In Lifestyle

How to Pack a Carry-On So You Don’t Have to Check a Bag

stinkin' pink

You know what? I miss flying with a suitcase. Ever since airlines started charging for checked luggage, I’ve been hesitant to do it out of sheer principle. There’s something unsettling about the entire experience of flying — from overpaying for coach tickets to being herded and prodded like cattle — that, by jove, I will NOT suffer the indignity of paying for my suitcase!

Unfortunately this means I’ve had to learn tricks to squish my belongings into a single carry-on. Goodbye, outfit choices. Goodbye, multiple shoes. This also means that I must deal with the reality that I will make a drugstore stop at my destination to buy razors and shaving cream.


But after a few trial and errors, I have the essentials down.

1. Versatile clothes and shoes. If I can’t plan at least three outfits with an item, it doesn’t find a spot in my backpack. No more than three pairs of shoes, including the ones I wear to the airport, and one being comfortable walking shoes.
2. One thin T-shirt and yoga pants. Sleeping attire. Small, practically weightless, sleeping attire.
3. Underwear. No way to fudge that.
4. A tiny vanity bag of toiletries. Toothbrush, travel shampoo, body wash, toothpaste. Solid perfume. The bare essentials.
5. Another tiny bag of jewelry and makeup. This also gets the three-outfit test. Two pairs of earrings, two or three necklaces. Tops. For makeup, I bring a compact and lip gloss. Very, very simple.
6. Reading material. Two magazines or one book, tops.
7. Technology. This, unfortunately, is where I get weighed down. Camera, cellphone, iPod, plus all the accompanying cords. Hey, at least I don’t bring my laptop anymore!
8. Snacks. A granola bar or handful of nuts. No need to pay $5 for the same thing on the plane or in the airport.
9. Handbag. Used as my “personal item.” This is where I keep my wallet, important papers and tissue. I consider tissue a Very Important Thing when flying.
10. Luxury item. Like on “Survivor,” I believe I should have one thing that is completely frivolous on my travels. It’s different every time. And it rarely comes in handy. But it is important nonetheless.

How do you lean in packing? Do you need more snacks …

… more clothes …

packing or unpacking?

… more books …

reads by the sea

… or more technology?


*Click on photos for credits

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