“Is that your only suitcase?” I was asked. Traveling with other women last week, we arrived at our destination and headed to baggage claim. I had my luggage with me; my 21″ spinner bag. They had to wait for their bags. When their luggage finally arrived, their bags looked double in size to mine. They were all flabbergasted at my little bag for a full week’s business trip. “How do you do that?” was their next question.
Ever wonder yourself how to pack everything you want and need and in just a carry-on bag? Let me share my secrets:
1) Invest in compression bags. I have tried a few brands and have found Space Bags to have the better seals. I buy a box that contains different sizes. I use one compression bag for the larger items (trousers, blouses, sweaters) and one for smaller items (workout clothes, socks, undies, etc.). Get compression bags where the excess air is rolled out, not vacuumed out, for quick and easy packing.
2) Plan on multiple uses for most items.
- Trousers can be worn twice with a different top each time.
- Cami’s worn under a blouse create a new look from the blouse alone and are easily washed out in a hotel sink.
- Mix-and-match a jacket with a dressier t-shirt (that can be worn alone on another day), a cami or blouse.
3) Dress up outfits with a scarf or jewelry to create a new look.
4) Stick with one or two color schemes for the trip. On this particular trip, I had black and gray trousers with 3 tops, and two lightweight sweaters and one scarf, with blue jeans for travel days and for casual evening time.
5) Use the smallest size bottles you can find for your makeup and facial care items. I like re-using sample-sized containers (the deals available at department store cosmetic counters are great for this!). I bring just enough facial moisturizer, night cream, shampoo and conditioner for my trip all in 3 oz. (100 ml.) containers or less. See my article on Healthy Facial and Body Care Away From Home for more ideas on doing more with less.
6) Wear the heaviest items on flight days to help keep your luggage weight and bulkiness down. On this trip I wore blue jeans along with the white sweater over a top.
7) Get over not having a different pair of shoes for every day. Again, wear the heaviest (or bulkiest) on travel days (choose easy-to-remove shoes for easier navigation through airport security if you don’t have TSA PreCheck); bring one other pair plus perhaps flip flops or a nice pair of sandals.
Voila! You now have the makings for a carry-on bag!