Leave your worries behind… and half your baggage too! Despite how much you think you simply can’t live without, you’d be surprised just how easy it is to enjoy a comfortable holiday using just a carry-on.
As I was packing for my three week honeymoon to Bali and Thailand with a stopover in Singapore and Malaysia, I remember being asked how in the world I would survive using only a carry-on. While the plan was to buy some clothes once we arrived, I quickly realized that there was nothing I needed that wasn’t already in my bag. There are a few secrets that help when attempting to pack half your life in a tiny piece of luggage, and I’d love to share:
1. Don’t forget tip #1. Roll your clothes! This will save you a bunch of space, leaving you with more room for the luxury items you can’t leave behind.
2. Think in combinations: It is amazing how many outfits you can make with limited clothing. First of all, choose 3-4 staple bottoms: 2 pairs of jeans, a pair (or two) of shorts, and one skirt or dress that can be worn on a ‘special’ occasion, fancy or official outing. Then choose 10 tops that can be rolled into the bottom of your case. The secret here is to make sure that all your tops can be worn with all your bottoms and that all your outfits can be worn with the 1-2 pairs of shoes you’ll be taking with you. One of these pairs will most likely be a running pair, so choose the other wisely. If they’re going to be flip flops, make the fancy outfit a summer dress! This gives you a multitude of outfits to choose from! One more hint? Don’t pack outfits that require accessorizing. Bring a belt just in case you haven’t done laundry in a while and those pants begin to fall, but otherwise K-I-S-S: Keep it super simple.
2. Remember airport security. Ditch the scissors, the Swiss Army Knife (I’ve lost two to date), and any liquids that are more than 100ml. Keep in mind you can buy beauty items on the ground (even half way across the world), many of which are much cheaper than comparable items purchased in preparation for your trip. Don’t try to stuff five tubes of toothpaste in your carry-on: one will do! And remember that you’re on vacation. Chances are you won’t run into someone you know, so if you have to use the hotel shampoo sans conditioner the first few nights, you’ll live. If you’re really suffering, buy it there.
4. Ladies, things ones for you. Go through your daily routine. What can’t you live without? So you’ve given up the accessorizes, now is the time to pick your top three things you must have before walking through the door every morning. This doesn’t include things you need like a toothbrush, hairbrush, Q-Tips etc. These include things that you could live without but you choose not to like jewelry, hairspray, beauty products, etc . My favourites here include perfume (I don’t mind sweating but I like feeling fresh), a hair curler or a round brush (even I like to vary things up on vacation a bit) and a small make-up bag containing one cover-up, one mascara and a lip gloss. Ta-da, ready to conquer the amazon, or wherever your travels might take you.
5. Leave room for “things”: It’s easy to get caught up in cramming as many clothes as possible into your carry-on but don’t forget to either a) pack an additional carry-on like a purse or smaller backpack to hold by your feet, or b)leave room for the “things”. These include cameras, books, passports, wallets, all the fun stuff that you really can’t do without. You also want to be sure not to stuff things too tightly lest you decide to invest in one or two souvenirs during your travels.
Okay, you’re ready to go! Grab your carry-on, skip those airport lines and hit the road running.