A Carry-On Packing Guide

Packing to go on a trip can be incredibly stressful if you aren’t prepared. Some of my long-time friends will tell you that when I was younger, I was the ultimate over-packer. I would bring five different bags with me for a sleepover, dragged three large suitcases with me when I went away for a summer, and usually took an entire suitcase with me just for my shoes. It wasn’t until I went to live in Australia for a while, and could only bring a large backpack with me that I was forced to confront my over-packing, and determine how much I really needed to bring with me.

Since then, I’ve travelled a lot, and as I mentioned in this post, I now only take a carry-on suitcase with me when I travel. This can be difficult depending on how long you are away for, but if you are strategic, it’s definitely possible! Currently I am in France, and I will be taking you through how I packed my bag for this trip!

First thing’s first, I have a fantastic suitcase that I love. It is hard-shell, has a lock, and the wheels spin in all different directions, which make it easy to move around. I found this black marble Calpak one here at Nordstrom online, and it was delivered really quickly! I’ve taken it all over the world with me, and it’s held up quite nicely for me. It was definitely a splurge, but was something that I knew I wanted to save for and invest in. You can find a lot of other great suitcases on a budget, like this one on sale now, this set of three, and this one in lots of fun colours! 

First and foremost, check the weather forecast for where you are going. This enables you to pack dependant on the temperature and potential rain/snow that may happen. I tend to determine a complete outfit for each day that I am away, with a few interchangeable pieces, and limit the number of extras that I used to bring ‘just in case’. I am always sure to pack an umbrella with me, and a coat if it rains, as well as comfortable shoes for walking.

The best trick when actually packing your bags, is to fold and roll. I cannot remember who showed me this trick, but it has served me well for years. Having all of the rolled items stacked in a line really frees up extra space you never knew you had!

For this trip, the weather will be quite warm with a moderate breeze. I chose to bring a pair of jeans, a couple tops, three dresses, and two bathing suits, along with a few accessories, and the other items pictured here.

Planning my outfits in advance is so beneficial because I won’t need to dig around in my bag to find things that will go together, and I will have an idea about what I will need to wear for the activity that I will be doing that day. If I do not feel like wearing that outfit that day, I will alternate with another planned outfit, and then I will have that outfit for a different day. I choose things that are comfortable, versatile, easy to pack, and weather appropriate – but of course, still cute. Each pair of shoes I bring also serves a purpose, and all of them are always shoes that I can walk in for longer periods of time – I am always so comfortable in wedge heels since I have such a high arch, but this isn’t the case for everyone so be sure to pack shoes that are comfortable for you personally!

I never bring a computer with me when I travel, because I prefer to focus on what I am doing and where I am, and would rather bring along a book or a few magazines instead. This is also helpful because it leaves a significant amount of space free in my personal bag that goes under my seat on the plane. In that bag, I tend to bring the necessities (passport, ID, travel documents, phone charger), and always have my liquid and gel items pre-packed in a ziploc bag or clear toiletries bag inside of it. This makes it easier going through security, and less likely that my bags will need to be searched!

After rolling up the larger items, I place the more awkward-shaped items on the top, and the shoes on the side that buckles. Smaller personal items, such as undergarments, I zip away into small pockets, and try to leave as much room as possible in my bag so that I can have extra space for any souvenirs I may bring back with me.

There we have it! Packed, zipped, and ready for France!