How to Pack for a Seven Day Vacation in Only One Carry On

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How to Pack for a Seven Day Vacation in Only One Carry On

Person packing a suitcase for vacation


How to Pack for a Seven Day Vacation in Only One Carry On

Your 10-Step Guide

The benefits of packing all of your belongings in one carry-on bag are too enticing to ignore. In addition to avoiding long bag-check lines, you eliminate the risk of losing your luggage. Plus, you have immediate access to your belongings for the duration of your air travel.
But if you are accustomed to checking a large suitcase every time you travel, you may wonder how on earth you could possibly squeeze everything you need for a week into one small bag. The key is to learn how to pack only what you need for your trip and leave all of the “what ifs” behind. Through an organized “pre-packing” process and careful planning, you can enjoy the freedom of traveling light while having everything you need within arm’s reach. Below is your ten-step guide to packing everything you need for a seven-day vacation in just one carry-on bag.

Step One: Check the weather forecast for your destination

The key to packing light lies in your ability to organize your packing process. Before you even place one flip-flop in your carry-on bag, make sure you check the weather and refrain from packing any clothing you don’t need. For instance, if seven days of sun and warm weather are in the forecast, there is no need to pack rain gear or a heavy coat.

Step Two: Find out what amenities you will have access to

Before you automatically pack a heavy hairdryer and toiletries, contact the manager of the hotel, cruise ship, or rental property where you plan to stay. Request a list of all of the in-room amenities and toiletries they provide. Many facilities provide complimentary hair dryers, irons, and toiletries to guests. This frees up valuable space in your bag for other items.

Step Three: Prepare a list of items you need and stick to it

Now that you know what type of clothing and essentials you need to bring, sit down and make a list of the key items you need. The secret to traveling light is to avoid over-stuffing your carry-on bag. This means striking the things that you “might want”, such as a few extra outfits. Layout everything you need in one area where you can see it and resolve NOT to add any items to your list of essentials.

Step Four: Roll your t-shirts, shorts, and casual dresses

Rolling clothing instead of folding it offers two advantages: you conserve space in your bag and you help prevent wrinkling. If you are a novice at clothes rolling, simply remember these three things:

  1. Use a flat surface when rolling clothes.
  2. Make a square by placing the clothing face down and fold the arms back to create a perfect square.
  3. Fold in half vertically and roll slowly to create a tight cylinder.

Step Five: Fold your heavier clothing into squares

Heavier clothing such as sweaters, jeans, and khakis should be folded into squares to maximize space. Remember that you do not necessarily need more than one or two sweaters or jackets, especially if warm weather is in the forecast. If you are headed to a snowy destination and need to take a heavy coat, save space in your bag by wearing your coat on the plane. It could come in handy if the cabin temperature is chilly or you need a cushion for your head during the flight.

Woman walking through airport and carrying suitcase

Step Six: Use mesh lingerie bags to pack delicate items

Placing underwear, bathing suits, and other delicate items in lingerie bags keeps them organized and gives them some protection from tearing. This packing strategy also enables airport security staff to see these items without having to touch them or remove them fully from your bag. Lingerie bags only cost a few dollars and are available at most drug stores.

Step Seven: Use hangers and dry cleaner bags for dress clothing

Packing dresses and button-down shirts are probably the hardest part of packing light. However, you can help prevent wrinkling by placing dresses, skirts, blouses, and dress shirts on small hangers and then placing them in individual dry cleaner bags. This packing technique helps to protect your best clothing while also avoiding wrinkling. Once you have your dress clothes on hangers and wrapped, you can lay them on top of your folded and rolled clothing within your bag.

Step Eight: Use your bag’s corners and edges for flip flops and shoes

When you only use one carry-on bag for all of your belongings, it is important to make use of every square inch of space. That means tucking shoes and flip flops into your bag’s corners and storing socks on the inside of your shoes. When packing shoes, remember that your shoes do not have to travel right next to each other. Separating a pair of shoes within the confines of your bag is often a great way to maximize space.

Step Nine: Place your electronics and toiletries within easy reach

If you are among the many Americans who need to take a laptop or tablet on your vacation to remain connected at the office, do not despair! If you have followed the steps above, there should be room in your carry-on for your laptop or favorite tablet. In fact, it is a good idea to pack your laptop and toiletries last to ensure that you are able to reach them easily when you need to remove them for security screening.

Step Ten: Zip your bag and kick off your trip in comfort and style!

Now that you have mastered the art of packing lightly, it is time to focus on catching your flight and enjoying your upcoming trip! The best way to kick off your vacation in comfort and style is to use a chauffeured car service to make sure that you make it to the airport on time. By hiring a luxury car service, you will be able to sit back and think about your upcoming trip while a professional driver contends with the traffic and your bag. You can even enjoy a celebratory glass of champagne while your driver navigates the highways to the airport!

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