Spring Break: How to Pack a Carry-On

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We are making our way further into 2017 and summer is upon us! That means vacations, weekend trips and road trips. If you’re detailed like me, you like to plan every aspect of your trip itinerary, right down to how and what you pack.

I have had enough bad experiences with checking luggage only to discover hours later that everything spilled or something got damaged (or the bags didn’t even arrive!) to have resolved I will only do carry-ons from here on out. Or, at least whenever possible. I have taken quite a few trips now over the years with only a small carry-on bag, and so far it’s worked! If you are interested, here are a few of my tips:

Toiletries

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I actually really hate the word toiletries but it’s the only way to describe these guys. My guidelines on toiletries are simple: only take what you absolutely need.

Pare down your skincare routine to a simple face wash, and one moisturizer. Stick to the basics with your beauty routine: foundation, powder, eyeliner and mascara, and a tiny blush compact. Makeup remover wipes for the end of the day are what I consider essential items, too, but you can skip them and use a face wash to remove your makeup at the end of the day.

Also, since you are traveling and will likely be outside, bring sunscreen and a lip balm that has SPF. A few other miscellaneous items I take are a small bottle of Biosilk for my hair, eye drops, and a foldable hair brush.

Where’s the shampoo, conditioner and body wash, you ask? At the hotel! If you are traveling in the U.S. there’s a 99% chance that the hotel you are staying at already has these, or the house you are bunking at for the night has a drugstore around the corner where you can pick them up. Don’t pack your own and waste precious space, or worry nonstop about them leaking all over your clothes (they will, they always will). Unless you really, truly need to bring special haircare items, skip them.

The Rolling Method:

Everyone’s favorite Pinterest-approved packing method involves rolling your clothes instead of folding them. It may look odd, but it saves a lot of space. For our most recent trip to California I took lots of light layers: leggings, tanks, camis, a sweater and a pullover sweatshirt. I laid everything out on top of each other and simply rolled them up tightly. I wore my tennis shoes and heavier sweater on the plan since I knew they likely wouldn’t fit in my carry-on.

The clothes and my toiletries bag took up roughly the same amount of space. The only slightly frivolous thing I always take is my flat iron. I have a “good one” I keep at home and this one (pictured) is smaller and easier to travel with.

Everything fit easily into my backpack and I had room to store my wallet, phone charger, glasses case and other personal items on top and in the front and side pockets.

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What about you? Any necessities you must take on your trips? If I’m going to be gone for more than five days, of course I would take a larger bag, more clothes, etc. But for short trips, it’s so much easier to pack light.

When you have less choices you spend less time worrying about what to wear, leaving you with more time to focus on your vacation and having fun. 🙂 Leave your own packing tips below!

 

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