Travel Tip Tuesday: Carry-on Only Packing List


Travel Tip Tuesday

In case I haven’t said it before, I am a fan of carry-on only luggage. You are in and out of the airport in record time, you don’t have to wait for baggage claim, you can easily jump on and off trains and buses and possibly best of all, you won’t lose your goods.

But traveling light isn’t easy. In fact, it is downright hard. Knowing what to take, what to leave and how to dress for two weeks without wearing the same ‘ole grimy clothes over and over takes practice. It’s a skill, even.

So, I’ll help you out.

Here are six tips for traveling “carry-on only” on your next trip

1. If you don’t already have a standard packing list, stop what you are doing and make a list now. Click here for more information on creating your personalized custom packing list.

2. Review your list and question every item. Do you really need those extra t-shirts? Where will you wear those new strappy sandals? If you don’t absolutely need that item, mark it off.

As a guide, my clothing list usually consists of:

* 3-4 tops

* 2-3 pairs of pants or skirts

* 1 black cardigan

* 3-4 pairs of socks/personal items

* 1 pair of PJs

* 1 swimsuit (when applicable)

* 2-3 scarves (when applicable)

* a hat

* 1 pair nice(r) shoes

* 1 pair walking shoes

* 1 pair house shoes/flip flops

3. Prepare your Toiletries. Since you are limited in the liquids you can take on board, choose wisely. I usually carry a travel-size deodorant, refresher spray, toothpaste and sample-sized packets of shower gel and shampoo. Remember, you can always purchase toothpaste or larger liquids once you arrive at your destination. Don’t forget to include an extra Ziploc bag for contact solution or prescription medicine.

4. Select your Extras. I consider “extras” everything that isn’t clothing, shoes or toiletries. Yes, you have to carry a hairbrush, so add that to your list, as well as your camera and charger, OTC medicine, sunglasses and umbrella.

5. Organize your Paperwork. In a small folder organize your travel documents, passport copies and e-ticket receipts. I pack them in the front of my carry-on for easy access.

6. Choose your Fun Stuff. Everything else is the fun stuff-a book to read on the plane, a magazine, a foreign-language phrase book … whatever you need to pass your travel time. I pack my MP3 in my purse and keep a book, journal and pen within reach. You would also include your travel pillow and eye mask in this category.

Did I forget anything? What do you always carry with you when you travel carry-on only? What is one thing you could never leave behind?

Until next time … Buon Viaggio!

7 Responses
  1. hmmm I guess for a weekend trip I can do carry on only.

    Not for anything over a week, overseas and especially with all the carry on restrictions. That said I do pack light. I just can’t get it down to a carry on.

    If you fly though the UK you are only allowed one carry on and your purse/messenger bag counts as a carry on (not a personal item) so connecting through the UK I had to check my luggage.

    I actually try not to connect through the UK if possible.
    Really? I’ve never encountered that. I’m flying through London this go around … we will see how it goes. I usually try to tuck my purse into my carry on, WHEN POSSIBLE, for issues like that. Of course-it usually isn’t possible. lol

  2. carol

    OK, here’s the challenge…..could you do *carry-on only* for 1 month?
    It is definitely harder to do for a month, but as long as the weather will be more or less the same in that month, I think it is doable. I’d carry clothes I can easily hand wash and buy shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, etc all once I arrived.

  3. I am going to print out this post and others pertaining to packing – to keep handy.
    I’ll be doing carry-ons and checked luggage too.
    Thanks for this post!
    Prego. I hope they can help.
    jmisgro’s last blog post..I made some $$$…

  4. My problem is always in the ‘fun stuff’ category . . . i always panic I’ll run out of good books or magazines!

    I just did Madrid for a week carry-on only — and I took gifts for four people with me! I thought I’d travel back light, but darnit, they all gave me something too. ;p
    Ha … well that is a fun problem!

  5. My husband and I went to Rome for 10 days with only carry-on Rick Steves backpack luggage. Our only problem was that on the return trip we had been given wine to take home! 🙂

    We are now planning a month in northern Italy for May, and again, do not need more luggage. We are 57 & 60 years old and don’t want to be dragging luggage on and off all the trains.

    I’m a believer that you don’t need more clothes for a month than for a week. We can hand wash items now and then when we need to.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Great philosophy! The liquids restriction is what keeps me from traveling carry on sometimes (or buying good wine or liquor I’d really love to have!)

    .-= Nancy Simioni´s last blog ..Giro del Simioni e Italia 2010! Family in Gorla Minore and Belluna, Italy? =-.

  6. Last year in October my husband and I( in our late 40’s) travelled from Australia and did 5 weeks Italy (warm), Paris (wet, cold), Barcelona (Wet, cold) and Kuala Lumpor (hot,steamy). So we needed an assortment of clothing. We used a carry on each and it was amazing how well we managed. We wore sneakers on the plane as they take up heaps of the room and packed one pair of sandals each. At the airport at check in we tied a jumper around our waists and wore jeans, jumper with a t shirt underneath plus our overcoats. Sounds messy but it looked fine. All anyone else saw was jeans jumper and coat. We packed,5 tops each, 1 extra pair of jeans, shorts and half a dozen undies etc plus swinmming togs and toiletries. Amazing how much room we had. After we had checked it all in we took off the overcoat and extra jumper and carried them over our arms. No problem with this at all. In fact we realised how valuable jeans are on the holiday as you can awear a pair all week and they still look fine. We did a wash each week and threw it all in the washer and then the dryer. What an easy holiday. And no we didnt look scruffy in daggy old clothes. We still looked smart and clean all the trip. Will certainly pack like this again in the future.

    Thanks for sharing the details of your packing list. I agree-you can pack well and still look smart! On a related note, I find that dark jeans wear/travel better and are more flexible for “nicer” occasions.

  7. Jeni

    I am so glad I found this blog. I’m going to Tuscany and Rome in 25 days and I’m not sure what to pack. I always take clothes that never come out of my suitcase so this time I was going to be strict and pack everything into my carry on. If it doesn’t fit in there then it won’t be going into my suitcase.

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