So when Rob told me that he would be traveling with only a carry on bag and small backpack on our three-week-long trip to Paris, I was interested, but skeptical. How could I possible carry everything I needed in such a small space? I pulled out every item I would normally have packed and started sorting. This first attempt took several hours of planning, rearranging, tossing out, negotiating with myself...but by the time we left for France, I had successfully packed a 22" x 14" x 9" suitcase and the backpack with a complete travel wardrobe.
After fifteen years of traveling with our carry on bags, I can't imagine ever going back. We never have the worry of lost luggage. There is no more waiting in long lines at baggage claim. Best of all, walking through the cobblestone streets of Europe and tramping up and down the many steps of the charming older hotels that we prefer is so much easier with a small suitcase.
With the new baggage check costs imposed by many airlines in the past few years, Rob and I have been joined by many other travelers who rely on carry on. In fact, our biggest luggage challenge now is finding enough space in the overhead bins on the airplane. Yet I still have many friends who insist that they could never fit their travel wardrobe into a such a small suitcase. To them, I say, "Yes, you can!" In fact, on my last two trips, I found that I had over-packed! Here are some photos of the wardrobe I packed for a trip to Maine this month. When I unpacked, I discovered that there were two blouses I had never even worn.
Tip #2: Mix and match! (I focused on black, brown, and blue on this trip.) Every piece of clothing should go with at least two other pieces. Stick with a neutral color palette and use scarves to accessorize. Use skirts instead of dresses. Layer thinner items rather than relying on thick, bulky clothing. And remember, if you travel from place to place, no one you see except your traveling companion knows that you have worn the same item four times on the trip.
Tip#3: Minimize the amount of underwear you take. Invest in some quick-dry underwear and simply wash it out every few days.
Tip #4: Reduce the number of shoes you take. Unless you are traveling "upscale," you don't need fancy shoes. In fact, one pair of good walking shoes can get you through almost any situation. In the summer, a couple of pairs of comfortable sandals can serve for both casual and dress.
|Ziplock baggies are essential!|
A daily pillbox and a small cosmetics bag takes care of most of the other small items you will need.
|These were all the items in my small backpack.|
Tip #6: A tablet or iPad replaces a myriad of other items. It serves as a notebook and journal. It stores your travel documents and photos of your passport. It carries your music library, your downloaded movies, and dozens of books.
Tip #6: Experiment with the packing method that suits you best. Some people swear by rolling clothes, but I find that I can pack more by laying items flat.
|All packed and ready to go!|