September Travel Series | Packing Carryon Bags Only

Packing for a trip of any length can be challenging. You have to consider where you are going, special activities, the length of time, and the place(s) you are staying. This month, we’ll be traveling twice—a wedding and a pre-move strategy trip. Because these trips are different lengths of time and have different purposes, I thought I’d show you some tips I’ve picked up along the way—allowing me to not forget anything and to travel confidently.

Trip One—Wedding!
Length of Time: 4 days
Occasion: Wedding Celebration!
# of Occasion Related Outfits: 3

Tip 1: Write It Out; Plan Ahead

Get specific and you won’t forget it! It doesn’t matter if I’m visiting for a single night or 10, I ALWAYS start by writing out the following (in table form):

Days and Date (include travel days)
Temperature and General Weather (66 and clear)
Any scheduled activities (special dinner, wedding, travel day, etc.)

After writing days out, I start with the basics. Underclothing, pajamas, and specific outfits. This trip has 2 ‘specific outfits’, my jumper (rehearsal/dinner) and bridesmaids dress (wedding) with coordinating shoes. I also know that each travel day will have a comfortable outfit. The first travel day, though, I’ll be wearing my comfy outfit and bringing a nicer shirt to change into.

Something to note, my travel day pants and shoes are at least worn one extra day to lighten the load. 

Once I have figured out what I’ll be wearing each day, I add 1-2 gym outfits (depending on time, but not this time), running shoes (not this time), a sweatshirt or coat (depending on seasons), and one baggy long sleeve shirt. I find that having just these few extras allows me to not worry if I ruin an outfit or want to go for a run.

Lastly, I write out what I need to bring as far toiletries, electronics, bags/purses, and so on.

I usually write everything the week before I need to go. This gives me time to add or subtract items to the list and buy necessities.   

Tip 2: Lay It Out; Consolidating Is Key!

Laying out everything on the list before packing allows me to consolidate. I can choose a color palette for the trip (usually neutrals). I can skim down on pants, shoes, jewelry, outerwear, even makeup. Skimming down like this also allows for more space in the suitcase for items acquired at your destination.

After skimming down, this is what I’m bringing, not including wedding festivity outfits.

1 dark wash jean
1 blue sweater
1 gray sweatshirt
3 Semi-fitted long sleeve shirts
1 Tank top
1 Baggy long sleeve shirt
1 Button up shirt
1 Pair of pajamas
4 Paris of socks & undergarments
1 Short
1 Sweatpant
1 Scarf
1 Brown booties (wear everyday)
1 Flip Flops (pedicure)
1 Lace up shoe (in case it rains)
1 Oversized clutch (doubles as wallet)
Jewelry & Makeup

Day 1 Travel Day
Day 2 Before Rehearsal Festivities
General: Pajama top, sweatshirt, and baggy shirt
Day 3 Wedding Day button up and tank! Plus sweatpants, and shorts
Day 4 Travel Day

For those interested, my event attire is limited to the bare necessities.

Bridesmaid dress
Nude flats

Tip 3: Break It Up

For shorter trips, like this one, I try to only use carry-on bags. Carry-on #1 I treat as though I can’t access until I arrive at my destination. Carry-on #2 I have total access to throughout the trip; each bag getting packed accordingly. This way, if the airline needs to check a bag due to overbooking, I can immediately hand them a bag without having to go through the contents.

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