry on for each of us. Am I crazy? Maybe. But as someone who has been told multiple times “I can’t believe you got everything in that bag”, maybe my version of Tetris is just in a travel bag.
Now you don’t have to be Marie Kondo in order to do this. I’m actually assuming that you have overpacked on every trip you’ve ever taken. In fact, I’m only asking you to do one thing: be honest with yourself, and I mean real honest. I know those high heel shoes are super cute and you may go to that cool restaurant that would be a perfect place to wear them, but since you couldn’t keep them on for 20 minutes the last time you wore them, vacation is not the place to try.
First, go for the clothing items you LOVE. You know, the shirt you wear every week (and maybe even pulled out of the dirty laundry hamper once or twice because it’s so soft and comfy!). Lay these pieces out on your bed. Now, if you have more then 4 tops and 3 bottoms, pick your favorite. I know, I know, it’s like asking who your favorite child is, but we all know you have one, and we promise not to tell the other shirts in your closet that they missed the cut.
Look at the pieces you picked out. Are they all casual? Fancy? Bright colors? This is a chance to use “accessory”-type clothing items to make your outfits different. Are there 4 t-shirts laying on your bed? Grab a cardigan or blazer so you can make your outfit a little fancier. You packed bright red pants? Make sure you have a neutral colored shirt, or at least one with neutral elements to it. Also, are all your shirts sleeveless because you’re going somewhere in July? Think about where you plan to go to on your trip, since some churches require women to cover their shoulders.
Now for the shoes. If you’re going any place you have to walk a lot, don’t take heels. Unless you are the girl who walks in them all day everyday, they will likely just take up precious space in your suitcase. Find the one pair of shoes you could walk all day outside in (sorry, no at-home slippers; we’ve only got room for out-and-about shoes in the carry-on). Now if you’re going to be gone for two weeks, you get two more pairs of shoes. If less than that, one more pair. Go almost crazy and choose whatever you want, but you have to be able to wear them for one full day. If you can’t, then they don’t belong in your suitcase, taking up space where you could bring back a souvenir instead.
Finally, choose your accessories. This is where you can go crazy with your jewelry since it takes up so little space. If you want to take those two extra necklaces, go for it. Just try to keep it all in a quart-size bag. If you need more than that, either you have really big jewelry or you somehow overpacked your accessories. Also, don’t take more than one scarf, hat, purse, etc.; it’s just wasting space. I would say take two pairs of sunglasses. Why they always seem to break on the first or second day of vacation, I don’t know, but having the second pair means you aren’t trying to run to the nearest souvenir shop looking for a pair.
My husband and I got these travel bags two years ago for Christmas, and I don’t think we have used another bag since. It has all sorts of pockets, and is really made to be an easy travel bag.
Here are also some things that will help make packing for a two week trip easier:
Travel Cubes – Not only do they help you stay organized, but also in most of them you can push a lot of the air out. It won’t get as much air out as space savers, but I tend to like them better.
Great tips!! I’m not the best packer either. Will definitely need to look at this next time we do a big trip!
Katherine | http://www.oneswainkycouple.com
Thank you so much! She really knows what shes talking about. Me too. I always over pack.
I tried to bring a carry on to fashion week. Let’s just say it didn’t work. 😂I’d love to try to bring a carry on someplace though.
Haha ohhh no. I wouldn’t have been able to do it either. She has great tips!
I always wantedto be the one strolling through the airport with just a little carry-on and my purse. It hasn’t happened yet…. Her ideas are good though.
Oh me goodness, me too! Wouldn’t that be so nice? I can only do it for a weekend trip, never a full week and definitely not 2 weeks. They really are good.
Well done! As for me I always pack too much 🙁
She has skill, doesn’t she? I pack too much as well.
These are great tips! I totally agree with the shoe strategy….I also want to add to wear the biggest pair of shoes on the plane to save room and to pack as many “one piece” outfits as possible (like dresses)! I used a carry-on for a long weekend in the winter (with sweaters, hats, scarves and jackets) and felt so accomplished haha. I don’t know if I could do two weeks, though!
They really are!She did so good. I do that as well. I wear my coat and wear my boots if I packed some. That’s impressive. I usually can only do a carry-on for a long weekend too.
Oh my gosh , it would be so hard to put everything in a carry on for me Courtney !! You did pack well for your trip. Lol I love the part explaining bringing the cute heels! Haha choosing a favorite top is like choosing a favorite child. It is so true that you can accessorize with a cardigan or blazer and not feel like you have just worn that top. No slippers:( I guess there is no room !! Comfy shoes are important with a lot of walking usually involved on a trip. Jewellery is something that wont take up too much space. Great point about the sunnies! Thanks Jennifer for a different perspective , and maybe a change in how we pack! Just having a carry on and purse would be amazing, have a a nice day Courtney, Terri xo.
Ahh I know, packing is so hard! Her tips are great though. Oh I completely agree, I have trouble picking just one pair of shoes or even 3. That’s true mixing an matching is key and changing it up with accessories. I will be trying her tips next time I leave town. Thanks for reading, Terri. Xo-Courtney
These are great tips! I really need to invest in some packing cubes. My husband swears by them as well. I struggle with packing a carry on only, not so much for clothing reasons, but because I can’t pack enough cosmetics into a quart size bag. Even buying the tiny shampoos, hairsprays, oils, lotions, etc. can be too much to bring on a plane.
Thank you so much, Lindsey! I am so glad you think so. As a professional travel i’m sure you have some amazing advice too. Everything really does add up quickly.
I love this! We always tend to pack way more then we need.
Absolutely! I am glad you thought her tips were helpful.
That is such an efficient way to pack Courtney! Thanks for the tips!
Thanks, Monika! I am so glad you think so.
Yes! I needed this guide! Thank you because I’m horrible packer
I am so glad you found it helpful! Oh me too. It’s hard.