Most people think that they have to check big, bulky bags every time they travel for two weeks. But that is just not true. I promise that you can pack everything you need for your entire trip, in carry-on luggage. For most commercial airlines, carry-on luggage is defined as one bag that fits in the overhead compartment (a small rolling suitcase) and a personal item that can fit underneath the seat in front of you (backpack/purse). **Always check with the airline you are flying with to be sure that your bag(s) are within their restrictions.**
To begin, check out my post on “Packing 101” if you have questions of what to pack exactly.
Recently, I got back from a 17-day trip to the United States. With that being said, I was able to pack everything I needed in a rolling suitcase and a backpack. The key is: packing only what you really need. Also, I was staying with family the majority of the trip, so I was able to utilize a laundry room. –If you are not staying somewhere you can do laundry, you can always hand wash in the bathroom sink/tub and hang dry.
3 Pairs of jeans (to include the ones I wore to the airport)
1 Pair of capri pants
1 Pair of dress slacks
2 Pairs of gym shorts
1 Pair of pajama shorts
4 Regular tank tops
2 Dressy tank tops
7 Short sleeve t-shirts
2 Long sleeve t-shirts
1 Nice sweater
1 Button up shirt
1 Light jacket
2 Light cover-up jackets
1 Rain jacket
1 Heavier jacket
10 Pairs of socks
17 Pairs of underwear (only 5 bras)
1 Pair of tennis shoes
1 Pair of flip flops/shower shoes
1 Pair of slide on shoes
1 Pair of heels
1 Neck pillow w/covering
An assortment of pens/pencils
1 Package of wet wipes
1 Pack of playing cards
1 Portable charger
1 Necklace w/case
1 Pair of sunglasses
Chargers for tablet, phone, and portable charger
1 Water bottle (empty)
1 Wallet (w/passport)
A few Ziploc bags
And that is all I took with me. But if you notice, I took a total of 5 pairs of pants, 11 shirts (not including tank-tops), enough underwear to last the entire time and in reality I think I packed too much. But, I would have been able to last off of all of these things even if I never did laundry. –Which, I only did because I worked out a few times while I was there.
The tank tops were great to throw under one of the light cover-ups or jacket(s). Just make sure that the things you pack can be used in different ways.
Now, to the packing itself.
Personally, I always start by picking out what I am going to wear to the airport. With that being said, I choose the heavier items to wear. For example, a pair of jeans, a long sleeve shirt (w/ a tank top underneath), a pair of underwear, socks, tennis shoes, the bulkier jacket, and sunglasses. Once you have picked your airport attire, set it aside.
Next, I move on to my backpack/day bag. This is where I put all of my little things (i.e. chargers, notebook, pens, etc.) and I also include another full outfit. I chose the following: flip flops, a pair of jeans, underwear, socks, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. I pack the clothing first, in the bottom of the bag, rolled as tight as possible.
Packing Order for Backpack:
First, place Ziploc bag of underwear, rolled clothes and purse in bottom of the bag.
Second, slide notebook against the back of the bag and flip flops on either side of the clothing.
Third, place pens, cards and chargers in the front pockets of the bag.
Fourth, make-up and hair brush in the top of the bag.
Lastly, pack the neck pillow in the top, rain jacket in one of the side cup holders, and water bottle in the other side.
Now you are done with bag number one!
**However, you pack your backpack, I highly suggest lining the bottom of the bag with the flat items and putting the things you will use on the plane near the top.**
Moving on to the main event bag (the rolling suitcase). Personally, I like using a hard-shelled suitcase because there is extra room in the top and if someone else’s bag leaks it will not get into your stuff. With that being said, I start with the top part of the suitcase. This is where I will put my slip on shoes, heels, and socks. Hint: Put your socks inside of your shoes to pack them easily. I also put some of my tank tops and jackets in Ziploc bags (with the air taken out) and place the bags in the top compartment as well.
For the bottom area, I simply roll my shirts and shorts (shown below) and fold my pants. Placing them on either side of the suitcase. Lastly I throw in a Ziploc bag(s) of my underwear and I am good to go!
Here is the video of how I packed everything: https://youtu.be/q4ohcaJpypQ
I hope this helps all of the travelers out there, especially on your next adventure! If you have any suggestions on how to pack for a long trip, please feel free to comment below.
Get packing, and see the world!
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