By the Irish seaside | Des Byrne

How to Pack Carry-on Light
for Any Trip


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By the Irish seaside | Des Byrne

How to Pack
Carry-on Light
for Any Trip


Share this Post




by Taj Bates

Not long ago, a friend of mine embarked on his first overseas vacation—to Portugal for a week. I was excited to hear all about his trip upon his return (I’m a sucker for travel stories and photos!).

Yet, when we caught up over the phone, instead of excitement and wonderment, his voice was laced with disappointment and ennui.

Why? Because, upon arriving in Portugal, he soon discovered the airline had lost his checked luggage—a screw-up that turned his rose-colored glasses a dark and moody grey for the rest of his vacay.

This is just one of the reasons why you should always pack carry-on light—whether you’re travelling for a week or two or longer.

In doing so, you will save yourself the grief that comes with checked baggage fees… lost luggage… and having to lug a heavy suitcase on trains, buses, sidewalks, stairs, etc.

Here are 5 tips n’ tricks on how you can pack everything you need in a carry-on suitcase or bag… with room to spare!




STEP 1


Think Laundry Before You Book Lodging




STEP 1


Think Laundry Before
You Book Lodging


Rome, Italy | Nick Kenrick

In most cases and to most destinations, you can pack enough clean clothes in your carry-on to last about a week.

Once you pass the one week mark, however, you’re going to want to do laundry. Which is why you should have a pretty good idea how you will wash and dry your clothes by week’s end.

Will you hand wash and air dry along the way? (Keeping in mind that, in some climates, air drying can take for-e-ver.)

Or will you use a hotel laundry service? A nearby laundromat? The washer and dryer available in a hotel suite or vacation rental?



STEP 2


Don’t Pack the Bulk, Wear It




STEP 2


Don’t Pack the Bulk, Wear It


Cologne, Germany | Thomas Leuthard


A savvy traveller rule-of-thumb is you should keep bulky items to a bare minimum—instead of bringing two sweatshirts or two pairs of jeans or two pairs of tennis shoes, just bring one.

Additionally, you should always plan to wear your bulkiest items on your person as you step onto a flight.

Coats, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, jeans, hiking boots, tennis shoes, etc., can take up a crap ton of space in a suitcase—which is glaringly noticeable when you’re trying to pack carry-on light.


How to Survive a L-O-N-G Flight

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STEP 3


Start Pre-Packing Way in Advance






STEP 3


Start Pre-Packing
Way in Advance


Along the Alexanderplatz in Berlin | Sascha Kohlmann


The surefire way to simultaneously overpack and underpack (i.e., forget important items) is to wait till the last minute to do so.

At least a month before your departure date, start drafting a list of things you need to bring on your trip. Divide the list into 3 sets or columns:

  • Stuff you need to buy—like medications or a travel-sized first-aid kit
  • Everything else you need to pack or wear on your person




STEP 4


Stick to a Color Palette




STEP 4


Stick to a Color Palette

Another savvy traveller rule-of-thumb that’s key to packing carry-on light is to only bring tops that coordinate with multiple bottoms; and vice-versa.

An easy way to achieve this is to stay within a color palette of 4 colors or less.

During a multi-week trip in Australia—which included drastically different climates, from tropical to temperate to nippy—I stuck to a color palette of coral, beige, white and grey.

In doing so, I was able to pack light and still have the flexibility to mix-n-match skirts, shorts, tops, pants and shoes based on the weather, the activity and my fashion mood for the day!




STEP 5


Divide Your Suitcase Into Quadrants




STEP 5


Divide Your Suitcase Into Quadrants

The number one thing you’re likely to overpack is clothes. Fact is, you never need the amount of clothes you think you need.

Never, ever, ever.

The best way to restrict yourself to bringing only the absolute necessities is to divide your suitcase into quadrants.

Quadrants 1 and 2 (e.g., the left half) are reserved for clothes. Any time you find yourself adding clothes to the third or fourth quadrants, you’re veering into overpacking territory and need to edit your travel wardrobe.