Carry-On Crisis: Top 6 Tips for Packing Light

Hi everyone! I got back from my trip across the pond just a few weeks ago and haven’t quite had time to write a ton about it.

One question I’ve gotten a ton since being back is “how did you bring everything you needed for 16 days in a carry-on?” Honestly, thinking about all the stuff I had, it really was a miracle.

For those of you who don’t know, I traveled to 7 different countries with just a carry-on suitcase and a Patagonia day backpack. I took 8 planes and countless busses and trains during my time abroad.

Packing for 16 days is difficult, especially when each place you go has a different weather pattern.

I’ll leave you with a few tips to help you deal with your very own “carry-on crisis”!

Tip #1: Vacuum Seal Bags

You can buy super cheap vacuum seal bags at places like Target or TJ Maxx for $5 or less. They’re a life saver, especially for winter trips because they truly do shrink things down to make more room in your suitcase. The best part- you just need a clip (provided in the box) and your bodyweight to shrink them.

Tip #2: Plan your outfits before you go

Planning outfits before you go saves you from packing useless things and also forgetting something essential!

I planned for everyday: packing shirts, pants, and skirts that I could easily mix and match for places with different types of weather. I also packed shoes that could go with any type of outfit: jeans, dresses, skirts, etc. Dresses are also great for warm, or semi-warm weather because you can always throw a sweater over your shoulders if you get cold and you can re-wear them easily!

Planning your outfits everyday will make sure you have what you want for creating the perfect outfit for each destination. It will also save you time on your vacation so you don’t spend minutes in front of the mirror trying on different combos!

Here’s an example:

Tip #3: Buy cheap socks & underwear that you can throw away

Something I decided to do for this trip was throw away my socks and underwear after I wore them. This freed up room by the end of the trip and I didn’t have to lug around smelly underwear and socks all trip!

I got 14 pairs of socks at Primark for $7 ($3.50 for a pack of 7)

I got 16 pairs of underwear at Primark for $10 (some were $1 each and some were on sale for $.50)

The underwear was especially great because it comes pre-rolled up so it already saves a ton of room in the suitcase! For the price, they were great quality and I’m definitely going to do this every time in the future when I can only use a carry-on.

Tip #4: Roll your clothes

I used to not believe in rolling clothes, but I swear it helps! It definitely gets rid of the extra air and small little spaces. I roll one layer of clothes and then would put a smaller layer on top of them like t-shirts and other light items.

As you can see in the picture below, there’s really no wiggle room. That allows you to make the most out of your dead space to add more clothes, or save room for some on-the-trip purchases.

Tip #5: Bring a backpack with you

Every plane I’ve been on (at least in Europe) lets you bring a carry on and a personal item. For me, that personal item is a day backpack that fits a TON. It is a lifesaver, and I wouldn’t have been able to bring a lot of my stuff without it.

In my backpack, I packed all of my cameras, my journal, my flip flops and sneakers, and all of my postcards. It also contained all of my chargers and cords along with a day purse and smaller backpack that I used to carry around the cities.

Below is the exact backpack I used. The straps are great because if you pull them tight, it makes the bag look smaller! It comfortably fits under the seats in most planes and it has a ton of pockets too!

Tip #6: Pack your liquids in your backpack

In Europe especially, their version of TSA is super strict about liquids and always wants them out and visible. They also are super strict about only having ONE of those pre-approved liquid bags. If you have more than that, you may need to throw some things out.

Putting liquids in your backpack will remove those awkward, clunky spaces from your carry on. It will also help when you need to take out your liquids at the airport. Sometimes taking out your liquids will mess up the organization of everything else in your bag!

Well, I hope this helps out all of my pals who will be suffering with just a carry-on! As always, feel free to reach out through the comments or on my instagram @bost0nandbeyond

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