It only takes the airline losing your luggage once to never want to check a bag again. Add in the fact that checking a suitcase can cost $50, wastes precious travel time sitting around a baggage claim, and there’s a lot of incentive to carry-on. Here’s how I manage to fit a week’s worth of clothes in my overhead bin bag.
Pack complimenting clothing.
If you stick to a complimentary color palate, you can make just a few pieces work double or triple duty. For example, pick a white button down shirt, a blouse with a fun print and cozy sweater. Next, a great pair of jeans, dressier black pants and a chic pair of joggers or khakis. You can mix and match all of the shirts with all of the pants, creating nine outfits. Throw in a little black dress and you’re prepared for anything!
Three pairs of shoes, max.
I know I’ll get a lot of flack from shoe lovers, but look– this is about practicality! I wear one pair of shoes (hopefully the biggest ones, like a pair of boots), then make sure to pack a chic pair of flats (leopard print is my go-to!), and maybe a pair of sneakers if I have time squeeze in a run. Think of it this way– you could check your bag full of shoes, or you could buy a great new pair with the $100 you’re saving on not checking a bag both ways.
Accessories are your friend.
You might be feeling a little bor-ing with your limited wardrobe options. Cheer up, friend! This is what statement jewelry is for. Pack a few chunky necklaces, bracelets, fun earrings, and definitely a scarf (which I use to roll up all of these accessories). I always pack a tube of great red lipstick, which takes an outfit from a 6 to a 10 in seconds.
Waste no space.
Every suitcase has nooks and crannies that are often overlooked. For example, the space on the bottom of your suitcase between the sides of the roller handle. I make sure to create a base layer of stuff in my bag– like socks, undies, and other small items– to fill up that otherwise wasted space. Every square inch counts!
Forget toiletry travel sets.
Big box store offer lots of great travel items, but re-useable containers for your shampoo, conditioner and soap are not one of them. Unless you’re traveling for a month, you do not need much of any of these products (plus, I am tired of decanting my shampoo!). I say pack sample sizes of your favorite goods. Talk to folks working at the beauty counter, at stores like Sephora or Ulta for free samples; or buy smaller containers of favorites at the drug store or Target. You could also check out a Birchbox membership for a few months to really stock up on samples of nice products. They’re the perfect size for travel (and don’t take up much space). Be sure to pack your liquids in an exterior pocket for easy access in the security line.
Packing cubes for the win.
Let me shout it from the rooftop: If you’re not using packing cubes, you’re doing it wrong! They keep your bag organized, and I love the ability to move a packing cube from my suitcase right into a hotel dresser drawer (how often do you think those things get cleaned? Exactly.). A cube also makes it easy to roll your clothes, which takes up less space. High-five!
What are your best tips for carrying on? Share in the comments!
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