carry-on packing tips

Lo & Sons bag

i’ve become somewhat an expert at packing lightly in the last few years. i used to do a lot of traveling for work and after last summer’s trip to scandenavia and last christmas’ two week trip from SF to LA to Ohio and back, i’ve refined what to pack all within a carry-on. there’s nothing wrong with checking bags, i just have zero patience for waiting around after a flight, nor do i want to pay extra for the bags. it’s also weirdly a great feeling to consolidate what you’re packing into one bag that comes and goes with you on the plane.

i’ve had friends {usually guys who want me to share tips with their girlfriends – ha!!} comment about how lightly i pack for trips, so thought i would finally share a quick post with carry-on packing tips! the timing is actually perfect, as i JUST packed my carry-on and heading out tonight on a 10-day trip to ohio and nicaragua. in ohio, it’ll be mid-80s and semi-rainy. i’ll be attending a wedding and my own bridal shower and hanging out with our families. in nicaragua, i’ll be in san juan del sur to celebrate another beautiful friend couple’s wedding. i’ve never been and SO excited. it’ll be high-80s/90s and HOT, HOT, HOT.

tips for your carry-on only trip:

  • find a carry-on that works for you and that you LOVE. this catalina carry-on bag from Lo & Sons has been a game-changer for me. it’s soft and has two sections: the main area and a bottom zipper pocket that is perfect for holding shoes + my toiletries bag
  • give yourself enough time to pack. packing strategically doesn’t happen last minute. i often pack and repack and usually make a list of things i pack beforehand so i don’t miss anything
  • how to pack: shoes always go at the bottom of the suitcase, along with heavier items like jeans. i roll as many items as i can, as it’s the most effective way to fit the most items in your bag. the things i can’t roll, i fold at the top of the bag and fit smaller items within the crevices
  • outfit coordinate in advance: again, this takes time beforehand, but has been really helpful for me and ensures i’m not packing things that i won’t end up wearing. i make sure tops/bottoms can go together and figure out what shoes go with what outfits. typically, i pack 90% neutrals so everything easily goes together. for this summer trip though, the clothes were obviously much less bulky than my winter clothes, so I could fit in more things + I wanted to wear colorful things because SUMMER + WARM WEATHER
  • pick the right plane outfit: for this trip, i’ll be wearing black leggings, a long gray tank top, thin denim jacket and black tennis shoes on all of the flights. selecting the right plane outfit is especially important traveling in the winter, because you’ll want to wear your heaviest items {for me a large coat + hunter boots} on the plane
  • use your ‘other’ carry-on {purse} for the extras: for me, it’s iPad, phone, laptop, wallet, passport, chargers, socks to wear on the plane, water bottle, keys, chapstick, other ‘purse items’

what i packed for this trip in my carry-on:

dresses: five total; silky pink dress borrowed from a friend, flowy orange dress {good as a beach coverup}, this white ASTR/Nordstrom dressthis printed ZARA dress and this off-the-shoulder striped dress

shorts: two denim, one flowy black with polka dots, one fancier black skort

shirts: three thin solid tanks, two sheer tops, one fancier tank, one swimsuit cover-up top

swimsuits: three – two florals, one cheetah print

shoes: heeled sandals {for weddings and bridal shower}, two other strappy sandals, one pair of tennis shoes

other: one flowy floral jumpsuit borrowed from a friend {thinking of wearing to one of the weddings!}, rain jacket {apparently it rains off and on all the time in nica}, workout outfit {shorts, sports bra, tank}, pink fringe purse, underwear + bras, jewelry, HAT! {i just ordered this summer-y one from j.crew and shipped it to ohio}

makeup bag

toiletries bag: shampoo/conditioner/body wash, face wash, dry shampoo, hair products – hairspray, hair brush, surf spray, bumble & bumble hairdresser’s oil {LIFESAVER}, makeup remover, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, etc.

it’s obviously a little trickier to pack a carry-on for a long trip in the winter, but it’s completely doable! for me, the trick is packing and wearing a lot of neutrals. hope you found this post helpful! xo


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