Sunday, October 2, 2016

Tips for Carry-On Only Travel





"I've gone on a 30 day trip with only a carry-on and a different outfit everyday and so can you with the tips below I gave to my mom before she packed for our vacation to Iceland & the UK last month."

What's the point of just carrying on you ask? Oh there's plenty! First, you don't have to lug around heavy bags as you go place to place- particularly on a long travel adventure. Secondly, if you check in online then you can go straight to the security gate or just check in at a electronic kiosk. Yup, no more having to wait in lines to drop off those pesky bags! Also, in a lot of countries having carry-on only helps you go through customs faster. When entering back into the USA they even have a special line for carry-on only people (I feel so special). Lastly, you don't have to wait at the carrousel for your luggage or risk it getting lost, you can just zip on to your hotel and start your adventure.


I've gone on a 30 day trip with only a carry-on and a different outfit everyday (I swear, check my insta circa summer '15) and so can you with the tips below I gave to my mom before she packed for our vacation to Iceland & the UK last month.

1.) Rolling Duffle and a Backpack & fanny 
The real trick to traveling light is the luggage you bring and a basic spinner isn't going to cut it. For your overhead I suggest getting a rolling duffle. They're great because they give you the wheels of a traditional luggage but also the flexibility of a duffle. While I can't say it's scientifically proven, get off my hump you critics, but I can pack about 25% (or more) in a duffle since the softness of it really let's you squish stuff in. I've never had a problem fitting it in an overhead even in the smallest of planes and only one gate check ever gave me a problem. Then as my personal item to go under the seat I always choose a large backpack. The backpack lets you bring on so much more than just a simple tote or purse. My backpack even has wheels on it because I'm definitely cooler than you. Speaking of being cool, I also bring a fanny pack with me on international trips. This lets you be super handless but also have your important stuff easily accessible & safe. Also, I think gate check people think it's so weird they never considers it a personal item so you get away with bringing more on the plane.

2.) Pack Two Weeks Ahead
Even though you're packing light it doesn't mean you can pack the night before. Packing less actually takes more thought. When you're in a hurry you tend to just throw whatever is next to you into your luggage and actually overpack or don't bring the right things. So take the time and pack in advance. As the vacation approaches you'll realize you left something out or maybe can leave an item at home. It also just helps you feel less stressed out before your holiday.

3.) Pre-Plan your outfits 
Before a big trip you generally know what you're going to be doing on a day to day basis. On a piece of paper write out the days you'll be gone, what you're doing each day, and what you'd like to wear. This will help you concentrate on what you truly need. A tip for packing is to bring minimal bottoms and tons of tops. On any given trip I've got two pairs of pants/shorts & one pair of leggings- but then like 10 tops. Shirts will give you diversity. I also bring only one outfit for days that I'm traveling which I creatively call my "travel outfit". It usually consists of leggings, baggy shirt, sports bra, and a comfy pair of shoes I'll be able to utilize later on the trip as well. It also helps if your travel outfit is all black because traveling can be messy and you never know if the guy sitting next to you is going to spill wine all over your lap during turbulence. While you will smell like an alcoholic, at least you won't be able to see the wine stain until you can get it cleaned at your destination

4.) Be Realistic
So I know this doesn't count for all people, but raise your hand if you always pack gym clothes but then never actually step foot in a gym *I raise my hand slowly*. Be realistic with what activities you'll be doing and pack accordingly. I can't tell you how many times i've packed my bulky sneakers but never used them- I've legit dragged them to Japan poor things.

5.) Limit Shoes
On the shoe topic, you really don't need many! On any given trip you might need a light sneaker, a flat, a wedge, and a boot. That's all! And that's accounting for all weather situations/fun time.

6.) Check the Weather
So you're going to be in the snow one day but the beach the next, can you really just carry on? YES! Remember me talking about bringing a bunch of tops? That's your key here. Bring two warm weather pants and then two shorts- and mix up the tops, you'll have plenty to wear. I've successfully done this on a long trip to Australia during their winter and the recent trip to Iceland/UK I went on last month. Plus, the next tip is key.

7.) Bring your jacket on the plane
With strategic packing I usually have room for my parka/heavy jacket in my duffle but what if you're fully stuffed for a long trip? Bring it on the plane. They don't count jackets as a personal item and you can use it as a blanket when the plane eventually gets chilly.

8.) Board the Plane ASAP
So a lot of planes actually don't have enough room for every person to have a carry-on, so you need to be one of those obnoxious people who lingers around the front just waiting to bum rush into the line once your section is called. Better yet if you can, pay for priority boarding. Yes it's usually like 10 bucks but then you'll know there will be enough room for your bag, which is the whole point of doing carry-on only in the first place.

I got my mom to only carry-on for the adventure we went on last month and at first she thought it was totally crazy and undoable. By the end of the trip she realized that she could have brought even less and how easy our time in the airports/trains were. She's been successfully converted to the carry-on side.


I hope you also find these tips helpful and o become a carry-on only warrior too!

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