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Packing for 7 Months: My Carry On

When comes to international travel, I am serious about my carry on. It seems that with every passing year more and more luggage gets delayed or misplaced (only for a couple days though). I like to be armed and ready, so I'm not inconvenienced and I can turn my baggage misfortune into a good thing - as in someone else has to lug it up the stairs to deliver it to me!

I have shared my detailed international carry on checklist before, but I thought I would also share the specifics on what I am packing in my carry on for this trip.

When traveling from the States you want to maximize your carry on, since it will most likely not be weighed when you check in (this is not true within Europe). If I am going to be traveling within Europe, I make sure to bring a luggage scale, since most discount European carriers will charge you for checked bags by weight as well as restrict the weight of your carry on items.

I like to pack my heaviest items -- such as wellies, jeans, boots, etc. -- in my carry on so I can ensure I am under 50 pounds with my checked bags (yes bags, I am checking two large suitcases, #nojudgement). I also make sure I have a couple changes of clothing (I actually pack one extra outfit in each carry on bag), extra undergarments, and any items I love so much I don't want them to leave my side (like my new bon voyage sweater and pink Tory Burch bag). 

In addition to my rolling carry on suitcase, I carry an extra-large tote as my personal item. In this I bring my in-flight essentials -- brush (tooth and hair), make up, computer, pens, travel mug (got to stay hydrated), and small notebooks. I also pack my travel jewelry case, camera, important electronics, and power cords. I'm placing my Tiny Tote inside and filling it with my ziplocked travel-sized toiletries (no space should be left empty when packing!). I keep my passport, cellphone, tickets, and money/cards handy with my amazing Dagne Dover clutch wallet. And if an airline agent gets persnickety about my number of items, I can easily slip my clutch inside my tote. Finally you can see what I plan on wearing here

Well there you have it, my carry on! What are your carry on essentials? 

Ashley B
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  1. Good Morning! I carry Shout wipes everywhere. They have saved me from spending a day with spots on my clothing, drink coffee in the car, sorry/not sorry. I am having a short travel adventure soon and I am going to use your ideas. I like to put my regularly used products into travel sized containers instead of buying small sizes of other products. My skin can get weird when I travel and I think the consistency helps. Thanks for the precise list and advice and.....Bon Voyage. R

    1. Yes! Shout Wipes are a godsend when you travel! Unfortunately, I cannot get my current skin care regime in Europe, so I am going to have to try something new. We shall see how well that goes...

  2. I always pack anything valuable (camera/laptop/etc) in my carry on, a change of clothes, extra undergarments, contacts/solution, glasses and sunglasses, and a scarf.

  3. Its really a great idea to have a full change of clothes-- especially for those international flights that are less common! Does the travel wrinkle releaser fit in the ziplock with your toiletries though?

    1. I didn't put the wrinkle releaser in the tote, it ended up in my rolling bag. I also usually stuff them into shoes... no space is left empty!

  4. After losing my luggage on the way to a wedding in Berlin last year, I would also suggest if you have an important event within the first 3 days of your trip to pack that that outfit in your carry-on as well! Nothing is worse than trying to find a decent dress (and shoes!) at the last minute!

    1. Oh that sounds like a nightmare! Noted, fortunately I have no special events right away. But that is great advice when I have to travel for a conference.

  5. Do you have any rolling carry-on luggage recommendations? I'm looking for one because I HATE to check a bag when I vacation (I live in fear they will lose my luggage) and I'm looking to invest in a new luggage that rolls since I'm currently using a Vera Bradley duffel.

    1. Four spinner wheels on my carry on are a non-negotiable! I also love the wide body international carry ons (they go wider instead of taller, which helps them slide into over head compartments). I swear by my Briggs and Riley 20" wide body spinner. But it is definitely an investment. I am sure you could take its specs and find something similar by Samsonite or Travel Pro.


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