8 Tips for Squeezing an Entire Week's Worth of Outfits into 1 Carry-On
Yes, it can all fit in the overhead bin.
Traveling these days can feel like a chore. You need to do calculus to fit everything you need in a carry-on bag. Here are some tips from the pros to help make that task a little easier.
1. Think, then rethink, your packing list. How often have you packed for every possible scenario that could arise on a trip, only to actually use half your suitcase while you’re there? Don’t worry, it happens to us too. Instead, do your research beforehand, and only pack what you really need. Think carefully about what’s on your itinerary and plan accordingly. Have a dinner reservation at a trendy new restaurant and don’t know what to wear? Instead of packing both a dress, and slacks and blouse to accommodate different atmosphere possibilities, check out the spot’s website and get a sense of the vibe. Still not sure? Find them on social media and study what are people wearing. Just a little digging and you can probably choose between the two looks before you pack.
2. Take essential hair products only. One of the hardest parts about not checking luggage, is having to leave your arsenal of hair products at home. Yes, it’s a bummer, but is it really worth the $50 you’ll spend in baggage fees? We don’t think so. Instead, spend a little bit of money buying travel-sized basics like special shampoo, and conditioner (if you aren’t willing to use the complimentary ones in you hotel room) once you’ve arrived. They’ll last you about the amount of time you’re on the trip, and you won’t have to worry about bringing them back. As a bonus, your full-sized bottles have just as much product in them as when you left. If there is something essential to your routine, that can’t be easily found at your destination, grab travel-sized versions before you leave. And pack those—only those.
3. Pare down shoes. Shoes can take up a lot of space and add significant extra weight to your bag. When you are planning your packing list and outfits for all your engagements, take into consideration what looks work with the same shoes. If you’re clever, you can likely put together ensembles that work for all your occasions, and only have pack two pair of shoes—one casual and one dressy.
4. Pick your favorite hot tool. Like shoes, bulky styling tools claim a lot of room. The majority of hotels provide hair dryers, so there is no reason to pack your own. Instead of packing both a curling and straightening iron, decide on a style for the week, and choose to take the corresponding tool.
5. Pack dirt-resistant items. When you’re making your packing list, consider choosing outfits that aren’t as likely to show soil. Heavier pieces such as jeans, structured wool tops, along with everyday day printed fabrics in dark colors, for example, a navy plaid cotton button-down, or a crimson floral silk jersey wrap dress just won't show dirt, like say, a lilac charmeuse dress. Plan on wearing these items more than once.
6. Wash what you need to. There are some things that you just can’t get more than a day’s wear out of before they start to look, well, worn. Think about basics that you can repurpose for multiple outfits, like a white button-down, neutral-colored cardigan, or leggings and plan to make them multi-task. Should at any point they look, smell or feel soiled, you can hand wash them in the sink with the hotel-provided shampoo (which works on lightly soiled garments), and let them air dry on shower curtain rod overnight.
7. Roll, don’t fold. Domestic tradition has it that articles of clothing are to be neatly folded before being put away in dresser drawers or packed in luggage. However, tucking away angles such as sleeves, folding in half and then rolling your pieces into a cylinder actually saves space. It also prevents hard creases from forming in fabrics while your luggage in transit.
8. Never pack heavy coats. If you’re traveling somewhere that requires a heavy coat, choose to take only one that will work with all your ensembles. Instead of folding this hefty layer and allowing it to take over your packing space, carry it on the flight with you. If you need to put it on in order to board in alignment with regulations (usually you only get 1 personal item, and your coat might count), do so. You can shimmy it off when take your seat, and no one should have an issue with that. It’ll save you several outfits worth of packing real estate in your suitcase
Pro Travel Tip! When it comes to choosing new luggage, buy anything but black. We love this hard-bodied Samsonite for $94.99. A colorful suitcase is so much easier to keep track of, especially when you can remember which over-head bin your put it in. We love all nine colors that this Samsonite carry-on comes in.