Packing 103

packing 103, why + how I travel with carry-ons[trip style = any]

Aside from talking trip styles, one of my favorite topics is packing: tricks, tips, carry-ons, new suitcases, etc.. Recently my friends asked me how I managed in Australia for just under 3 weeks of travel with one carry-on and a purse. My brief thoughts and strategies below.

Every trip I've taken since starting Trip Styler in late 2009 has been with a carry-on, whether the trip style is weekending, urban, beach, sun, spa, adventure, ski, or a combo of styles, it's always, always carry-on. The only exception I'd make is a ski trip abroad, which involves a ton of winter gear---unless you were to rent it there.

Why Two months before I started Trip Styler, I took a trip to Europe and Africa. That was the final straw. I brought a carry-on and big backpack. Big mistake on all fronts: a) I wasn't backpacking b) I brought too much. Combing through two bags to find clothes every time I moved from one city to the next was a nightmare. And given we're all time-strapped, why would anyone want to wait an extra 20 mins for their luggage to arrive on a carousel, or worse, have it misplaced {used to happen a lot to my husband} or lost by the airline?

How to Pack Light

  • You have to want to pack light.
  • Get a carry-on that's on the top-end {but just "under"} of carry-on size requirements for most airlines, or the airline you fly most frequently.
  • Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane, it's shoes that are packing light's biggest deterrent.
  • Do you need 20 tops and 7 bottoms? I brought a fairly small carry-on {20 x 13 x 8} and this purse/tote with me last week to NYC, and managed to bring my toiletries, computer, 3 scarves, jewelry, a clutch, 2 shoes {heels and flats}, 2 bottoms, a leather jacket, blazer, a sweater and 10 tops.
  • Bring more tops than bottoms.
  • Accessories like scarves, wraps and jewelry are your friend. Men, this goes for you too with scarves. They can dress an outfit down or up, and keep you warm.
  • Layer-up on the plane a) to protect against air temperature changes, and b) to diminish what needs to go into your suitcase.
  • Roll almost everything.
  • Go with a colour scheme.
  • Ladies, leggings are your friend: they are light, small, easily washable and can be dressed up or down in an instant.
  • If you're flying an airline known for being strict with carry-on size allowances, bring a non-structured, malleable bag {like this Ben Sherman or Kenneth Cole for men, and this Longchamp Expandable Le Pliage for ladies} that can be pushed and shoved into the baggage measurement cube to fit to size. I use this strategy each time I fly a discount airline!

Luggage "Like" I've talked before about the world's lightest suitcase, the Sub-O-G {now called IT-O-2} before, but I'm seriously considering purchasing the 21" upright carry-on only weighing 5 pounds with dimensions that fit within most airlines' carry-on size restrictions. Though I wouldn't suggest it {or a bigger version} for checked luggage, it is great for traveling extra light.

Challenge If you're an over-packer {like I was until I started getting serious about packing light}, tell us about it! What inspired you to pack light? Will you go back to schlepping baggage on an off the baggage carousel?

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[photo features the IT-O-2 ultra light carry-on suitcase and a Clare Vivier La Tropezienne purse, discussed above]