How to Pack Just a Carry-On & Look Fabulous When You Travel

how to pack light

Lost luggage, checked baggage fees, and that endless wait at baggage claim…why would you ever want to check a bag? Whenever possible, I pack light and bring carry-on luggage only. If you are a habitual over-packer, I know traveling without a checked bag sounds like an impossible task, but I assure you it can be done. It takes a bit of planning and some folding skills, but you can travel with only a carry-on and have everything you need.

Travel Sizes Are Your Friend

One of the easiest ways to overload your suitcase? Bring full-size containers when you travel. You do not need your entire makeup bag or medicine cabinet while you’re on vacation. Think about the bare necessities and any extras you will need to look fabulous, and then pack only those items. 

Mini Cosmetics to pack light

Pack Light: Personal Care Packing Tips 

Skincare: You know those “free gift with purchase” samples you get from time to time? I always save them for when I travel. The promotional sizes are perfect for traveling and save a lot of space. Alternatively, when you’re shopping, stop by your favorite beauty counters and ask if they have any extra samples available; usually they will be happy to give you some. Then, instead of disposing of the containers after you’re finished the samples, save them and refill them when you travel.

Bathroom: Most four-star hotels offer shower gel, hairdryers, and other amenities in the bathroom. However, if you aren’t sure, call and ask the front desk or check online to see which products are available for use. This inquiry will save you from bringing unnecessary products in your luggage.

Makeup: A great alternative to lugging around full-sized cosmetics is Stowaway Makeup. Their mini-makeup products fit perfectly in your purse or suitcase. If you must bring large, full-sized products, try to condense your routine to save space. If you plan to apply a full face, you will need:

Stick to a Color Palette

When packing a carry-on and trying to save space, grabbing your favorite outfits from the closet and throwing them in your suitcase just won’t do it. To save space, coordinate your looks with one color scheme and you will get so much more out of what you pack. Think in terms of either cool colors, like blues, purples, pinks, white, and black, or warm tones, such as oranges, tans, greens, reds, yellows, cream, and browns. You will be able to mix and match your tops and bottoms more easily, and you can pack either one black or brown belt, handbag, and jacket. Plus, color-coordinating will help you when packing shoes and makeup.

How Many Pairs of Shoes Do You Need?

Speaking of shoes…let’s logically think about this. If you are traveling with a carry-on, you must be selective about what to pack. You will be able to fit only two, maybe three pairs of shoes in your suitcase. Here’s my rule of thumb: I wear my bulkiest pair, like boots or wedges, on the plane; pack a pair of flats for daytime, and pack a pair of heels for evenings. If I can squeeze in some ballet flats or flip flops, I add those in, as they are good to throw on around the hotel.

Take Outfits From Day to Night 

Transitioning your outfits from day to night can save a lot of space in your suitcase. Think about which tops that you may wear for a work event or a casual afternoon can be dressed up at night. Additionally, change from your tee into a blouse, and you can wear the same jeans during both the day and evening with different shoes.

Know Your Itinerary and Plan Ahead  

How to pack light

The best way to pack light? Know what you plan to do while traveling and bring outfits for that specific occasion. This is where most people go wrong: they pack first and plan second. When you do this, you end up bringing things you don’t need and may not have the right clothing for what you actually are doing.

Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure, use my tips to pack light and smarter. Bring only what you need and eliminate the stress of checked baggage. If you must bring an item that you simply cannot carry onto the plane, consider eliminating the stress of checking it by shipping it ahead of time.

Stay fabulous,

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Sherita Rankins
Sherita Rankins

Detroit born, NYC based Model, Actress & Host, is the Editor-in-Chief of Busy Wife Busy Life. This fashion expert and former finance professional loves to travel and is a total foodie. When she is not staying “busy” she loves to cook, play tennis and relax on the beach.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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