We have all been there: you find a killer deal to your ideal travel destination, but in the fine print you see the outrageous cost of checking a bag. Now you have to stuff the entirety of your vacation wardrobe into one itty bitty, carry-on suitcase. Depending on the length and nature of your trip, this could be a minor inconvenience or a huge roadblock into achieving your ideal destination dreams. Making the most of your limited carry-on space can actually be a fun and exciting challenge! The key is making pieces—accessories, makeup, and clothes alike—do double duty. Casting a critical eye to your closet will give you a fresh new perspective on your clothes.
Capsule Wardrobe Mentality
Capsule wardrobes are all the rage in 2019! Capsule wardrobes is a means of streamlining your closet and taking the guess work out of getting dressed. People usually construct capsule wardrobes with the end goal of making every piece, including shoes, work together in some fashion. You can make a set number of outfits by mixing and matching any of the pieces in your closet, and the idea is that they will almost always go together.
Approach packing your carry-on with this same, double-duty mentality. Make every piece workable with all or most of the items you’re bringing. In addition to saving space by minimizing the amount of clothes you need to make cohesive outfits, you will look very put together every day of your trip—because you have essentially planned out all of your outfits ahead of time!
Focus first on classic pieces as the base of each outfit, and then slowly incorporate trendy clothes and accessories if you have any you would like to wear on your trip.
Choose a Handbag/Personal Item Carefully
Some airlines are super picky about allowing only one personal item. For instance, if an airline allows you a personal item and a carry on, you are permitted to bring your purse in addition to a suitcase or backpack. But if an airline specifies that you may only bring one personal item, you can only bring anything small enough to store under the seat in front of you. If your trip is walking intensive, think about scaling back from a purse—which would take up a lot of space tucked away in a carry-on—to something like a clutch or fanny pack.
The Three Necessities
There are three accessories that will prove invaluable on any trip: sunglasses, flats, and a belt. They both work to pull an outfit together and are totally functional! When worn all together with a classic top and some nice jeans, you evolve into an effortlessly stylish world traveler.
Clothes Must Do Double Duty
Unless there is a special occasion or a functional reason for bringing on a certain piece, remind yourself when packing that every item must be wearable more than once on a trip. Some clothes are naturally more suited to this than others, which reinforces the earlier idea that classics are preferable over trendy items. For instance, a classic white button up can be worn in a thousand different ways, but a bell-sleeved crop top with that season’s pattern featuring thirty different colors might be less flexible.
Part of making the most of your carry-on space is knowing what kind of trip you are taking. Will you be Instagramming your heart out and posting endless pics? In that case, you might be more inclined to pack fashion forward pieces, including less sensible shoes for walking and other, more involved excursions. On the other hand, if you would like to keep your focus solely on the experience on the trip and aren’t worrying yourself over what you look like in pics, packing chic, classic pieces will be an easier task for you.
Of course, you can have it both ways: there are tons of clothing lines that feature convertible straps and allow for a variety of different styles using only one piece of clothing.
Make Makeup Pull Its Weight
Makeup is one of those things that can fall by the wayside when packing for a trip. It seems so obvious: just pack the essentials, right? But your makeup bag can start to swell up real quickly when you start to convince yourself that you just NEED that tube of your favorite shade of lipstick, and that turquoise eyeliner, and that eyebrow pencil, etc…because hey, you never know when you’re going to want to look fancy on the fly, right?
Makeup is incredibly versatile. Your mascara can work as eyeliner, and so can your eyebrow product. In that same vein, try matching your lipstick with your blush by using your lipstick AS blush for a creamy, monochrome look that looks effortlessly chic.