3 carry-on only packing tips

How I fashionably packed for a 10 day trip to London and Paris in ONLY carryon luggage.

Is it just me or is everyone under the assumption that we fashionistas only travel with two exploding check bags, a carry on and handbag ALL weighing more than we do?

More often than not, that’s the truth.

BUT I think we can all agree that traveling (especially abroad and solo) is SO much easier with less luggage to haul place to place.

When planning for my trip to London and Paris, I made it my mission to pack for this 10 day trip EXCLUSIVELY in a carry-on to my make solo travels that much easier. ALSO I wanted to prove to myself, fashionistas and society that a carry on can be packed in a trendy way. Based on how my looks were received in Europe, I’d say it was a success! So check out my 3 fashionable tips to packing only a carry on for your next trip!

1. Find the right luggage

Planning to pack in ONLY a carry on, I looked at my 8+ year old luggage and knew I needed a change. This decision was not just because my luggage was too old, but because 1. it is cloth which just won’t due in the London rain and 2. it is strictly roll behind luggage which makes navigating the airport and public transit an even greater pain! I also knew that having such limited space and 10 days worth of outfits, it was important to me to have a bag with designated laundry space. So after MUCH research I decided on the Minima Carry-on Spinner Suitcase in Sky Blue from Chester Travels. This hard shell carry-on is durable but lightweight, compact but spacious and an INCREDIBLE price for timeless luggage that will last a lifetime. I also LOVE that my Chester carry on has zipper compartments SPECIFICALLY designed to house dirty intimates and light weight items. Another important Chester feature beneficial to my solo travels? A built in, easy to use luggage lock! My Chester was the PERFECT travel companion throughout my solo adventures in Europe.

2. Pack light, intermixable, easy to roll items

Just like a capsule wardrobe, a travel wardrobe should consist of interchangeable pieces to create multiple outfits out of fewer items. What should these items look like? For this trip, I focused on bottoms, tops and onsies!

First, consider 3 bottoms— one denim, a light airy bottom and a statement bottom. These are all bottoms you can wear more than once with easily interchangeable tops! For tops, I choose to pack stylish light fabrics and bold mix able colors in various sleeve lengths. Materials that easily roll and hardly wrinkle were KEY for this trip; rolling items rather than folding pieces offers MUCH more space! Another trendy yet carry-on friendly outfit tip—JUMPSUITS! Jumpsuits made of light fold-able material are a convenient way to create a fashionable outfit while saving space too!

*tops folded to show fabric type. Roll these items rather than fold when packing.

*NOTE—Something I did not properly plan for on my trip to London and Paris was the very cold weather. While living in London 5 years ago we were lucky to have a very warm spring season and I couldn’t get that weather out of my mind! So being the dreamer I am, I neglected to pack enough cold weather items for a 10 day long trip. Sure my multiple light weight long sleeves paired with my denim or leather jacket got me through but I did pick up a sweater along the way!

3. Consolidate

Consolidating or deciding what exactly was necessary for my 10 day trip to London and Paris was likely the hardest part for me. Mostly because I hate not being prepared and therefore ALWAYS over pack (ESPECIALLY makeup and beauty products)! But by prepping my skin on flights using Patchology, organizing, rolling and arranging my wardrobe MUST haves I seriously consolidated and made it work!

To save both space and carry on weight (I was only allotted 10 kilos or 22lbs), I elected to wear my heavier Levi’s denim and Dr. Martens on my flight. Though you may not find this as comfortable, these are items I wear often and am most comfortable in. Plus, knowing these items would hinder my carry on packing space and weight, for me it was well worth it to wear these items on my flight!

And to truly consolidate, I made sure to pack only the skincare and makeup items I TRULY needed, 2 pair of shoes in addition to my docs (one for dressing up and one for dressing down). Much like in NYC, I walked an average of 7-10 miles a day while in London and Paris! Having comfortable but cute shoes was a GAME CHANGER! I also recommend taking advantage of EVERY space and pack items inside of other items. For example I packed socks and my belt inside of my shoes and as mentioned before rolling rather than folding clothes is a true space saver too!

What fun summer adventure are you packing for?

PLEASE follow A Grim Sense of Style and subscribe to my emails for my review of the latest styles, as well as fashionable confidence boosting tips every week! You’ll have first access to my latest feel-GREAT tips when you subscribe to emails from A Grim Sense of Style and follow along on Instagram.

*A special thank you to Chester and Patchology for partnering with me on this post and on my travels abroad!

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