I lied in my last blog - this isn't best destinations, but rather another 'what/how-to'. :) Maybe I'll do destinations in my next!
I get asked this question a lot when packing for a trip - and I never used to be great at it, so I'm here to help you... "HOW DO YOU PACK JUST A CARRY-ON BAG?".
Jason and I have only ever taken actual luggage on our trip to Alaska this past winter - for obvious reasons, of course. :) I have found it is quite simple to pack just a carry-on and it makes for WAY easier traveling!! You don't have to sit and wait for your luggage to come out of the terminal...you don't have to fight the crowd to get to the terminal...etc. No, it may not be for everyone, but here are my tips and tricks if you want to pack light or like to be on the go and not worry about something like this!
1. Find a carry-on piece that suites you.
For me, I use a simple black suitcase with wheels that I was given for Christmas YEARS ago (has held up well!), but I have also used my sister's cute polka dotted hard shell luggage a time or two. Keep in mind, this is just your carry-on piece not including your personal item! Almost all carry-on luggage pieces will be correct measurements, but you'll want to check to make sure.
Jason on the other hand uses a book bag as his carry-on. It is a backpacking style book bag and it works well for him! His has held up well too. He's had it for at least the 3 years that we have been dating. Links to similar products:
Luggage: Click Here
Back pack: Click Here
2. What and How to Pack Toiletries
So with having a carry-on, there are restrictions on liquids that you can take on a plane. Funny enough, we usually only take one 'sandwich' sized bag with us. Mind you, you are allowed one per person with travel size liquids. The only problem we have ever encountered with doing this is if you are going somewhere hot and need a lot of sunscreen. Jason burns easily and I do not sooooooo .... I under packed and it was a mess! :) We have learned since that he takes a bag just of sunscreen minis alone. I hate using actual plastic 'sandwich bags'. (A) we don't keep Ziplocs in our home so I have to call my mother for one or two (I like to double wrap for security against leaks) and (B) they aren't reusable by the end of the trip! They break...tear...etc. Thus the double bagging on my part. I linked a very similar one below that I found on Amazon that I use and it has upheld at least 2 years, if not 3. Mine is originally from Target, but they do not have one that is similar to mine right now online. I like the side zipper and I can fit a TON in there.
My Travel Bag:
- Mini Shampoo & Conditioner (Jason uses hotel freebies, I can't)
- Mini Body Wash (helloooooo Bath & Body Works freebie mailer!! J uses hotel soap/body wash, again)
- Mini Lotion or Body Cream (again B&BW promo) - this comes in handy if peeling from sunburn or to help with some sunburn (may want to pack aloe depending); I like this primarily for keeping legs hydrated with razor and heat (know your skin, folks!)
- Liquid Makeup (concealer); I actually can fit all the makeup that I use in this bag (bronzer, blush, etc. but you can pack all of that in a separate makeup bag as it isn't liquid)
- Extra Contacts (in solution)
- Contact Solution & Case
- Medicine/Creams: I am allergic to some things so I like to keep a cream handy in case have reaction to something otherwise vacation can be miserable
- Mini Perfume (I wear VS so anything pretty much comes in travel size whether a mist spray or a roller ball)
- Mini hairspray (varies, usually have but I'll leave out if not enough room or need another bottle of sunscreen instead)
- Mini Sunscreen x 2 (available at Target or your drugstore)
- AND THERE'S STILL ROOM FOR MORE
I legit take this even if we are going somewhere I can take full-size bottles with (road trip, overnight/weekend trip)
*Myth debunked: Don't fall for the buying a travel size deodorant. You only have to worry about deodorant size if you have a gel deodorant (liquid, remember?). EVEN THEN, check the ounces on your deodorant - you probably can just throw this into your liquid bag and not have to buy a 'travel size'. Smart, huh? If you don't use gel, don't worry about throwing it into your liquids bag!
*Packing tips: You lose some of these from utilizing the products on the trip. You may find it easier to simply buy a sunscreen full-sized bottle when get to destination, but be careful...they can get pricey! (Think resorts or cruises where they charge ample.)
Travel Bag for Liquids: Click Here
I find this easier to pack than I did when I was younger simply because I think, or would like to think, that I am more logical as I've gotten older. I will wear the same shorts half the time - hey it looks good with this shirt, that shirt and that shirt too...or they're just comfy!
My process is simply to lay out everything I would LIKE or THINK I need to take with. Next think of what you're doing each day. So for this, I think of the excursions we have lined up thus far, etc. If we don't have anything planned that day, we will just wing getting off the boat and going - I'll wear clothing that goes over a suit, but will also hold up decent if I put back over a wet suit. AND/OR take undergarments with to change before heading back. BUT think of what your tendencies are AND the destination. Jason and I are beach people - we will most likely end up there one way or another. :) I'm just thinking cruise in this blog post, honestly. If you have other example or can't think of how to pack for your upcoming trip - shoot me a comment or message! Next, especially since we are talking cruises, I pack a piece to wear to dinner. This usually entails a cute romper, maxi, or dress. We skip out on elegant/dress up night because we don't find it necessary to lug a tux and evening gown along with us (reason for this article LOL). Now I know what you're thinking - shoes Randi! What the heck do you do about shoes?! Well, personally, I'm not a shoes gal so I take a few pairs of sandals that pack well with a day outfit and an evening outfit. I have classic sandals that go with either. Would I like to wear wedges? Maybe, but it's not practical for one outfit - think how many outfits would I wear these with and then plan around that if you really want to take them! Maybe you take a sneaker, a sandal, and a wedge - that's still fine!
- 2-3 swimsuits
- Undergarments (think of dresses/outfits you have - do you need a strapless? Sticky bra? Etc.) I take extra sets just in case delayed flights, unplanned circumstances, etc.
- # of days gone: # of outfits; trick: can you pair different bottoms to different tops? I usually take a spare set of 'pants' for, again, unplanned circumstances (we don't do laundry on vacation)
- Always, always pack a sweatshirt/sweater and pair of jeans - YOU NEVER KNOW. This may sound crazy since we go on warm-weather trips, but, like for example, they have movie nights on the main level of the cruise ship outside at night - that gets chilly! Also, if air is on in room....may need! I rather be cold than hot, but I also like to be prepared. I have a light, grey sweater that I adore and pairs nicely with about everything I own that I take with typically.
- One pair PJs; I sometimes take 2, I have a 'light pair' (if I get hot or have a sunburn - easier on the skin) and then I take a pair of gym shorts and a tee.
Tip: Use an undergarment bag. I received mine free with a purchase from VS and adore it which I would have never thought! Again, easy travel. I linked one on amazon, but I would find one that is cloth material - easier cleaning it up/washing in my opinion.
Wash-Wear Travel Bag: Click Here
4. Finding the Best Personal Item
I see both sides of the spectrum when at the airport - the person who doesn't take advantage of a true personal item (small purse) or the person who takes personal item to an extreme and could possibly be rejected (I see you). My personal item is a (smaller) North Face book bag that I actually used for the last couple of years of college! ha. We take this because we will utilize it when we get off the ship, go to the beach, etc. We have taken this hiking to Starved Rock, we took this on our bus trip to hike on the glacier and left in the car, etc. It is probably the best investment that was made (thanks Santa!). It fits our camera and its case, 2 towels, selfie stick, water case (for when we snorkel), 2 water bottles, some fruit from breakfast buffet, and room for secret storage like room keys, keys, etc. I'll link a similar one below. When traveling, however, I put blow dryer, passports, liquids bag, and bulkier items in there so not to take away from the room I have in my actual carry-on and have easier access to some of things that I will have to take out, such as the liquids bag for security. The backside (the side that touches your back) works well because of how sturdy and flat it is, I can place all travel documents along the backside (hotel reservations, boarding passes, etc.) without it wrinkling or getting torn. A lot of stuff goes into this bag when it's used on the airplane.
Jason doesn't need a carry-on, but I make him take one anyway. It's usually the 'medicine' size bag that comes with a luggage set. Think like a quarter duffel looking thing - I'll link one similar below again. I like to put all electronic-related things in that bag. So think your chargers, cameras, etc. It makes traveling easier when you can organize as much as you can. This way you know where something is when you're looking for it. For example, I always keep our deck of cards in my book bag, front pocket, middle slot. :)
Book Bag: Click Here
'Medicine' Bag: Click Here
*This one still seems a little big in comparison to what we have, but it has the strap on the 'backside' that you can hook to your rolling luggage for easy carrying.*
5. Other Items to Take With
- Documents: Printed Hotel Confirmation(s), Cruise Info, Rental Car Info, Flight Info, Excursion Confirmation/Info
- Beach Towel
- Hat(s)--recommend wearing, not packing, to keep shape
- Snorkel Gear
- Wristlet or Light Purse
- Nook (load your books prior to leaving on trip) or Tablet
- Selfie Stick
- Underwater Phone Pouch
- Deck of Cards
- Passport--even if staying in United States/road tripping, we take ours.
- Water Bottle
- Plastic Bag(s) (Target, etc. - think wet swimsuits and towels being packed away on last day)
Can you spot the items I mentioned below? Hover over picture to reveal. :) I also linked places we were at. :)
An adventurous soul, a kind heart, and a sarcastic mouth. You never know which you will get.