Only bringing a carry-on: how to pack like a champ

I’m not a fan of flying. The rocky take offs, the mid-flight turbulence, and the rough landing – just nope, nope, nope. However, if there’s one thing that drives me more nuts than the anxiety of the entire experience in the air is the exuberant cost to get from A to B – and major bonus, the extra charged to check your suitcase.

Over the past year I’ve been fortunate to make three trips across Canada and the U.S. – the first to Las Vegas with my girlfriends from university, the second to New York City, and the third to go visit my sister recently in Saskatoon. With each of the trips I took on the challenge of packing extremely light and let me tell you it is so worth it.

Solution? Only bringing carry-ons. No added expenses, no waiting at the carousel, no dragging big suitcases through busy airports/streets, and no risk of them losing your stuff.

We all know that when you pack a huge suitcase for a trip you include a ridiculous amount of outfits/shoes/bikinis/hats/neck laces/rings/nail polish/etc/etc/etc you just absolutely had to bring along and never end up wearing all of it! Believe me, I know this from experience.

With the few tips and tricks I mention below I was able to travel successfully (and comfortably!) using just my small suitcase and duffle bag or large purse.

  • Ask why you need it – My best friend gave me some tough love when she help me pack for one of the trips that really stuck with me – if it’s not a part of the outfit it’s not coming. First map out your days/activities and what you’ll need to wear for each. This made everything a lot more black and white so that the random tanks, jeans, flip flops and everything else I tried to bring along wasn’t permitted in the suitcase unless it was planned for a specific day.
  • Be practical – As I packed for the NYC trip I grabbed one of my favorite rompers from my closet. My best friend asked me, “are you really going to want to strip down nude with that romper in a dirty New York City bathroom stall?” I put the romper back in my closet.
  • Multi-purpose – Try to pack pieces that can be dressed up and down to be made into both a day time and night time outfit. Bam, two birds with one stone.
  • Don’t buy into the travel size toiletries –  One disadvantage of only bringing carry-on luggage is that you aren’t allowed full size containers with liquids. Instead of spending a fortune on travel-sized beauty products at the drug store, pick up little, reusable bottles from the dollar store and fill them with your own products.
  • Keep your cool – Going between layovers and flights isn’t fun. Make sure you know where your toothbrush/deodorant/face cleansing or baby wipes are in your bag so you can freshen up in between.
  • Think ahead – No matter where you visit it’s likely you’ll want to bring some sovereigns home. Be sure to leave some room in your suitcase!

Any other tips and tricks on how to pack like a champ? I’d love to hear them!

Happy and safe travels!





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