packing light

packing light in a carry-on

sean and i are heading out of the country soon for about 11 days (eek!) and i got my packing done nice and early.

we’ve done quite a bit of international travel over our nearly 14 years of marriage and during those trips we have lost luggage several times!  this time, i have decided to pack as light as possible and fit it all in a carry-on (one for each of us) so we can keep an eye on our luggage.

packing light in a carry-on

for the most part, this is all the clothes i’m packing.  not shown are my running clothes, camisoles, under”things”, and a jacket.

1. leggings \\  2. ankle length jeans \\ 3. ankle length black pants \\ 4. lightweight neutral cardigan (similar) \\  5. long black cardigan \\ 6. 3/4 length sleeve cardigan (similar) \\  7. grey v-neck t-shirt \\  8. camo t-shirt (similar) \\  9. striped shirt (similar) \\  10. boho blouse (similar) \\  11. dolman top (similar) \\  12.  shear lacey tank (similar)\\  13.  black tunic (similar) \\  14. black cocktail dress (similar)

packing light in a carry-on

and these are the accessories and shoes i’m packing (plus my running shoes).  i could definitely get away with just 3 pair if it were;t for the cocktail evenings and running.

packing light in a carry-on

my mom gave me these handy little packing bags from ikea and they are awesome!  i was able to fit all of my clothes and accessories into them and they are nice and organized.

there are so many options for outfit choices, many more than i’m sharing, but this is just a small sampling…

packing light in a carry-on

travel outfit

flats for slipping on and off easily through airport security, leggings for maximum comfort, a long loose shirt, a lightweight sweater, and a scarf to ward off chilly airplane air.  i also pack a pair of socks in my personal bag because as soon as i’m on the plane i kick off my shoes and get cozy.

1, 4, 9

packing light in a carry-on

running gear

packing light in a carry-on

we have to attend a couple cocktail events, so i packed a simple black dress, wedges, and a cardigan.

6, 14

packing light in a carry-on

3, 6, 12

packing light in a carry-on

 3, 12

packing light in a carry-on

 3, 9

packing light in a carry-on

 3, 10

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 5, 10

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 4, 9

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 5, 9

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 9

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 5, 7

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 5, 7

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 5, 12

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 5, 11

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 5, 8

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 4, 8

packing light in a carry-on

 2, 5, 13

packing light in a carry-on

 1, 5, 13

i think i could’ve packed even a little less, but i love having options when i travel.  and everything is thin enough that it all packs in tight and i have plenty of options!



  1. 1

    I think this is my most favorite post of yours ever. Where do you get your leggings?

    I hope you have a wonderful trip!

    • 2

      thanks! i have had leggings from walmart for years, but just replaced them with ones from forever 21 because they were getting a bit stretched out and thin.

  2. 3

    What do you do for cosmetics with a carry-on? It would be hard to stay within the liquid limits for an 11 day trip.

    • 4

      i have a cosmetics bag that i put all my non-liquids in, then a couple clear bags for the bottles of liquids. thankfully, we’ll be staying in a hotel the majority of the time that will provide us with all the shampoo, lotion, etc we’ll need beyond what we bring.

  3. 5

    This is so great! My husband and I did the carry on thing to Europe and it worked out well, until we started buying stuff and didn’t have anywhere to put it for the flight home. Oh well, live and learn, right! Have a safe and great trip! Wish I was going!

    • 6

      good point! thankfully, both of our suitcases are expandable, so if we buy some goodies, we’ll have room for them!

  4. 7

    Looks like super efficient packing and exactly what I try and do! I’m very lucky in that, despite many, many international flights, I’ve always gotten my luggage. BUT, it is SO much easier to just NOT deal with baggage claim. Hop off the plane and get to where you’re going!

  5. 8

    Thank you so much for sharing this. My daughter and I are headed to Paris this summer and I have been stressing about packing. I have a tendency to overpack and it always causes me undue stress.
    I hope you and your hubby have a great trip!

  6. 9

    My husband is a pilot and we travel stand by all the time. I learned early on (we’ll be married 14yrs. May 20th) you don’t check your bag you take a carry on with you. You may have to handle a bag but, it’s nice to have your clothes when you get there. :-).

    If you have an extra bag that will roll up small. You can put it in your carry on so you can put all the extra things you buy in it.

    Hope you have a great trip!!

  7. 12

    I love your jewellery! Is any of it available onine?

  8. 14

    This post is so helpful – I’m going to keep it for future reference. I can’t believe all of the cute outfits you were able to put together with those clothes. I’m definitely guilty of over packing when I go on a trip, and I don’t end up wearing half the things I bring! Love those bags from Ikea! Thanks so much for sharing this. Have a really fun trip!

  9. 15

    Wow! You are great at packing! Maybe I can just invite you to my house and you can pack for me :)

  10. 16

    Thanks so much for posting this- we are planning a seattle-Alaska cruise with our two boys and I need to pack light since we will be in close quarters and the boys need so much stuff…

  11. 17

    Very well executed. I like to carry on also and save the $$$.

  12. 18

    I like options too and that’s why I’m a terrible overpacker!

    This is a great list.

    I did do 19 days in Great Britain three years ago in one backpack. I did laundry mid trip for jeans and unders but really did just fine with a pair of yoga pants, a pair of jeans, and a pair of black pants. Flipped tops around with different cardis. I only took one pair of pearl earrings for jewelry.

    Oh, also packed sneakers and workout clothes. I don’t even know where those fit but somehow they did!

  13. 19

    Love those black sandals! Where are they from??

  14. 21

    I love seeing how other people pack. Can you just send me that suitcase for my future travels? Thanks :) Seriously, I love your style!

  15. 22

    Hi there,

    Are you having trouble with your shop link? I tried yesterday and today; once on an iPad and today on a PC and both times I clicked on the link it says page not found! I tried the link from your homepage, end of your post, and also at the top of your blog page. I was hoping to place an order!


    • 23

      hi meghan!
      i actually closed my shop a couple months ago and just have not closed those links. someday i may go back to opening my shop, but for now i am enjoying some long lost mind space and time with my family!


      • 24
        Meghan says:

        Oh bummer! I loved your stuff, the diaper clutch was my go- to for shower gifts and were always a big hit! While I hope you open back up I also understand the family time, enjoy!

  16. 25

    Love this… Your outfits are fantastic! I hope you have a wonderful trip…I also have the “Camo” top from Target (which I love). Glad it’s getting to go with you since mine will be stuck state side this year!

  17. 26

    I was wondering, do you wash your clothes or just re-wear them? I am going to Europe in June and this post was very helpful!

    • 27

      i will just re-wear everything. its not supposed to be very warm, so they shouldn’t get sweaty. hopefully i don’t spill on myself!

  18. 28

    LOVE this!!! I’m the WORST packer EVER! I always overpack and never wear half of the pieces I bring! I’ll have to remember this for my next trip!

  19. 29
    Rochelle says:

    I love this post!!! Would love to see some for summer outfits. I need lots of help with making new outfits. Have a great time and think about doing more posts like this where you show outfits from just a few pieces:0)

  20. 30

    Great job with the packing tips! I love all of the combinations you show, so many different options! Very smart.

  21. 31

    I love this post! I love how you did all neutrals so you can mix and match everything. I think I get bogged down when I travel, trying to pack 15 separate outfits.

  22. 32

    So, so, so smart! What a great way to pack and you’re still accessorized! I love it. Great work and great post, I am always looking for help on how to pack more efficiently. I’m getting there…in baby steps!


    That Comfort Girl

  23. 33

    Love this post! I need some fashion help bad!! Lol!! Can you do a post soon about basic summer pieces that can mix and match? Have a wonderful trip!

  24. 34

    Great packing tutorial- you picked some great outfits!

  25. 35

    This is such a timely post for me! We are going to Europe at the end of May–also for 11 days! I’ve been planning to minimize what I pack. This post gave me some great ideas! And your outfits are super cute!

  26. 36

    Hello! This is my first time on your blog! This was an excellent post. I am always looking for ways to pack lighter on trip. For some reason I always over pack!!!

  27. 37

    Love your outfits !! Love your style! Enjoy your travels !!

  28. 38

    This is the best post I’ve seen on packing and all your outfits are super ! Can you share what your carry on is ( name ) . Thank you for this. As always you are adorable :)

  29. 39

    Such a wonderful post!!! I will definitely be using this as a template for my first international trip!

  30. 40

    I have had my luggage lost twice while traveling internationally. No bueno. I love this idea. I think I need to take a trip to try it! :)

    I also bring socks in my bag for the same reason. Love to kick off my shoes and get comfy.

    From your latest posts, looks like your packing plan worked and you had a great trip! xoxo

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