How to pack for 7 days in one carry-on

Not to be sexist but over packing, is a problem that plagues most girls, and I used to be one of them. I used to be the girl packed a giant suitcase for an overnight trip. It got so tiresome dragging the suitcase around and I never used half of what I packed. But I wanted clothing options not to mention I needed half my bathroom… just incase! I really wanted to be one of those girls that could throw a few things into an overnight bag and be set for whatever.

PackingA few years ago I decided that was going to change my packing behavior and I started doing a few things to help me taper my over packing. First things first, I pack early. I actually start packing for big trips two weeks before. I will open my suit case and start tossing things in then I review—over the next two weeks I add and take stuff out, thinking through what I will actually wear. This is also a great way to prevent any last minute laundry. If you don’t want to see your suitcase on the bedroom floor for two weeks, write stuff down. The goal is to minimize the number of items you pack, while maximizing your options.

When I go on vacation I am looking for options, mixing and matching can create brand new outfits. Why do you need three white shirts, one long, short and a tank top? Can you simplify and wear one twice? Usually I find that I can. And mixing and matching one over shirt for another, creates a totally different look. If you are packing things that have only one purpose in your travel wardrobe it better be pretty special for that event.

This goes double for shoes. Shoes are typically the heaviest and take up the most space. Limit the number of shoes you bring and packing instantly gets easier. The more you practice the pre-packing and mix and match planning, the easier it becomes.

A few other tips for packing that I have found extremely effective and simple:

  • Pack toiletries/make up etc. the morning you leave, while you are getting ready. If you have an early flight, pack the morning before you leave. This way you pack exactly what you use and need on a daily basis and not a bunch of extras.
  • Find and use a standard toiletry bag. The more you use the bag, the more you will know what you can fit and what you should be packing.
  • Prepack the standards. I keep my toiletry bag stocked with an extra toothbrush, deodorant, toothpaste, mini shampoo and conditioner and lotion. That way when I am packing in the morning, most of the work is done! It is also a great place to store some of those hotel samples that end up unused in the back of the cabinet.

Good Luck and happy packing!

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