As you might have seen, Xan and I spent the last week in Southern California with his parents, his brother, and his brother’s girlfriend. We’ve had a great time and I’ll be posting more about the trip in the next few weeks. But, today I’m going to talk about packing in a carry on.
Living so far away from home I’ve flown more in the last few years than ever before and am really getting it down to a science. My number one tip is to pack in a carry on if at all possible. For me, the biggest reason is because your bag will never get lost. What a pain it would be to get to your vacation and have nothing! But, it’ll also save you some money because you won’t have to pay to check your bag. And it will save you from waiting in line at the check-in counter and more importantly at baggage claim when you’re ready to get on with your adventure.
I know it can seem impossible to pack everything you need for a week or two long vacation. Especially if you’re used to car travel with all the extra room you need. But, trust me, you can definitely do it and it’s so worth it.
Here are a few tips to help you get started!
1. Be strategic. Think about how much of your wardrobe you can overlap. Bring pieces that can easily mix and match to pull double duty.
2. Be realistic. Those tennis shoes take up a lot of real estate – are you really going to work out? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought my work out gear with every intention of hitting the gym and never do. Usually it’s because I’m too worn out from walking all over and exploring, which is a workout in and of itself. A few others - do you really need that straightener and that curling iron? You could probably use one less set of PJs than you think. And, be careful about how many sweaters you pack.
3. Be resourceful. Is there a washing machine or laundry mat nearby? Use it! The first time Xan and I went back to NC after moving here we stayed for two weeks and I fit everything in my carry on (including different outfits for two weddings, one as a guest and one as Matron of Honor). The thing that saved us was doing a load of laundry here and there during the trip. It makes a huge difference, plus if you can squeeze one in right before you head back home it’s pretty awesome to have a suitcase full of clean clothes!
4. Plan ahead. Mock-pack your suitcase a few days ahead when you have more free time. This way you’ll see how much space you have, if you need to cut anything, or if you have room for more. Leave anything you’re not going to use before the trip in the suitcase. Make a list of the things you need to take out so in your last minute packing rush you won’t forget anything!
5. Have fun with it. You’re going on vacation! Don’t make it too stressful. You can pack all kinds of fun clothes and accessories, don’t sweat it too much. Go with what you love and you’ll be happy. And remember, if you forget something you can always buy a replacement when you get there.