Packing for a trip takes time. But packing for a 2-week European vacation in one (yes, one!) carry-on (each) took serious planning! But I finally figured out how to pack a carry-on for a 2-week vacation, I’m so excited!
Last time Matt and I went to Europe our luggage was lost! So annoying and inconvenient. We were in a few small towns in France the first few days so there was no way we were getting our luggage. A few days later we were headed to Paris, the luggage finally made it there. Thankfully I packed some clothes (not cute ones, BTW) in our carry-on bags so we had to make do with what we had. It worked but wasn’t ideal. For example, having a private dinner at a Michelin star restaurant wearing jeans, not ideal at all! This time around I refused to deal with lost luggage. Everything was going into our carry-on suitcases which meant more planning.
In my early 20’s, I would pack a whole large suitcase (that had to be checked) for a 3 day vacation that consisted of 6 pairs of shoes, 10 outfits and pajamas, all my makeup, accessories and etc. I wouldn’t wear 1/4 of the things I brought. Fast forward 10 years and I finally learned my lesson, bring what you will REALLY wear!
Here is how I planned to pack everything in my carry-on for a 2-week vacation:
1.) Make a List
I forget everything! I have to make a list before packing or there will be something Matt and I are hunting down when we get to our location. Clothes/outfits I am usually ok with not forgetting but the actual backpack carry-on…total space cadet! I think the backpack carry-on is so difficult because I am using most of those items until we leave for the airport (i.e. my makeup, charger, computer, etc.). I have to make sure everything is written down and I check it off the list as I am putting it into the backpack. Side note: I thought backpacks were not “chic” until recently. They are the best thing EVER and soo easy to travel with. I get super stressed out trying to put my suitcase in the overhead bin when I have my hands full but now that is not longer a problem. I’m totally handsfree and I love it!
2.) Plan your Outfits
I always plan ahead what our itinerary will be each day. Based on what we will be doing, I plan my outfits! I know when I travel I like to do a “marathon day” meaning when we leave the hotel in the morning, we don’t return until bedtime. Most of the time (75% of the time), I wear the same outfit all day. The only time in life that I have FOMO (fear of missing out) is on vacation. I don’t want to waste anytime traveling back to the hotel to change just to leave again. An extra 2 hours most of the time because a nap is usually involved too. I take just enough outfits for the days I am there and then a few extras for nice dinners.
3.) Plastic Storage Bags
The best idea EVER! I looked into packing cubes but after doing some research packing clothes into the packing cubes just didn’t make sense. They were $20 for a variety pack and I would have to buy 4 packs just to get the cubes I wanted, so I decided to skip that purchase. I usually pack everything else in to plastic storage bags (makeup, toiletries, underwear) so why not clothes?! Yesterday I saw that Amber Fillerup was doing it too so I thought I was a total genius…not really! It works though. I picked up 3 boxes of the jumbo zip storage bags and packed each outfit separate. Don’t forget to iron them before placing them into the plastic bag. It saves time in the long run. I packed each outfit into a storage bag: under garments, dress/outfit, socks. Make sure the air is out of the bag and it will lay flat in the suitcase.
I make a total mess out of my suitcase normally but I am excited that now I can rifle through my suitcase without messing up any of my other outfits. Just unzip and I have an outfit! Plus my dirty clothes can be placed back into the storage bag that night. No more mixing dirty clothes with clean clothes. It is seriously the best thing ever and so organized!
Packing a carry-on for a 2-week vacation hasn’t been that hard. It just took some planning ahead. Planning ahead the outfits, undergarments, socks, shoes and accessories is a huge weight off my shoulders. I won’t waste anytime while we are there. Plus we don’t have to worry if our luggage will make it on the airplane or not. We will have everything we need with us!
Do you pack everything for your trip into a carry-on?