This has been a long awaited and highly demanded post. On my Instagram stories I constantly post pics of my tiny carry-on or personal items and how I've managed to pack sometimes upwards of a weeks worth of clothes into such a small space. Devin has told me a million times I need to share this post and countless numbers of you have DM'd me asking to share. So, I'm using my upcoming weekend trip to Savannah, GA as an opportunity to share.
For a full disclosure I am only going for two days. So I don't need much, as opposed to my week-long trip through Europe which I very successfully packed only a carryon for. I'll be doing another big Europe trip in the Fall, so I'll share how I pack a carryon with a lot of clothes AND a lot of layers. But, for now I am using this warm Spring Bachelorette Party trip to show you all.
For starters I make sure to lay out my carryon and my travel accessories so I can visualize what I'm working with. I have to pause and tell you all about my new set from Lilly Pulitzer!!! This past weekend Lilly was doing the gift-with-purchase sale and I went all the way to the highest threshold to claim these amazing gifts. Now before any of you roll your eyes or question how I can afford to do that, I'll share with you my LP technique. Every two years I do a big haul like this one. In Spring 2016 I did the same gift-with-purchase sale to get the weekender set and all of it's accessories in the first impressions print. Other than that full priced shopping spree I only ever buy Lilly from the After Party Sales, which happen twice a year and offer Lilly at super cheap prices. I also sell all of my old clothes on Poshmark after I've worn them for either their event purposes or realize I just don't wear them as much as I thought. I keep all of these earnings saved so I can spend them on future clothing purchases. So, I basically have a rotating clothing fund, of which I saved for this sale. Phew... that was long winded, sorry!
Anyway, I'm super obsessed with my new travel gear and I'm thrilled to travel in style this weekend with my beautiful new luggage!
After I lay out my travel accessories I plan out my outfits. To me, this is the most important part of packing. I have trained myself to NEVER (okay, rarely) over-pack. Because I always have an itinerary planned for where I'm going I plan different outfits for each day (usually a daytime and a nighttime choice) plus one extra contingency outfit. I try to only ever pack 2 pairs of bottoms: one pair of jeans and one pair of leggings with rotating tops and dresses where possible. I myself feel most comfortable in a dress so that is always my outfit of choice.
For this trip you can see that I have 3 dresses, 1 pair of jeans, and 1 pair of pjs. Starting from left to right: the purple dress is for Friday night adventures, the 1st printed dress is for Thursday afternoon adventures (Thurs. morning is travel so I have a separate travel outfit), the 2nd printed dress is for Friday daytime adventures, the jeans are for Thursday late night that will be paired with a tank top I'm receiving from one of the other girst, and the pjs are for both nights.
Not pictured I have a pair of leggings, tank top, and jean jacket for the car Thursday AND the plane Saturday. I always re-wear my travel outfit to save space in my luggage. You'll also note that I wear whatever jacket is accompanying me during travel so that I don't have to pack it. This is a trick that saves so. much. space. So, whether its a jean jacket, trench, or puffer, make sure you wear it on the plane or in the car!
The next thing I worry about are the bigger accessories that I need such as shoes and bags. My new Lilly carry-on is amazing in that the entire left side has a zip-cover, making it the perfect place to store these items! For this trip I'm taking sneakers for sigh-seeing, healed sandals for night-time activities, wedges for the bride because she asked to borrow them, and a pair of Jack Rogers as easy slip on/off shoes (not pictured). I'll be wearing my Jacks during travel because of how easy they are in the car to throw off or at the airport during security.
After everything is packed I just zip up that compartment to keep everything packed and organized!
The next thing I worry about are smaller accessories and toiletries. Because I received all-new travel accessories to go with my carry-on I just had to use them. I packed all of my jewelry in the clam-shell zip-around pouch and all of my toiletries in the shower caddy. It all fit beautifull and is super easy to pack away.
Not pictured is my make-up because I will pack that the morning I leave along with other small essentials that I can't pack until I'm ready to walk out the door. I have a medium-sized makeup bag from target that goes with me everywhere and will be added to this pile.
Next up is adding my clothes and travel accessories to the right side of my carryon. My rule of thumb is to fold dresses, and roll my jeans and pjs. It has always worked well for me and ensures that everything is wrinkle-free and fits nicely. On top of my clothes is my shower caddy, jewelry pouch, and straightener so they are easy to access during travel if for any reason I need them. I also never travel with a hair dryer because if I'm in a hotel they provide one, and if I'm in an Air BnB I can simply let my hair air-dry. It saves space in my bag and for the rare times I do check a bag it saves weight as well.
Zip that baby up and you have a packed suitcase!
The last bit of info I want to share is my personal item. When I'm traveling a standard carrier (United, Delta, etc...) that allows both a carry-on and a personal item I always optimize my space by taking a large personal item such as this tote. For discount airlines (Spirit, RyanAir, Wow, etc...) you ONLY get a personal item and for that I'm doing an entire separate post on how I pack in just a backpack.
For this trip, I'm driving down with friends Thursday and flying back on a Delta flight Saturday so I will have the opportunity to have my personal item and carry-on, free of charge! I always make sure to keep my necessities in my personal item i.e. wallet, keys, makeup bag, sunglasses, calendar, laptop, book, and chargers. That way it's all right there when I need it. For obvious reasons I won't be carrying this huge tote around Savannah every day, so I always pack just a small satchel or shoulder bag that I can pack up with my essentials i.e. money, keys, sunglasses, and lipstick when I'm out and about.
I'm always sure to leave some extra room in it so that if I make purchases along the way I can pack them somewhere if my carry-on is too full. One last trick is to always pack an empty water bottle or mug so that you don't have to pay for water at the airport. I always fill up with water before my flight, drink that, and then have the flight attendant fill my mug with coffee when she comes around. I chose this mug specifically for this weekend because it went with my LP/bright colors theme very well.
With that all being said, you're ready to go! This is by no means all-encompassing, but it's what works for me and I've had tremendous success while traveling this way. Using a carry-on saves money, time, and hassel. It also makes me more relaxed having an outfit planned, and having to stick to it because I don't have other options. I'd love to hear how you pack, and stay tuned for how I pack for a weekend with only a backpack, and how I pack for a week in Europe in only my carry-on!