Okay, so I keep seeing all of these articles and videos pop up on my Facebook feed about how these ninja packers are able to pack for their entire trips in just a tiny carry on and and personal item. And you know what? I feel jealous…and in awe….because I’m all over here like:
Really, I have been wanting to try this whole packing light thing for a while. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a bit, know that I used to work in the airline industry. And frankly, I hate having to buy plane tickets now, let alone baggage fees! So, I am all about trying to fit everything I can into one tiny bag. But I swear, I am the worst over packers, so I had my doubts on if it could be done. But you know what?? I DID IT!!! And wait til you see how much I
shoved fit inside that bag! There is hope for the rest of us yet!
For my trip, it was summer time and we were coming from South Carolina and heading to Canada and upstate New York. Weather would be between the 50s-90s, I had to pack for all sorts of weather conditions. Now, I’m not gonna lie, there was a moment during my packing where I was just like, you know what?? Forget it, I’m just gonna get on the plane like this:
(Ha, I am always down for a good Friends meme, still love that show!). But really though, take a peak, this is what went into my carry on:
In case you can’t tell in that mess of clothes, that is exactly:
- 3 jeans (1 was worn on the plane)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 10 shirts ( 6 tank tops, 2 short sleeve shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts) Wore 1 tank and 1 short sleeve shirt on plane
- 5 sweaters/cardigans (wore 1 tied around my waist on plane)
- 2 pajama pants
- 1 pajama shirt (tanks doubled as pajama shirts too)
- 2 bathing suits
- 1 dress
- 1 pair of flip flops (wore sneakers on the plane since they were bulkier)
Not to mention a bunch of underwear (2 of which were Thinx)
, some bras, etc. I also fit in there some medicines, thermometer, mini shower essentials, deodorant, razor, hair dryer, straightener, curling iron, brush, toothbrush, makeup…. (Hi, I’m Kelly and I’m an over packer.)
And this is just a small roller bag, not even the biggest size you can carry on. So as you can see….it can be done…even for the over packers among us!
In case you’re curious, my “personal item” included my empty purse rolled up inside, passport, book, airport snacks, camera, important travel info, wallet, etc.
I gotta say, I’m pretty proud of myself for my first attempt at doing this longer than a couple days.
So, how exactly does it all fit in there?? It’s all about folding. I know, we’ve heard it time and time again, but it’s actually about how it’s folded. I wasn’t sure that it would work, but here’s the proof!!
Start with your pants. Put each pair on top of each other, flat:
Grab all of them and fold lengthwise:
Now, fold them in half the other way. Grab the waist and bring them down to the ankles:
Put them first in your carry on:
Next, grab your long sleeve cardigans/sweaters/ and even short sleeve t-shirts. Put them on top of each other, sleeves out stretched:
Next, grab all of the sleeves on one side and cross them over the chest, like this:
Next, take the other arms and do the same. Fold them across the chest, over the top of the other sleeves:
Finally, fold- don’t roll- the bottoms, up to the neck:
Put those on top of the pants in your carry on:
Doesn’t look like there’s much room left does it? Oh, but there is!
Time for tank tops and fitted short sleeve shirts. Put them all on top of each other:
Start rolling from the bottom up to the neck:
There’s probably room to put them right at the front. Shouldn’t be on top of pants or anything.
I had one casual dress I was bringing too. I did this separately, but the same way as my tank tops, but I folded it in half first, like the pants:
I found room for that bad boy along the other side of the suitcase. (Packing like this actually really helps with things not being wrinkly when they get to your destination…as long as they start out that way, lol)
Voila! Put underwear/bathing suits, etc in first, under the pants. And you know what? I still found room for my hair dryer, straightener, curling iron, etc in their. I used the pocket on the top half of my carry on for toiletries, medicines, and other small items.
There are a couple ways to go about this….either try to pack mostly neutrals and spice up your wardrobe with jewelry or scarfs. The other option is to pick one staple piece of clothing and make everything else fit around that. Pretty much the idea is to make every item fit together with the other pieces of clothing so that you can have the most options of mixing and matching and easy to pick any items together and throw them on.
Bring layers. Less bulky sweaters and more thinner items that can be worn over each other for warmth. (I was still able to fit a couple heavier sweaters in there. 1 of which I tied around my waist at the airport to save room.)
Book a few hotels that have laundry facilities available for you to wash and dry your clothes and strategic points throughout your trip. We only needed to wash clothes once, halfway through the trip.
Seriously, try to pack less. Yes, I fit all of this stuff in my bag, but I didn’t even wear everything. It would have helped to have more room for souvenirs that I picked up along the way.
Do you have more tips on packing light? Do you live in the same clothes at home but pack for every possible scenario when you travel too? Are you a huge “Friends” fanatic like me?? Let me know what’s on your mind in the comments below!
Pin Me for Later!
One thing I love about travel is that you’re kind of venturing out into the unknown. Exploring new cities or cultures, either from far flung places on the earth, or close to home. Things are new, shiny, unexpected, brimming with adventure.
That sounds great and all, but with kids, it’s best to be prepared for some of the “unknowns”. Now I’m probably going to go against many other travel bloggers here when I pass on my next bit of advice:
Overpack. That’s right, I said it. When you have small children (I’m talking still in diapers), don’t be afraid to overpack and prepare for the “what ifs”. Now, I’m not talking about bringing everything you own on the off chance you might need it (save that baby bathtub for home). Knowing what to overpack in case of emergencies and knowing what to leave home, doesn’t need to send your head spinning.
Here’s a few tips I’ve picked up along the way. My list of items that I over packed and am darn glad I did. (Are you an over packer for yourself too? I am! I just completed a 10 day trip and packed it all in a carry on!!! See how I did it!)
What To Overpack For Young Children On Trips
Diapers– Okay, chances are, if you’re traveling within your home country, there are probably plenty of stores near your destination that carry your preferred diaper brand in case you need to pick some up. But I’m talking about packing them in your carry on for the plane (bus, train, etc). I remember when my son was two months old, I took him on his first flight to go visit my family back home. We had a layover. Easy peasy, I thought. Until I found out that our next flight was delayed…then cancelled…then more delays. Let me tell you, I was soooo glad that I over prepared and brought about 10 diapers in my diaper bag for the trip instead of the 3 I thought he would use. My diaper bag was packed full and I felt silly, but I kept stuffing more diapers in and now I can without a doubt that they was the best thing I could have done. I ended up getting down to 1 diaper left before I reached my destination. (Now, I had more in the suitcase, but of course I didn’t have access to those while we were flying and on the layover).
Formula- If your baby drinks formula, definitely bring more than you think you need in your carry on! Same example as above, I made sure to (pre portion out) extra bottles for my son, and with all those delays?? I literally said a silent prayer of thanks that I did that, because if I had just packed the couple of bottles that I thought we would use, I would have run out. And I did not see anywhere in the airport where I could buy formula…especially the kind that my son needed.
Change of Clothes– For you and your kids. Let’s face it: blowouts, spit up, and other grossness happens. Pack spares for everyone in your carry on. This is not over packing. You will thank yourself when you don’t have to walk around smelling like poop or puke on your next flight.
Entertainment- I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as over packing when you’re trying to keep a child entertained on a plane. I mean, with their attention span, they get sick of a toy/book within a few minutes and are on the the next thing. To keep everyone (and I do mean everyone) happy, pack plenty of entertainment. Lovies that they have from home, books, a tablet, or some form of digital thing that can play their favorite shows. Depending on the age of the child, activity books with mazes or coloring books might be good options as well. (We love to bring books like these and these.) I like to buy a new book or small toy for my son and surprise him with it on the plane as it will hold his attention longer and add an element of fun.
Medicine– It goes without saying that you need to bring the special medicine that your children take all the time if they have a condition where they need it, but I mean the “what if” medicine. Fever reducers and thermometers might turn out to be crucial. We took my son to Mexico when he was about a year and a half old….and it was the scariest time of my life. He ended up getting really really sick (no, not from the water), and we paid to have a doctor from the resort come to see him. Long story short, the doctor there was telling us lies and doing anything she could (including using scare tactics and telling us our son would soon not be able to breathe) to get us to spend tons and tons of money. I’ll give you one example of a lie she told: Oh, he has a fever, you need to give him tylenol. Pay us xx amount of money and we will have a driver pick you up some from a pharmacy. Me:” Oh, I packed some and have Tylenol with me”. Dr: “Oh….well, this type of fever Tylenol won’t help with”……..excuse me????? Anyway, a story for another day. The takeaway point is to come prepared.
Snacks– Nothing can keep a kid happier on a plane than snacks. Bored of that book, game, funny faces, doll?? Whip out some goldfish and juice and watch them quiet down. And if they’re anything like my kid, this might take up quite a bit of time on the plane as well. Special note here: If your child has to have a certain brand or type of food….know where to find it on a layover in the airport. My son had a milk allergy (which he has since outgrown). I couldn’t bring his almond milk from home (because, you know…liquid and security don’t mix). During another delay situation, I was trying to find my son some milk (he was still really little and we hadn’t introduced any juices) and after stopping by all of the little stores and shops, I realized that no one sold almond milk. I had an aha moment and found a Starbucks. Lo and behold, they had some! But that was definitely a situation that I should have thought about before hand.
Well, I hope some of these tips helped you. There are some things that are perfectly okay (in my book) to over prepare for. You can leave the pack n play, baby bathtub, and other such items at home, but these are some items that might really save the day should you find yourself in a sticky situation!
What are some of your items that you were really glad you decided to pack??