Travel, Uncategorized

how to pack for an extended vacation… in a carry on.

Crazy, I know.

I had the AMAZING luxury of taking a three-week honeymoon to Europe. (Thanks Blaine for the time off, I promise to never do that again!) Packing for any trip seems overwhelming, but for three weeks, I had no idea where to start.

My now-husband, when we started planning our trip, mentioned he was only going to bring a backpack. My reaction:


I told him he was insane. You see, his idea of fashion and my idea of fashion are entirely different. He would be fine wearing the same outfit everyday and I was worried about repeat outfits in our pictures. I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as vain per say, but I do take pride in my attire. My family and friends told me there was no possible way… I guess the doubting made me more determined and I WAS UP FOR THIS CHALLENGE. If you saw my previous post Oh, the places you’ll go! you learned I traveled A TON for work before coming to work for Blaine, so I’d say my packing skills are above average; at least I had that to my advantage. 

I’ll also note, that in our three weeks of travel, we were going to me moving around a ton! To give you some reference; we took six flights, stayed in nine different hotels, rode four trains and walked what seemed like 500 miles. This meant packing up quickly was essential! 

I promise, it’s doable. Here are my top 10 tips:

1. Get over what you’re going to be wearing in pictures. If you are anything like me, I wear my favorite clothes on repeat anyway.

2. Laundry. You will be required to do laundry, no exception! I know you’re thinking, “but it’s vacation!”, I promise, it’s worth it. Here you have few options when it comes to laundry. 

  • Send laundry out at your hotel. This option can be pretty expensive, but a great option.
  • Do in yourself! You have a few options here, we did all of them.
    • Tide Travel Sink Packets – These are so easy and really get your clothes clean! We packed clothes for about 7-10 days. You wash in a sink and lay out to dry. We would always wash on the first day at a hotel so our items had time to dry.
    • Book an Air B&B with a washing machine
    • Visit a laundry mat – This was my favorite option. We could wash all our items and dry all of them in like an hour. It was a perfect time to catch up on our travel journal.

3. Your luggage totally matters.

  • I ended up buying the Genius Pack G3 22” spinner suitcase. I am a believer in spinner luggage. I think it makes a world of difference in maneuvering your bag and it removes the weight from your wrist. Yes, it does take up a tiny bit of you packing space, the easy of the four wheels outweighs that disadvantage. This bag was awesome. It has a ton of compartments on the inside that really helped me stay organized. It also has a laundry section with a compression system.
  • In full disclosure, I brought a carry on and a backpack. My backpack acted as my personal item and fit under the seat on flights. 
  • For my day-to-day activities, I packed a cross body bag and our Lanai Pack. <– Available for pre-order now.  So. Darn. Cute.

4. Packing cubes. If you only take one suggestion… PACKING CUBES. They are a true lifesaver on keeping your bag organized while also compressing your items.  I kept all my tops on one, bottoms in another, swim/pj’s in the 3rd. These were perfect for us moving around so much. My husband also used them and would 100% agree. I used these cubes!

Without packing cubes


With packing cubes


5. Plan out your clothes. Since you are doing laundry, keep in mind you are packing for 7-10 days, not your entire trip. Plan out outfits and be sure that each item you are bringing serves at least two purposes. Can you wear a top with jeans AND a pair of shorts? I ended up writing out each item I was bringing and matched it with another items. (Have I mentioned I’m super organized). I brought very neutral items that were easy to pair. Here is an example of what I packed. 

  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 4 pairs of shorts
  • 3 pairs of leggings
  • 3 dresses
  • 1 romper (Blaine Bowen Rory romper to be exact)
  • 4 T-shirts
  • 4 Tanks (My BB Faves that came with: Sloane & Take a Chill Pill)
  • 2 swimsuits
  • 2 pairs of PJ’s
  • Minimal jewelry – Blaine Bowen vinyl bracelets were perfect for day/night, same with my Harper Hoops 
  • 1 trusty jean jacket (that I literally wore everyday!

6.  Travel size everything. I didn’t bring any full size products. I had brought fillable bottles and uses all products I had. For my face wash/lotion/ect. I used the pill stacker. As I ran out of items, I just bought more travel size items. Especially if you are going to a big city, they will have pretty much everything you normally use! There was a Sephora in almost every city we visited! One final note– put everything in zip lock bags. I can’t tell you how many items leaked!


7. Portable chargers. These are essential for any type of travel. If you don’t have one, get one! Go for one that charges for at least 2-3 charges. We brought two and used them everyday.

8. Travel hairdryerOk, this one is more of luxury item. However, if you have curly hair like me, good luck using those hotel hair dryers and expecting your hair to look somewhat decent. They look like a vacuum. I ended up buying the DryBar baby bliss and it was magical. You can adjust the voltage right on the dryer and it folds up so tiny. I also brought a round brush, flat brush & a flat iron.

9. Shoes- My one mistakeThis is where I failed a bit. I brought TOO MANY shoes. To be exact, I brought: white leather shoes (looked cute with everything, wore them every day!), running shoes x 2, flip flops, flat sandals & leather booties. My leather booties I wore exactly ZERO times and they took up the most space. We walked so much that anytime I put them on for dinner, I made a last minute change to my white leather shoes or flat sandals. I could have also done without the second pair of running shoes, I’m not sure why exactly I thought I needed two?

10. Keep yourself healthy. This one is so important! Here are the steps I took:

  • I visited my primary care doctor a month or so before I left and told her I was traveling abroad. She gave me a collection of prescriptions for the “just in case” situations. (Email me if you want our list.) We also packed ibuprofen (great for those mornings after those wine nights), benadryl, mucinex, and band-aides.  
  • Bring a backpack with a camelback. Lucky wherever we were in Europe, the tap water was safe to drink. We filled up our pack each day to stay hydrated.
  • Snacks – We had protein powder, jerky, and bars.

Now that we are back to reality, I would suggest packing light to anyone. It was my saving grace for moving around so much. There were still items that I never wore and my pictures are perfect! Here are a few, stay tuned on a future post on more details from our trip. 

xx, angela


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