I have been asked repeatedly for suggestions on how to travel in a carryon since my trip to Europe for a month where I accomplished exactly that. It is not only possible but easy and makes travel more pleasant since you’re not hauling a huge suitcase everywhere with you. And since you have fewer choices it makes it easier to get dressed - bonus! The most important thing to remind yourself is that no one really cares what you are wearing - travel is about what you are experiencing - not how you look. And no one is keeping track of how many times you wore it!
First of all you need the right supplies. The current maximum size suitcase on a domestic flight is 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches, and that must include the wheels and handle. Some international flights allow a slightly larger size but just get one that will work on domestic flights to be sure. I have a Travelpro Max-lite 4 22 inch roller bag. Travelpro is a common choice of pilots, flight attendants and airline employees so I thought that was a good recommendation.
I got my suitcase and many of my travel supplies from a great website called eBags.com. Go to the website and sign up for their emails. They will email you everyday with a 25 or 30% discount on anything on the site, and they have great sales all the time. Never pay full price for anything. Tomorrow you will get an email offering you a discount. True!
Another thing I highly recommend are getting some packing cubes. You can also get these from the eBags site. They come in lots of different sizes but the medium and small are the most versatile - the large are too big for a carryon. The packing cubes help you pack efficiently and keep outfits or like items together. For example you can keep all your shirts in one cube, underwear and socks in another etc. and your clothing gets way less wrinkled. This has been a huge help to me when I’m staying in a small space or with other people and you don’t have anywhere to unpack into or no time to do it. You can just pull out the packing cube you need and everything else stays nicely in the suitcase.
What takes up the most space in your suitcase? Shoes! You need to take two pair and a pair of flip flops. One pair should be a pair of very comfortable walking shoes or gym shoes. If they are gym shoes they should preferably be solid black. Black gym shoes look much nicer than colorful ones so that makes them more versatile. The other pair should also be very comfortable but able to be worn for something a little dressier. I have a pair of gray slip on loafers that are labeled a walking shoe. I can wear them out for a nice dinner or on an all day walking tour if necessary. Don’t take anything you haven’t totally broken in. You don’t want to find out on a trip that they give you blisters. That will ruin your day for sure. That’s it for shoes!
As far as clothing - think one basic neutral color scheme. Either black/gray/white or browns and tan. Everything needs to go with everything. That way you can just wear what’s fairly clean, emphasis on fairly clean. Unless you are working out or running lots of miles your clothes are not getting dirty and you can wear them multiple times before they need to be washed. Especially jeans. You shouldn’t be washing your jeans hardly ever - which makes them a great travel choice.
* 3 pairs of pants (and that includes the ones you are wearing) Preferably 2 jeans and one pair of nice neutral ones
* 2 pairs of shorts
* 6 shirts - 3 long sleeve and 3 short sleeve
* 1 pretty blouse for going out
* 1 cardigan
* 1 light weight rain jacket
* 1 pair workout pants or capris
* 1 pair of pajamas ( only one!)
* 1 swim suit
* 1 scarf to dress up your tshirts
* 5 pairs of underwear (Try ExOfficio Travel underwear - wash in the sink and dries fast)
* 6 pairs of socks - 3 for gym shoes and 3 for the other shoes (pack them in your shoes)
* 1 hat - straw, baseball, visor etc.
* jacket/coat - I usually bring my jean jacket. It can be worn anywhere!
* Travel size toiletries
You can adapt this list depending on where or when you are going. If you know you will only need pants just bring an extra pair instead of the shorts. Same with shirts. Go with all long sleeve and a warmer sweater. If you need a heavier coat than skip the jacket and light weight rain coat.
Other things that you want to bring:
* portable phone/computer charger
* hand wipes
* Travel Kleenex
* plastic bags - a few assorted sizes, gallon, quart, snack ( you can put wet or damp things in so they don’t get your other things wet.
* Travel clothesline (available at Travel store and needs no clothes pins)
* Travel laundry detergent strips
* sewing kit
* travel umbrella
* adaptors if leaving the US
* rubber door stop for security in an Airbnb
* light weight gloves
* money belt or secure cross body purse
* pashmina or shawl for the airplane or restaurants
If you like wash cloths and are going to Europe most hotels and Airbnb’s don’t have them available. Bring one or two of your old ones and keep them in a plastic bag and when you are heading home just throw them in the trash.
In your personal item put your travel documents, iPad or computer, book to read, passport, etc.
That’s my list! I hope it helps you travel lighter but still have everything you need for a fun and memorable trip. I’m keeping this list handy since I’m leaving very soon on my next adventure! Check back to read about that soon😊