Over the years my peers have asked me “how do you manage to fit everything you need for a 2 week trip in one bag?” And it wasn’t until our last trip to Australia, when a woman asked me “did you really fit all your things in that bag”, that I realized it was something I probably need to share with people. So here it goes, a step by step guide on how to pack 2 weeks worth of stuff in a carry on bag.
- Its all about the bag. Last year, I decided that we should get quality bags for upcoming trips. We decided on the Osprey bag and REI bag for 2 reasons.
Both bags have great storage areas, they come with an additional day bag (that we usually use as our second carry on), and the whole thing can be worn as a backpack.
I usually use the REI bag. I prefer the REI because when we are going through check in sometimes they take a second look at the Osprey bag, inferring it might be too large as a carry on. As you can see from the picture below the Osprey is a bit wider when its full.
- Compression bags and pack it cubes are my new best friends! For a 2 week trip these are a must! Especially if you are going to be staying in more than one place.
- Compression bags are like vaccum bags, but for your clothes! They allow you to fit more clothes while saving space. Just put your clothes in a compression bag and roll. The rolling sucks the air out of the bag and Viols! A pile a clothes, cut in half.
- Pack it cubes help me to organize, I might use it for undergarments, bathing suits, and accessories. If I have multiple parts to the trip, I will split my clothes up into different pack it cubes so that my bag isn’t a mess and I don’t have to repack it every time we go to a new location.
- Toiletries, this is where things can get out of hand. Below, I illustrate what goes into my toiletry bag.
- Use lots of ziploc bags
- Buy travel size products or put your products into travel bottles
For my straight hair days:
For my curly hair/ beach days:
- Onto my kryptonite… SHOES… this is the one thing I need to work on… Ideally 3 shoes should be enough (one to walk in, one for dress purposes, and a flip flop). But I can never make up my mind and luckily I have small feet so I add a little more. This time, I brought 6 pairs of shoes. I need to do better, but check out below how I packed it. Shoes always go on the bottom!
- Clothes. Now you have to be really strategic about this and there are many ways you can do this. You have to do a lot of soul searching.
- My method is always to go with my favorite outfits and things that I know I will most likely wear.
- I try to stay away from throwing in clothes that I’ve never worn as I don’t know if I’ll actually wear it.
- Also try to bring items you can mix and match. I like to bring my jeans shirt as a staple because it adds layers in case I get cold and it can completely change the look of an outfit.
- I also pack by the day. Below you will see two rows. The first row is daytime and the second is evening. I literally think about what I am supposed to be doing each day and pick an outfit accordingly. In some of the days though there will only be a shirt or just pants because I plan to reuse something from another day.
- Remember, 9 times out of 10, in the unlikely occasion you forget something or run out of clothes, you can purchase it at your destination!
- Miscellaneous Items: Medicine
7. Finally, I put some of these clothes in compression bags and pack it cubes and there you go you have your complete bag! See the end result below ( the orange is the pack it cubes and my toiletry bag is in the middle):
Here is what we walk away with, including our day bag.
FYI: In my day bag, I put a fresh shirt or outfit, my compressible jacket, make up bag, and on plane essentials bag.
Hopefully you find some inspiration in my steps to packing light and even save a couple of bucks by avoiding a checked bag! If you have any questions or want to leave any feedback, please feel free to do so below!