Five Tips on How to Pack Everything You Need into a Carry on for a 2 Week Vacation.

Five Tips on How to Pack Everything You Need into a Carry on for a 2 Week Vacation

My bag all packed for 2 weeks in Europe

When my husband and I planned a two week trip to Europe, we decide that we would only bring carry on bags as luggage. That’s right two weeks of clothing for two people in two carry ons. To be fair my husband also brought along a back pack and I toted along my trusty sling style camera bag. Many times when we were rushing to make train connections or cramming into a cab London cab with our traveling companions I was sooo happy we limited the amount of junk we brought with us.

Incidentally, I’m linking up this post over at Fiesta Friday, which is one of my favorite link parties. The party theme is making Friday special and looking forward to the weekend. I wish I were looking forward to a vacation this weekend… or packing for ย a vacation… maybe I’ll have to settle for planning a vacation ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are my tips for packing light:

1). Ladies, ditch the purse. You don’t need a purse. Get by with a wristlet with daily spending money and a money belt, which hides under your clothing, for more valuable items like your passport. My wristlet slipped into my camera bag when I wasn’t in shopping mode.


Pack a wristlet! They are great!

2) Limit the amount of clothing you’ll take with you. It helps to chose items that are multi functional. Think about the range of activities that you need to be outfitted for. Our trip took us through cool climates while in the United Kingdom and hot days in France and Switzerland. We traveled through urban areas like London and Paris and through rural mountains in Switzerland. This is a good list of what I packed a two week European tour. As a note the outfits I wore on the plane are included in totals below:

  • Tops: White long sleeve tee, chambray shirt, 3 T-shirts, 3 tanks, 2 cardigans
  • Bottoms: 3 jeans, 1 black pant, 1 khaki pant, 1 khaki short, 1 sleep short
  • Shoes: Hiking boots, black flats, brown flats,
  • Accessories, etc: Wristlet, belt, money belt, scarf, wind breaker/jacket, 3-4 pairs of socks,ย enough undies for the duration of the trip.
river in scottland

River in Scottland

3) Pack clothing that mixes and matches. If the items in your pack are versatile you can mix match and layer them, so that they work for different locations and climates. Outfit posts has a great one suitcase series on this topic. My favorite is the Paris Vacation suitcase. Putting Me Together is also another good blog to reference for reusing the same piece of clothing in many outfits. See this post and this postย for examples. 4) Pack proper footwear. If anything is important to bring along it’s proper shoes! Not seven pairs stylish shoes to match your outfits but comfortable shoes that match your itinerary. I sacrificed luggage space to carry along hiking boots and a pair of comfortable dressy flats and boy I’m glad I did! You can always buy an extra t-shirt if you absolutely run out and get launder it. Shoes are harder to pick up in a pinch.

notre dame

Notre Dame

5) Pack a scarf: A scarf can make a big difference in the warmth of your outfit without taking up a lot of luggage space. It also breaks up the look of your outfit in pictures when you wear the same T-shirt for 4 or 5 days. Ahem… Anyway… That is my take on what to bring and what not to bring in your carry on. I still have more tips and tricks to share on this topic, so look for a second post on packing light in the weeks to come. What about you? Do you like to pack light? Or bring everything in your closet?


26 thoughts on “Five Tips on How to Pack Everything You Need into a Carry on for a 2 Week Vacation.

  1. Great tips Jillian! Note, the scarf also comes in handy for covering your head or shoulders in a place of worship. I found I needed it in some of the churches of Italy.

  2. Indeed good tips! Scarves are invaluable also for chilly aeroplane cabins on night flights too. If packing just hand luggage (which is most of my trips these days) I always lay out everything on the bed first, and make sure all the tops go with all the bottoms etc, so I can totally mix and match my limited wardrobe and make several different outfits. I also always wear the bulkiest heaviest items, usually boots and coat, which is not too tricky when flights are normally at 7am in the not-so-warm UK! Less fun landing at midday in Florence however!

  3. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #9 | The Novice Gardener

  4. My sentiments exactly! My rule is I can only bring what I can carry on the plane. I prefer to wear a light safari-like jacket with lots of pockets to store my wallet and phone close to me when I travel instead of carrying a purse or clutch. Love all your tips, especially the scarf idea!

  5. I’m the best packer. I buy as I go. I spent three months in south east asian with just one change of clothes and all summer in Europe last year with two. Maybe it’s a guy thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I don’t think I could pull that off. I usually hate shopping for clothes. Kudos though, that’s quite the undertaking.

  6. Great packing tips!! I vary between packing light and bringing too many things, but agree a good pair of walking shoes is a must. And that extra t-shirt… that’s what souvenir shops are for! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Great travel tips, Toozesty! I’m guilty of lugging too much stuff, that’s for sure. Next time, I’ll refer to this list instead! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing with us @Fiesta Friday. So glad to hear you’re having fun mingling with us! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Pingback: Packing a Carry-on for a Two Week Vacation: Part 2 | Too Zesty!

  9. Pingback: Fabulously Frugal Thursday Linky Party #63 | A Life in Balance

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