Carry On 101: How To Pack Lightly & Travel In Style

One of the downsides of traveling besides getting through TSA and generally being in a crowded flying torpedo with recycled air, is packing. While it may seem like you need ALL that stuff now, packing lightly will actually make your trip much more pleasant. Think about it, do you really want to lug two gigantic suitcases around? Probably not. And, you don’t have to sacrifice your style dignity. You can still pack lightly and maintain your fashion sense by making a few smart adjustments. Here’s how to pack lightly and still look amazing -even when you’re traveling far and for extended periods of time.

Sort Your Shoes

We’re discussing this first because shoes take up a lot of room and they’re heavy. You’re going to have to go without your entire shoe wardrobe. Plain and simple. Now, I know you’re thinking, “How will I survive without at least 10 pairs of shoes?” It’s easy. Only bring the basics. We know those fabulous crystal encrusted, strappy Christian Louboutin stilettos with the giant platform are exciting and all, but they’re not practical for travel. Only bring comfortable shoes in basic colors that you can wear with multiple outfits. Also, unless you’re wearing them to and from the airport, don’t pack any tall knee-high boots. They take up way too much space. So, if you want to bring them, just wear them there and back. Ideally your shoe travel haul should go like this:

  • 1 pair neutral/nude tone flats and/or 1 pair black flats
  • 1 pair of neutral/nude tone heels
  • 1 pair of black heels
  • 1 pair of sneakers

Simplify Your Wardrobe

Like your shoes, you’re going to have to make your wardrobe as versatile and interchangeable as possible. Only pack items that are practical and complementary and can be mixed and matched to create different outfits with the same pieces. Pack long tunics that can be worn with both pants and tights. Also, pack looser fits that can be belted and layered to create different outfits. You should always be think of layering. Dresses can be transformed into skirts by adding a cute embellished sweater or a body-con dress can turn into a top by adding a full skirt over the top. Get creative with your layering and you can create multiple outfits with a few pieces.


Utilize a Garment Bag as Your “Personal Item”

As you know, airlines allow one carry-on and one personal item. A garment bag counts as a personal item, so definitely utilize that extra space and place heavier, bulky clothing in a garment bag. That way you will have more space in your carry-on for non-clothing items like shoes and accessories. And you might be wondering, where do I put my personal items? Instead of carrying a purse or laptop bag, pack your computer in a sleeve in your suitcase and use the front pocket of your carry-on to store your wallet, keys, passport etc.

Forget Big Handbags

Big carry-all handbags are out of the picture. Pack only clutches and small bags to maximize your space. Pack one neutral tone clutch and one black clutch and you’ll be all set. Also, we recommend one of those packable nylon totes that compact down and unzip to create a carry-all bag, just in case. Also, when it comes to handbags, structured leather handbags are extremely space-consuming, so opt for softer, more flexible leathers and fabrics.

Small bags are best for travel!
Small bags are best for travel!

Minify Everything

It’s no mystery that you need travel size toiletries when you travel, but you can also go mini on other things like curling irons, blow dryers, brushes, umbrellas, and electronics. Also, if there’s anything that will be available at the hotel like toiletries and blow dryers, omit it from your luggage. The lighter the better.

Travel Kits & Palettes

While we’re on the minify topic, there are tons of travel kits and all-in-one makeup palettes that will make your life easier when you travel. If you want to completely simplify your toiletries and reduce your load, pick up an all-one-makeup palette like Too Faced’s ‘Glamour To Go’ kit or one of these PINCH Provisions Minimergency® kits that contain all sorts of essentials like Advil, Bandaids, nail polish remover, thread and needles, nail files etc. in on handy little bag.








Too Faced Glamour To Go, $20

PINCH Provisions Minimergency® Kit, $25



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Desiree Rabuse

Desiree Rabuse is a social entrepreneur and founder & CEO of StyleFox®. She's a devout bookworm, a fan of "Dad" jokes, and an apparent INTP. She loves snowboarding, philosophy, traveling, martial arts, coffee, and helping people lead healthy, happy, more efficient lives.

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