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Fool-Proof Packing Tips for Traveling Around the World with Carry-On Luggage

I have traveled to 34 countries, across 5 of our 7 continents, and I have never (voluntarily) checked a bag.   

Traveling overseas with just carry-on luggage might sound daunting, but it's an absolute game changer and the best way to explore without the burden of heavy bags. Whether you're jet-setting for weeks or months, mastering the art of packing light is key. 

Here are my fool-proof packing tips to ensure your journey around the world with just a carry-on is both enjoyable and efficient!


1. Start with the Right Bag

Choosing the right carry-on is the first step. Opt for a lightweight, durable bag that fits airline size restrictions. A bag with various compartments helps organize items and makes them easily accessible. I LOVE my Eagle Creek suitcase and SuperDry backpack. 

2. Capsule Wardrobe is Key

The secret to packing light is a capsule wardrobe - a small collection of versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched. Stick to a neutral color palette with a few pops of color. Include layers rather than bulky items, so you can adjust to varying climates. Favor fabrics that are lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, and easy to wash and dry.

In winter months, my capsule typically consists of black, some more black, and a pop of black. In the summer, I go for as much white and denim as possible. 

3. Multifunctional Items

Each item you pack can serve multiple purposes, especially shoes! Shoes take up a lot of space, so limit yourself to two or three pairs that are versatile, comfortable, and work for multiple occasions. Think sneakers that can handle a day of exploring and also work out in, sandals that can go from beach to dinner, and a pair of flats or lightweight boots, depending on the climate.

4. Embrace Minimalist Toiletries

Toiletries can quickly add bulk and weight. Opt for travel-sized products and makeup. Not only do they save space, but they also won't cause any issues with liquid restrictions at airport security. Consider multi-use products, like a moisturizer with SPF or a BB cream that acts as a foundation, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

5. Organizational Tools are Essential

Use packing cubes, compression bags, or even zip-lock bags to organize your items and save space. Rolling your clothes instead of folding also minimizes wrinkles and makes better use of space. Packing cubes help organize clothes by type or outfit, making it easier to find what you need without rummaging through your entire bag!

6. Electronics and Entertainment

Limit electronic devices to those you truly need. My biggest hack here is reading on my kindle instead of packing books. This is the best way to hold multiple books in the space of one and have access to a library at my fingertips! 

7. The Rule of Three

A good rule of thumb for packing is the rule of three: wear one, wash one, have one spare. This applies particularly well to underwear and socks. With quick-drying fabrics, you can easily wash items in the sink and have them dry by the next day.

8. Leave Room for Flexibility

Resist the urge to pack for every possible scenario. Instead, leave some space in your bag for items you might pick up along the way. This flexibility allows you to adapt to unexpected weather, special events, or the desire to buy something! 

9. Practice Makes Perfect

Finally, practice packing your carry-on before your trip. This trial run will help you refine your packing list and ensure everything fits comfortably. Remember, the goal is to enjoy your travels without the weight of unnecessary items. 

With these packing tips, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of traveling light! If you have any questions, please reach out to me. I am always happy to help and love to connect.

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3 days ago
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great tips. Easier said than done but I’m going to try!

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