I have inherited the name “Dora the Explorer,” not because I roam where ever my heart takes me, but because I’ve mastered the skill in packing a 2-week trip in a single carry-on.
Yes, I know from people telling me… most peg me for a pre-madonna who would have not only carry-on(s), but several checked in bags. But, haven’t you heard to not judge a book for its cover! So, how do I pack 2-weeks in a carry on? Here are some cheats!
1. Pack Half of the Clothes You Think You Need
I remember when I first started packing clothes I wanted a variety of clothes and plenty of options. Here’s how to accomplish both:
- Select clothes that you can mix-match, giving the illusion you have many outfits but you’re really wearing the same clothes in different assortments.
- If you’re going on a 5-day trip; pack 3 shirts, 3 pants, mix match!
- Don’t overpack for the unlikely, we all have wanted to pack the shorts & tanks even though where you’re going is only 40 degrees, because we are thinking “well it’s just a tank top” and then find ourselves with 10 tank tops and ended up using on 1 or 2. Am I right?
- Stack What You Want & Cut it in Half; not kidding. You’ll find when you travel frequent you travel a lot more for the unknown that what’s necessary. Once you think you have everything you need, cut it in half. I bet you get to the number ratio in footnote 1. Just saying
- Roll Your Clothes; roll your clothes, this allows more! If you’re bringing bigger shoes for carryon, I shove my delicates in the shoes. If you have case of stinky feet put your delicates in a zip lock before shoving them in the bad boy. Swim wear goes in the other shoe.
Here’s what I normally bring for a 5-day trip: 1 swimsuit, 3 shirts (tank tops included), 3 pants/shorts, 2 pairs of shoes (cheat below), 6 undies, 3 socks, and toiletries that will fit in a large-size zip lock bag! I’ll make the toiletries a separate blog, there’s enough madness I have learned through that.
2. Bring More by Wearing More
If traveling to somewhere cold (even if you’re leaving from somewhere warm), wearing your heavier clothes through the airport will allow you to bring more!
- Pick 2 Shoes & Wear the Heaviest; Yup! Pack a comfortable pair of shoes and one that you want to bring, wear the heaviest at the airport and lug around on your carry-on the lighter pair. YES, sandals count as a pair!
- Bring 1 Jacket and Wear it to the Airport; There are certain travel (clothing) essentials you have to bring just in case and a jacket is one of them. Even if it’s 80 degrees outside bring a coat, but wear it through the airport. Plus, this has saved me when freezing in the airplane!
- Ladies, Extensions… Some of you have asked me when I wear extensions have I worn them through airport security, yes. Do they go off in the scanner, most times. Is it embarrassing when they pull me aside, no. Most airports are equipped with technology that shows where the metal pieces are, and when they see it’s your head they just tap, tap, tap. Because you’re a woman, only women can touch you, so they usually know what’s up, or will give you the disappointment look of FAF (Fake as F*), but just smile! Confidence sometimes has to be bought and if clipping in fake hair gets you there, AYYEEEE you go! LOL
3. Toiletries & Size Limits
I believe we are down to 3 oz. on what you can bring on the airplane…
- Purchase the airport approved empty containers from CVS or Walgreens. I usually bring shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. If you need more than one 3 oz. then fill up two with what you already have at home!
- Next time when you’re getting a haircut as if they have sample size of the shampoos/conditioners of the yummy smelling stuff they used on your hair. Sounds cheap, but seriously
- Take with you the complimentary shampoo/conditioner a the hotels you stay even i you don’t use them on your immediate trip. You can bring them for next time!
- Only take with you what you can fit in a large zip lock bag! It makes it easy to take out of carry on for airport security (although I keep mine in my carry on, having it in a zip lock still helps them quickly identify my things in the x-ray.
What I usually bring: tooth brush, travel size toothpaste ($1 at CVS), deodorant, 3 oz shampoo, 3 oz conditioner, 3 oz lotion, comb, mascara, eyeliner, mascara, and chap stick.
Be mindful that carryon requirements differ based on what airline you choose to fly with. This has also been a consideration before booking a trip, because airlines such as Spirit & WOW Air charge to breathe…
If you have additional tips/tricks post them in the comment section!