Carry on Packing Tips- From a Pro!

by Courtney El-Ghoul

If you couldn’t tell already I am pretty excited about our 10th-anniversary trip. Once everything is officially sorted I will share with you guys our trip details … it should be pretty soon 🙂 hint-hint … think Bravo’s Below Deck, on a much smaller scale, of course! I have been working through the details and planning for this on the daily, I am equal parts excited and exhausted, ha. The number of bathing suits I have purchased to try on is OUTRAGEOUS – (See Monday’s blog post for more info on shopping for swimwear in the winter.) Now that most of the big stuff is ironed out I am starting to think about what I am going to pack since I am limited to ONE carry on! Although this upcoming trip is requiring me to pack light, I have gotten pretty used to doing it with just a carry on since having the girls, anyway. Before having kids if Khalil and I were going on a trip I would pack enough clothes, toiletries, and random junk for like a month! I am not kidding, looking back I am like um… what the heck was I thinking??? Now, when we have the luxury of taking a trip solo for a couple of days optimizing the time is everything to me! I want to make the most of every minute, and that includes not waiting around in the airport for my checked bag to arrive. Not to mention it’s just so much easier on the actual trip to not have to deal with lugging around packing/unpacking a bunch of clothes and crap I probably won’t even use. Oh, and if I pack light enough, I can always use this to excuse away a little extra shopping while we are there. After all, I do have all this free space 😉 Haha – shopping addict over here!

Ok, here it goes – my best tips for just packing a carry on for a trip.

Tips for Packing a Carry-On Only For a Trip

 Okay, there are some common ones you may have heard or already do… such as… rolling your clothes, packing cubes, and putting things inside of larger items. These are all great and super helpful but I have a few more tips that can help you pack lighter in general.

  1. Planning outfits in advance– It may seem like a pain, but trust me, it makes things so much easier. I start laying out and trying on pieces way in advance. It makes it fun and it doesn’t feel forced or stressful. If I don’t like something – I have time to change it, or maybe I just need to pair it with something else. When it’s time to go, I am not second-guessing what I am bringing or overpacking.
  2. Less is more– No really! You don’t need five pairs of jeans or ten hats. Sometimes I can go with one pair for a long weekend trip. I make sure it’s that perfect fit, a pair you can dress up or down. I can just change my looks for the weekend. Be realistic. You will be in a bikini half the time anyway. 🙂 
  3. Getting a fresh blowout before you leave will work wonders for saving you time and space on your trip. This is one of my best secrets. If I do this I only need my curling iron, a travel-size serum, dry shampoo, and hair spray. Done. If you must wash your hair during the trip, pretty much all hotels will have a blow dryer, and you can go with the travel size for your shampoos/conditioners. (Blow out bars are always great in a pinch as well)
  4. I also share this less-is-more motto with my makeup and skincare products. I just make sure they are all the correct sizing approved to carry on the plane and keep my makeup to a minimum. I am not bringing ten blushes and five eye palettes. This travel case is from amazon, and is awesome! I use it for every trip, You can even add your jewelry, it fits perfectly in my carry-on.
  5. I have been down the road of bringing way too many pairs of shoes, and nine times out of ten I wear the same two pairs. Do yourself a favor and choose one day pair and one evening pair. It’s easier to choose these first – so you can work around them as you are pre-planning your outfits. You can always slide a pair of flats or flip flops if you MUST add an extra pair. 
  6. I have this same logic with my purses. If it’s a beach trip I will make sure I have a tote for the beach/pool and I will pack a small designer bag for the evenings. I always bring my NF Louis bag because I can fit so much in it, it’s like a real-life Mary Poppins bag. When I am getting on the plane, I can count it as my purse, and it will fit right under the seat.
  7. Lastly, yes, weather can always change, this does not mean you need to pack for all four seasons. Just make sure you have one good layering piece in case it gets chilly in the evening.

I am sure I can think of more, but this is a good starting point. Give it a try – see if you can get down to a carry-on with room for shopping! 

What about you guys? Do you like traveling light or do you find it super challenging?



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