How to Pack for Two Weeks in a Carry-On

My whole life I have been an overpacker because I want clothing options and I don’t want to be without. I’ve always regretted the decision of lugging such a heavy bag with many clothes that don’t get worn. This past year I decided to change my packing style. I decided to set a personal goal of packing for two weeks in a carry-on and a backpack.
I actually made it happen and vowed to always travel this light. After spending two weeks in Cuba and Tulum, I didn’t want to risk not having my bags show up, or having to wait hours for my bags since these were the tales friends were sharing of their experience in Cuba. Soon after, I made a pact with myself to continue this “less is more” motto on another trip to Croatia where I spent several weeks on a boat.
Tips on How to Pack for Two Weeks in a Carry-on:
Plan and Prepare Ahead
Practice shutting your suitcase while packing to make sure it can close. Pack days ahead of departure, so you can reassess and evaluate your options and see what you can remove each day that you can live without.
Clothes and Shoes
Narrow your shoe options. Wear your sneakers on the plane. Pack flip flops, maybe one pair of dressy sandals or flats, and another nice pair of shoes or dressier walking shoes (if needed). Use plastic bags to wrap sneakers (which can be used later for dirty flip flops too) so that your clothes don’t get ruined.
  • Wear your sneakers, your hat, and your jacket or warm hoody on the plane to leave more room in your backpack
  • Since I have space behind my suitcase zipper mesh pouch (where most people store underwear), I pack all of my squishy items against the case, like sports bras, underwear, and bikinis.
  • Bring clothes you can wear more than once like a beach cover-up that can turn into a skirt or casual dress.
  • Turn one piece bathing suits into sexy tops to wear out at night by throwing on a sarong or flowing skirt.
  • Pack no more than two pairs of jeans and no more than 3 pairs of shorts.
  • Bring enough socks and underwear, especially if if you plan to walk daily or hike. They don’t take up a lot of room. You can always wash items in a sink to dry.
  • Roll clothes into tubes or fold clothes into flat thin squares. Using extra packing items to compartmentalize into cubes or tubes has never worked for me, only taking more room than I need.
  • Don’t bring pajamas. Sleep nude. If you are staying in a hotel or on a cruise, you can lounge in the plush bathrobe.
  • Throw out old underwear and T-shirts as you travel.
  • Use plastic bags around clothes you don’t want to get dirty, especially a nice outfit or two. The plastic bags can be used later to collect sea shells or used in an emergency.

Toiletries

Pack toiletries in a Ziplock bag or toiletry bag that is not in a hard container so you can squish items between shoes or clothes. Put your favorite skin scrub in a contact lens case and make sure to pack only small bottles of beauty necessities. Throw them out when done. Bring a toothbrush you don’t mind throwing out and make sure to pack a small travel kit with band-aids and Neosporin for emergencies, especially in countries where a CVS is nowhere to be found.

Backpack or Carry-on Bag

Carry a backpack on the plane for anything that won’t fit in the suitcase and that needs to be taken out while flying, like books, headphones, and travel essentials like my new favorite – Saje Wellness oils (Relax) to help you sleep. Their roller ball sticks come in many natural blends (and even a pocket pharmacy) to help with stress relief, pain release, and more symptoms that can materialize while on a plane or traveling in a foreign land.

In your backpack, carry one warm wrap, shawl, hoodie, or jacket that can be used throughout the entire trip. I like to pack a black soft shawl wrap that can look nice at night with a dress or be thrown over a Tee on the plane to keep you warm. Save room for snacks on the top of your bag.

If you can find room, bring a foldable carry-on tote bag that can be squished to bring back gifts that may not fit in your backpack.

What are your favorite travel packing tips to bring less?

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