Monday, 12 June 2017

How I Travel with Nothing But Carry-On Luggage

How I Travel with Nothing But Carry-On Luggage

This morning, I’m boarding my first flight of the year and going on vacation! Considering I’ve spent most of the last four years bouncing around from place-to-place, it feels weird to think I’ve been in Victoria and Squamish for the past eight months. It’s actually been really nice to stay closer to home and settle in somewhere new. But after submitting the second draft of The Year of Less in May, I knew I wanted to go on a trip. And after everything that’s happened in my personal life, it could not have come at a better time.

I’m first flying to Minneapolis, where I’ll be staying with Anthony and Amy (and their dog Rocky!) for a week. From there, I’ll be driving across the country with my friend Darrell and his dog Cooper. Darrell is on an indefinite road trip right now. Knowing he wanted to spend his summer in the Pacific Northwest, we somehow devised the plan that I should drive back with him. We don’t have a route mapped out yet, other than knowing we want to stop in Jackson Hole and then go to the ConvertKit conference in Boise. I would also like to explore Bend.

My goal for this trip – and any trip where I have to board a plane – was to fit everything I would need into two pieces of carry-on luggage. I don’t pack this way because I’m a minimalist. I like to travel with carry-on luggage because it makes everything easier. For starters, you don’t have to pay a fee to check any baggage, which helps your budget. You don’t have to wait for your baggage to be offloaded, or risk having the airline lose it altogether. It’s easier to carry/drag around on your trip. And the best part: you are forced to only bring what you need.

Considering how much the weather changes between the cities and the mountains, packing for this trip could have been a daunting task. Then tack on the fact that we are going to a conference in the middle of it. But as you might remember, this is just like a mini version of the road trip I went on last year (conference included!). I didn’t show you my exact packing list then, but I thought you might like to see how I am travelling for three weeks with nothing but carry-on luggage right now.

What I’m Packing in My Carry-On Suitcase

I should first explain that the way I pack is pretty strategic. Whenever I’m flying somewhere, I always bring two bags: a suitcase and a backpack. (In the past, I travelled with a suitcase and a big purse, but I don’t own any purses now. I’ll save that conversation for another post.)

Each bag serves a purpose. The suitcase is filled with clothes and shoes, and anything else that fits but which does not need to be pulled out at security. That’s the goal for this piece of carry-on luggage: to just put it on the conveyor belt and be done with it.

How I Travel with Nothing But Carry-On Luggage

I have to be honest and say packing clothes is easy for me, because I barely own any as it is. What you’re looking at here is about two-thirds of my entire wardrobe. Most of what I am leaving behind is only appropriate for winter. So I guess you could say this is my spring/summer/fall wardrobe!?

  • 3 tank tops
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 3 long-sleeve shirts
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • 1 pair of khakis
  • 1 dress
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 jean jacket
  • 1 rain jacket

How I Travel with Nothing But Carry-On Luggage

  • 1 hat
  • 1 toque (beanie)
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of running shoes
  • 1 pair of boots

How I Travel with Nothing But Carry-On Luggage

Altogether, I’ve packed 17 items of clothing (not including underwear/bras/socks/bathing suit), 3 pairs of shoes and 2 hats; that’s 22 items total – or 11 items less than your typical capsule wardrobe! And honestly, I still feel like there’s a good chance I won’t wear everything.

Not pictured:

  • my outfit for the plane (but the number of items is included in the totals)
  • 12 pairs of underwear
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 2 bras
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 quick-drying towel

What I’m Bringing in My Backpack

Since my carry-on suitcase is packed with things that don’t need to be pulled out for security, can you guess what goes into my backpack? Yep, the things that do. :) Since I have a NEXUS card, I’m actually not supposed to have to bring out my laptop or bag of liquids, but most airports still ask you to and that’s ok. To save time in the security line, though, I like to keep both of them in the same compartment of my backpack. That way I’m not stuck trying to unpack/repack things, which makes both me and the people behind me happier.

How I Travel with Nothing But Carry-On Luggage

  • 1 laptop
  • 2 journals
  • 1 pen
  • 3 books (this is the one thing I usually overpack)
  • 1 wallet (containing passport, NEXUS card, other IDs, cash, credit, etc.)
  • 1 water bottle

Not pictured:

  • laptop charger
  • phone + phone charger
  • the backpack itself (it’s the size of a regular school bag, nothing fancy)

How I Travel with Nothing But Carry-On Luggage

As for toiletries, you’re looking at everything I use on a daily basis here. While I use shampoo, conditioner and body lotion made by 100% Pure when I’m at home, I’m trying to use up the last of any travel-size products I have on this trip (hence the Garnier and Aveeno stuff).

  • shampoo/conditioner/razor
  • moisturizer/concealer/mascara (this is my 1-minute makeup routine, all made by 100% Pure)
  • lotion (my skin gets extra dry while travelling)
  • deodorant
  • stuff to keep my teeth clean :)
  • allergy pills + Magnesium with melatonin (helps me sleep)
  • eyedrops (see: allergies lol)
  • sunscreen with SPF 60/lip balm with SPF 30
  • hairbrush with a few hair elastics
  • Tide to Go pen

…and that’s it!

I’ve done this enough times and know myself well enough that I can tell I’m still probably slightly overpacked for this trip. My guess is I’ll only wear two-thirds of the clothes, read one book, and barely use the concealer or lip balm. But even if I had packed less, I still would’ve brought the same two pieces of carry-on luggage with me, so I don’t mind carrying around the extra pound or two this time.

I have no idea what the next three weeks will hold, and have zero expectations for this trip as a whole. Like I told Anthony and Darrell, I’m just excited to spend time with friends, see a little more of the United States, and get hours and hours of cuddle time with their dogs. Dog therapy is the best therapy. <3

Was this helpful at all? Or do you have any pro-packing tips to share with us? :)

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