How to pack for 2 weeks in a carry on? Would you even want to?
Absolutely! Here’s why:
- Traveling with a carry-on is cheaper! Some airlines charge for checked baggage.
- When you are traveling light, (with only a carry-on), you run virtually no risk of your luggage being lost, (which happens occasionally with connecting flights.)
- You are more mobile! It’s easy to pull a carry-on wherever you go. Compare that with a large and heavy suitcase.
- It’s easier to travel. For example, consider travels through Europe with its endless staircases. It is not impossible to take a large suitcase up a flight of stairs, but it’s hard. You’re better off looking for an elevator and in some places, there are no elevators! Then imagine you are traveling via trains or busses. Large suitcases are a nightmare as you need to get them from wherever you’re staying, to the bus and train terminals, often via cobblestone alleys.
- You’re free to go once you land. No need to go stand in baggage claim, waiting for luggage.
Clearly, traveling with a carry-on comes with many advantages. But understanding the benefits and implementing them are two different things. Therefore, I present to you, 17 simple ways of how to pack for 2 weeks in a carry on.
Seriously helpful tips to traveling light
1. Pick the right carry-on
There are size limitations from airline to airline. Also, carry-on limitations on domestic flights might differ from that of international flights. Be sure to check ahead of time to see what your size and weight restrictions are.
Then, also consider what kind of trip you are going on. Will you be taking your luggage from place to place throughout your trip, or will you leave it at the hotel, and not use it again until you leave? Will there be lots of cobblestone alleys or stairs and little elevator access? Carefully consider your plans and choose a carry-on that will complement your plans.
2. Plan your outfits
Planning your outfits is a tedious job, but it is better to do it when you’re at home, instead of while you are traveling.
Planning takes the spontaneity out of traveling but it adds comfort knowing that everything has been thought of and you are set.
3. Stick to neutrals
By choosing neutrals, chances are excellent that your outfits will match.
4. Stick to versatile clothes
The concept of versatile clothes is that one piece of clothing can be worn in several ways. For example, a maxi dress can be worn during the day with a pair of sandals. At night you can dress it up with a pair of heels, a jacket, and accessories. Another example is a simple tank top. You can wear it with shorts and sandals during the day, then switch to a classy skirt and heels at night.
5. Roll your clothes
Rolled clothes are more compact so they take up less space than traditionally folded clothes. The rolling method also avoids the creases that come from folding clothes. Roll them as tight as you can before placing them in your carry-on.
6. Squeeze socks and underwear into nooks and crannies
Socks can be squeezed into your shoes to save space. Squeeze your underwear into other similar nooks and crannies.
7. Be selective about your shoes
The key is to pick shoes that are versatile and comfortable. Think about what you plan to do on your trip. Will you be walking around to see the new city, going on adventurous excursions, eating out at night? Carefully consider your planned activities and bring only the shoes you really need. If you are traveling during the summer, for example, a comfortable pair of sandals or stylish sneakers would be great for walking around, and heels or flats would be perfect for nights.
Once you know what type of shoes you need, keep in mind that you really only need one pair of each type. That means one pair of sandals, one pair of heels, etc—so choose comfortable shoes that match all your planned outfits.
8. Use a large purse or backpack as your personal item
In addition to your carry-on, most airlines allow you to bring a personal item. Your personal items should be able to fit nicely under the seat in front of you. Do not waste this golden opportunity on a small purse. Choose a large purse or backpack that is spacious enough to hold your valuables, electronics, passport, water bottle, etc.
When you’re choosing your personal item, you could go with a daypack, a small backpack, a messenger bag, a laptop bag, or a large purse. It should be small enough to fit comfortably under the seat in front of you, but large enough to hold your stuff.
If you need a small purse for use during your vacation, you could always put it inside your personal item or your carry-on.
9. The weeks before your departure, collect sample sizes
Did you know you can get sample sizes of foundation, mascara, etc? This is a great travel hack that will help you save space and allow you to travel in luxury with your carry-on. In the weeks before you leave, try to get samples of your favorite products.
10. Only pack makeup necessities
On the days leading up to your departure, sort your makeup and pack only the things you use daily. Traveling is not the time to be experimenting with new makeup and you don’t have room for makeup you may or may not use.
11. Leave most toiletries at home
If you are staying at a hotel, you won’t need to bring shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel, (unless you are committed to certain brands). Save that space and bring only travel-sized toiletries that won’t be provided.
Also consider that unless you are traveling to the middle of nowhere, you could buy a small bottle of whatever you need at your location, then discard it when you leave.
12. Plan to do laundry while you’re away
If you are staying at an Airbnb with a washing machine, you can do a load of laundry, thereby getting more use out of your clothes.
13. Use space saver bags
If you are traveling during the colder months, you’ll need to pack a few heavier items. This will make packing for two weeks in a carry-on very challenging indeed, but not impossible. Use space saver bags to condense the bulky items.
But even if you are traveling during the warmer months, you may still have a problem fitting everything into your carry-on. In that case, space-saver/compression bags will really help reduce the size of what you’ve packed.
14. Wear your bulkier items on the airplane
If you are taking boots, jeans, and a coat, save space in your carry-on by wearing these items on the flight to your destination.
15. If you are traveling with someone, coordinate
If there are shareable items that you both use, only one of you needs to pack them. For example, if you both use a curling iron, you really only need to pack one.
16. Pack clothes that can be layered
This is especially important if you are traveling during the winter months. Multiple layers (that you’ve rolled up) will take up less space than one giant coat. They will keep you warm but also offer a variety of options to choose from.
17. Check the weather forecast
If you know what weather is to be expected in the city you are traveling to, you can plan your packing accordingly. This also takes a lot of guesswork out of what to pack.
While checking the temperature is important, also check precipitation in case rain is expected. This is such an important but often forgotten travel tip.