Do You Really Need to Pack That?

Travel Style to Pack Light

I’ve learned the advantage of travelling with a single carry-on bag and one personal item for trips that are up to eleven days. I haven’t taken a trip longer than that yet, but I think I can do it for more than two weeks. I don’t pay baggage fees, don’t worry about lost luggage, or need to walk around with heavy bags. Also, while others are at baggage claim, I’m leaving the airport. Packing light is especially advantageous when you’re travelling alone and don’t have someone else to help carry things around.

People ask me how I manage to pack so light. Here are some of my tricks.

Pack a week’s worth of clothes.

If you’re going for a couple of weeks or longer, you’ll have to do a little laundry. You can pay for it at the hotel or a laundromat, or wash them in your room and hang them to dry. Dresses and jumpsuits are easiest because you don’t have to find coordinating clothing. I talk about the benefits of maxi dresses in another article.

Bring layers rather than a bulky coat.

The same T-shirt that you’d wear when it’s warm can be worn a layer if it gets chilly at night. Pack less of your heavy layers. Sweaters or thicker shirts can be worn more than once if you change the shirt closest to your skin. If you need to take a jacket, bring it on the plane, so it doesn’t take up space in your bag. Organize your clothes well and pack them in tightly. Rolling your clothes instead of folding them will maximize space and minimize wrinkles.


Packing for an event can be easy.

 Find a carry-on that doubles as a folding single suit bag and has some compartments, like this one from Skyway. I take dresses that don’t wrinkle, like jersey material so I can use a regular bag instead.

Pack clothes that coordinate with everything else you’re bringing.

If it doesn’t work in multiple outfits, don’t bring it. Go simple and very light. Think of what you can do without, not what will be handy. Leave it out if you have any doubt. Limit yourself to two pairs of shoes, two pairs of pants and a few dresses or jumpsuits. Wear your bulkiest items on the plane.

The Amore Mio maxi dress from ZAIMARA works day and night with a change of accessories, makeup and shoes. Shop the dress at The Style Escape.

Get rid of clutter.

Clean up your wallet. Bring an e-reader instead of books and don’t take a large supply of personal products (deodorant, hair products, etc.). You can buy these things anywhere if you run out. I don’t take a lot of makeup with me. As long as I have my base, eyeliner, mascara, a couple of lipsticks and blush, I’m fine. That takes a small makeup bag that I fit into my purse (that fits into my carry-on). If I’m packing for an event, I include highlighter and eye shadow, but that still fits into a small makeup bag.

Maxi Dress from ZAIMARA can work day and night

In addition to a carry-on bag, airlines allow you to bring a personal item such as a laptop bag, purse or backpack.

I carry a small backpack, or a laptop bag with compartments if it’s for work. Backpacks can hold a lot more than other personal bags and will still fit under the seat. I put my purse(s) into the backpack or laptop bag. I fill it with some essential items, so it’s not empty just taking up space. It is also convenient to reach for necessary things on the plane or train.

Check out more of our travel articles for style tips.

carry on - laptop and personal bag
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