How To Travel With Just A Carry On

Whilst standing in line at the airport last week waiting for our flight to board, I started thinking about the different kinds of air travellers. There are those who are so relaxed, they pack the morning of a flight, usually throwing in their bag whatever they can find at a glance. Then there are those who pack well in advance, packing everything they could possibly need. I guess you could say I fall somewhere in between.

When I started my travels I was definitely that person who would try and fit their entire closet into their suitcase for a week long trip. Over the years I have mastered my packing skills and for most trips now I travel with just a carry on. There’s nothing worse than lugging around super heavy bags that are full of ‘just in case’ items.

For a weekend away, or a weeklong trip, I have everything I need inside my Dakine backpack. Packing in just a carry on can seem restrictive, but in reality, it allows you to be more mobile and in doing so it not only saves you money (as you don’t have to pay for checked luggage!), but it also gets you on your way quicker when you reach your destination.

So what’s in my carry?

Clothing & Accessories Clothing that packs up small helps with minimalist packing. I like lightweight items that I can layer if I get cold, and I always wear my heaviest items on the plane allowing me to utilise the space in my backpack a lot better.

When it comes to packing my outfits I always check the weather of where I’m going. Packing with this in mind makes the task so much easier. If there’s a possibility of rain, yes I might get a bit wet, but at the end of the day it’s just a bit of water, there’s no need for me to bring an entire rain outfit and an umbrella!

If I’m going on a trip any longer than a weekend I find it best to lay my chosen outfits out. This helps me to visually organise as well as see where I can mix and match items. If an item can double up its purpose then I pack it, if not, it stays behind!

I always like to bring a few pieces of my favourite jewellery with me as it’s an easy way to dress up my outfits. My favourite piece right now is my Delicate Balance Necklace in Onyx & Gold from Ettika. Soooooo pretty! I find the best way to pack my accessories in my portable jewellery organiser. It’s lightweight and has separate compartments for each item so nothing ever get’s tangled.

When it comes to actually packing, I use the rolling technique. This technique is great! I can’t believe I ever pack any other way. By rolling your items it compresses the clothing, making it easier to stack and pack into tiny sections of your bag.

Organisation If you’re anything like me, you love to be organised! I like to know where everything is and I like to group alike items together. Packing cubes are great for this! If you haven’t already tried them, then I highly recommend you do.

Shoes When maximising your travel comfort it’s extremely important to choose the right shoes. We’ve all been there before, wearing shoes that look great but are not practical for walking around all day and we end up covered in blisters. Nobody wants that! As a lover of shoes, I always want to bring every pair with me, but I have found that limiting myself to three pairs max, is the best way to go. At least one pair of flat shoes is a must! I love my converse as they match almost everything in my wardrobe and are small enough to put in my carry on when I need to switch shoes.

Airport Tips Time and time again I have gone through airport security wearing my favourite ankle boots or a pair of cute sandals, as well as my favourite accessories, only to beep as I go through the metal detector. Well not anymore! Shoes that have any type of zip or buckle will 9 out of 10 times set the metal detector off. That goes for bracelets and necklaces too. It’s such a hassle when you then need to remove everything and line up all over again. My go to shoes are always either a pair of flats or my converse and I always accessorise my outfits post security.

Tea Bags. For all those individuals out there like me who prefer herbal tea to coffee, this is for you! I’m not a fan of paying $5 for a cup of hot water and a tea bag, so I bring my own. My go to brand is usually Twining’s, I always pack a few different flavours in my bag, it literally takes up the tiniest amount of space and most airport restaurants and in-flight services will give you a cup of hot water for free.

We all know temperatures at airports and on planes have a tendency to fluctuate. Over the years I’ve learnt to style my outfits with items that will keep me comfortable and warm enough to survive the chill of the airport, but yet light enough to remove when I reach my destination. For me, a cardigan and a wrap scarf are a must as they can double as a pillow for those early morning or late night flights.

Electronics & Gadgets For me, the following are a must and all I ever need. Phone and charger, earphones, country specific adapter and my portable phone charger. Some flights, especially the budget ones, won’t have a charging point per seat, so that where my portable phone charger comes in handy. It’s also good to have whilst you’re on the go anyway.

Those who know me well, know that I love to read. An e-reader is generally better for travel, however call me old school, but I still prefer to carry a paperback with me. When I travel, my portable book cover is my best friend. This is one of my favourite travel items! As we all know books are heavy and can take up a lot of space. Who ever invented this carry case is a genius. It not only protects my book from getting damaged, but I can carry it in my hand with absolute ease. I’ve never once been asked to weight it or put it in my bag.

Essential Items Those items that you wish you had on previous trips that make travelling a little easier! Firstly, an extra pad lock (great for lockers and ensuring your backpack can’t be opened by thieves whilst in crowded areas). Secondly, duct tape (this always comes in handy. I used it when my sandal strap broke and when I broke my toe in New Caledonia Luca had to use it as an emergency bandage!). Thirdly, zip lock bags (I separate my adapters and chargers into them and I also use them as a mini rubbish bag. They can be used for so many things), and fourthly, a pen and notebook.

Toiletries I always bring my own products with me when I travel because I’m super fussy about what I put on my skin, but a lot of hotels will provide you with basic toiletries free of charge. For those of you who bring your own products like me, click here to read my blog post on how your hotel toiletries can help others.

Obvious Items Not To Forget Purse, I like to have a mini purse for when I travel that holds cash and essential cards. Passport, you can’t go anywhere without that! Medication and travel/hotel/car rental tickets.

And yes, everything listed above fits into my backpack! So what about the times when you’re travelling to places for a longer length of time and you need more than a just a carry on… My tips on how to pack for this in one of my upcoming blogs.

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