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Lighten Up! 5 Tips to Pack for a Week of Travel in a Carry-on Bag

In my past traveling life, I would have packed a full checked bag, a carry-on suitcase, and my purse tucked into a very large carry-on bag to bring home souvenirs.  I always packed 3-4 times the amount of clothes I needed and never used them.  I dreaded worrying about my luggage while I waited at the baggage claim area when I could be catching a cab to my next adventure! I decided to get realistic about my needs and packing for traveling has become nearly effortless.  In addition, I am saving money on baggage fees that can be used for more entertainment on my vacation!  Now that I follow the system I’ve shared below, I am able to pack for a trip in minutes and glide effortlessly from plane to resort.  I also save a lot of time getting ready and out of my room because I have less options, and therefore less decisions to make.

5 Tips to Lighten Up!

The bag matters! I prefer a rolling duffle bag type of bag.  I like that it rolls for easy and painless transport throughout the airport and customs and that the soft side can easily be squished into the airport’s bag size check and overhead bins.  I also like to carry a backpack or large tote as my ‘personal’ carry on item.  I can easily fit a small purse into it, so it only counts as 1 bag and then I have room for souvenirs or whatever items I need on my daily explorations.

Cosmetics and toiletries. You do not need to take your entire makeup vanity with you. Pick a classic look that is all you and take one of every item. One foundation, one powder, one cheek color, one lip color, a trio of shadows, one liner, one mascara. Buy travel sized products for the must have hair care items or depend on the hotel’s complimentary selection.  If I am staying in the same place for a week or more, I will buy my preferred items when I arrive and use most of them during the week.

Shoes. I know, we all like to have our options when it comes to shoes. However, realistically, you have your favorites.  Pack your favorite casual and favorite dress shoe and you know you’ll be happy everywhere you go. I also recommend a pair of slip on shoes for an easy run to the hotel desk, trip to the spa or pool.   If you are going on an adventurous trip that requires hiking boots, you could wear them on the plane to avoid taking up space in your bag, if necessary.

Clothes & Jewelry. Be Realistic about how you will spend your time and what activities you’ll be participating in on your trip. If you are going to a beach resort- you will live in bathing suits and summer dresses or cover up clothes 89% of the time you are there.  Pack a couple of bathing suits and cover ups, a sundress that you can dress up with accessories or a different top, and a stylish outfit for dinner or a night out.  No matter what your activities, pack clothes in complimentary colors so you can mix and match tops and bottoms.

I also always have my “plane” clothes. Usually exercise clothes with a jacket or sweater that I will want to wear again to change the look of my other packed dresses. I usually plan to wear them to and from my destination.

Books, Magazines, & Electronics.  Again, be realistic.  If you are going to take advantage of all-inclusive beverages and relax on the beach for 4 days, you will not be able to read 3 books!  Resorts have libraries with books and magazines, so if you aren’t in the middle of a great read, leave the books at home or choose just one to dive into on the plane. Decide what electronics you really can’t live without. For most of us, that is our phone. If you’re traveling internationally, be sure to take a multi-functional electric converter plug.

Bonus Tip:  After you take a trip using these tips, make a checklist of everything that worked for you. Add anything you missed on your trip and delete anything you didn’t use.  The next time you pack, you’ll also be able to pack everything you need in minutes!
Beth Bell has been on 22 vacations in 24 months and has learned a trick or two about all things travel.  She especially loves to help clients cross items off their bucket list now, within their current budget!  If you’re ready to stop waiting and start creating memories with your family, get in touch with Beth today! bethboydbell@gmail.com.


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1 Comment

  • Deb Campbell / 3 January 2018 10:42

    Great suggestions Beth! I aim to keep packing with less and I like the idea of keeping a log with successful packing experiences. It’s the combination when hiking boots and formal attire are required that makes it more challenging. Safe travels!

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