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Packing Light for Any Vacation

Tips for Traveling Carry-On Only

by Katie Aune – May 9, 2013

Tallin, EstoniaSpring has finally sprung in Chicago, which means summer is just around the corner, right? And, of course, with summer comes vacation season. Whether you’re headed out of town for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, packing light is key to avoiding the hassle of checking your bags when you fly – and the exorbitant fees that come with it!

Packing light doesn’t have to be difficult – it really means being smart about what – and how – you pack.

Pick a versatile neutral and coordinate

Whether you prefer black or brown, silver or gold, choose a base color for your clothes, shoes and accessories and build your travel wardrobe around it. Grab a black skirt, a pair of black pants and a few colorful tops and you can mix and match for a week. Jeans can also be incredibly versatile as they go with almost everything and can be dressed up or down as necessary.

Roll, roll, roll

Forget folding your clothes as you pack – roll them to save space. I usually divide my carry-on sized suitcase in half. On the left, I start with a bottom layer consisting of rolled pants, shorts or skirts, usually fitting four or five across. Then, I add in my rolled tops, usually six or seven across. This leaves the right side for a couple pairs of shoes, jewelry, undergarments and my curling iron (bonus tip: leave the hair dryer at home; almost every hotel will have one!).

Discover packing cubes

Packing CubesEvery Cheeky traveler should be using packing cubes! They are basically nylon and mesh cubes that come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. I first used these great organizers when I spent a year traveling around the world with just a 55 liter backpack. I used one for bottoms, another for tops, another for socks and yet another for undergarments (rolling everything within them, of course!). One even had a special compartment to keep dirty clothes separate from everything else. Even for a weekend trip, these are a great way to stay organized and prevent your suitcase from exploding all over your hotel room.

Avoid packing the heavy, bulky stuff

Are hiking or running shoes on your packing list? Wear them on the plane so they don’t weigh down your suitcase. Sure, it might take you an extra minute or two as you go through the security line, but when you arrive at your destination and don’t have to wait for your checked baggage, you’ll be happy you did. Likewise, if you’re bringing a fleece or sweater, throw it over your shoulders or tie it around your waist as you board the plane. Not only will it come in handy if you get chilly while flying, you will save space in your suitcase!

Don’t forget about your toiletries

Finally, one of the keys to traveling carry-on only is keeping your toiletries to a minimum so you can squeeze them all into the required one quart plastic bag. I usually include three ounce plastic bottles of my normal shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, eye drops, liquid foundation, travel-sized lotion and toothpaste and a small vial of my favorite perfume. Keep in mind that most hotels will have soap, shampoo and other toiletries available, so only pack what is absolutely necessary.

Whether you’re heading to the beach, the mountains or anywhere in between, it’s easier than you think to squeeze everything you need into your carry-on!

Posted in Get Out of Town