How to pack seven days into one carry-on!

>> 6.03.2010

Note: the title says one carry-on, but airlines call purses carry-ons too. So maybe it's actually two... we can all debate that issue later ;)

Like I mentioned yesterday, I absolutely refuse to pay any extra fees to check my luggage! It's okay... because packing seven outfits into a single small bag is as easy as one simple equation:

2 versatile bottoms (skirts are smaller) + 2 pairs of flat shoes (dressy & sandals) + 2 pairs pj's + 1 dress + 5 tops +unlimited underwear and accessories= one full suitcase*!
*I promise, this works! I just went on a vacation using this packing equation.

Before you tell me that the above isn't adding up... You'll be wearing one top, a cardigan, a comfy pair of shoes, and a pair of jeans for travel (because jeans take up the most room). Plus, you'll carry a giant purse with all of your toiletries and make-up inside. Each of the three bottoms will be worn twice (trust me, it's okay) and each top will be worn once. If a workout is in the cards, go for shorts and tanks over pants and pack the tennis shoes inside a shoe bag first.

Watch how it works:
blue top $15, patterned top $24.99, jeans $69.50, cardigan $22.99, clutch $22.50, flats $39.99, white bag $22.99, makeup bags, suitcase
necklace $19.50, white top $12.99,  sandals $19.50, skirt $49.50 , blue top $24.50
purple top $17.80, skirt $24.50 , black top $19.99
sunglasses $9.50, dress $24.99, black flats $49.99

Besides saving money, using a carry-on saves on lost baggage troubles!
Do you cram into a carry-on or suck it up and pay the checking fees?

*all unlinked accessories can be found for less than $10 at

PS I'm linking up with The Thrifty Home's 37th Penny Pinching Party... come join in on the fun!


Flavia @ Estilo Home June 3, 2010 at 2:48 PM  

I'm packing today for a trip tomorrow, so this will come in handy! I tend to pack light and mix and match a lot, too.
I love the items you picked! So many great tops.

Kate June 3, 2010 at 3:12 PM  

Love your blog! This is I think the best post I have read yet!

Mrs. Chic June 3, 2010 at 3:27 PM  

great tips - love clothes that con be used in many ways! I going out of town for a few days via car - but this will help me to pack lighter and think smarter!

The Brick Cottage June 3, 2010 at 3:53 PM  

I'm always an over packer and vow each and every time to be smarter but each and every time, I come home with half my clothes unworn. Thankfully, we usually travel by car but when we do fly, as long as it's under 50 pounds we've never had to pay extra.

I'm curious about how many tops you bring with you? I didn't see it in the equation. That's usually the bulk of my over packing because I get cold quite easily therefor need lots of layers.

GreenerLinen June 3, 2010 at 4:18 PM  

Great equation. I'm partial to including some type of tunic/jumper that I can throw a belt over and call it a dress, or wear a shirt over and call it a skirt.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog June 3, 2010 at 4:19 PM  

@The Brick Cottage~ (Thanks, I just fixed it!)
I actually would pack exactly as shown in the pictures above with 5 tops- one top would be worn during the travel day and one day would be a dress day. It always wear a sweater on travel days and just keep it in my purse for the times I need it.

Cutting out the "maybe I won't feel like wearing X" items really helps out a lot! Now, I plan ONE outfit per day, with no extras at all. The bottoms are always neutral enough so that I can wear them with different tops if I'm not in the mood. It's scary at first to think that there aren't many options, but the lighter load is sososo worth it!

Lauren June 3, 2010 at 5:15 PM  

I love this post Kasey! I always overpack because I like to have "options"... but now that I have a slight obsession with cardigans... it makes it easier to rewear outfits.

I am totally with you about only bringing carry ons. Charging for bags is ridiculous!!

L.Duncan@Home23DuncanBoys June 3, 2010 at 8:42 PM  

This a great post! I have never been on a plane (I know), but I do have a gift certificate to Air Tran and plan to use it in the near future! This will definitely come in hand.


Hillary @ The Sweet Maple Life June 3, 2010 at 9:01 PM  

I could NEVER pack everything in just my carry-on... I am what you call an over packer.... good thing I fly SouthWest where my bags fly free :)

However in a month I am going to Spain for 2 weeks and I am being forced to only pack ONE BAG and a really small carry on.... and there's a weight limit... I don't know what I'm going to do!!! lol

laura @ so alaurable June 4, 2010 at 12:48 AM  

I just posted about not wanting to pay checked bag fees too! I definitely have a lot to learn still about mixing and matchig pieces and choosing pieces that give me the most usage, but I'm starting to learn the secrets of choosing well and packing it in right.

Monica June 4, 2010 at 9:04 AM  

I am the worst packer of all time, I end up taking at least 10 articles of clothing I don't wear, and about 4 pairs of shoes that never leave my suitcase...this is very helpful!

hiphousegirl June 4, 2010 at 10:51 AM  

Ewwww you wear pants more than once? Hahaha just kidding. These are great tips! Will be bookmarking this for summer trips. Thanks Kasey!

LizzieBeth June 4, 2010 at 1:54 PM  

I am the queen at packing light.

When JEGs and I first started dating, we lived over an hour apart, so we had to spend the full weekend with each other. Since I didn't always know what we were doing all the time, I had to pack outfits that were versitile. I appriciate a lady who can do the same.

PS.. I have been on the search for that ruffle black tank in my size for about two weeks now. I refuse to order it online and pay shipping!

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog June 4, 2010 at 2:21 PM  

@LizzieBeth~ I like your attitude! I almost always buy my clothes in the stores because I feel like I can find better sales that way. I actually just bought the belted skirt today for 40% off with an in-store promotion!

Mel June 5, 2010 at 7:55 PM  

Cram it all in one bag! I just packed for 11 days and 2 coasts in one bag and I was very happy not paying the fees. Also, you should check out this video:

Babs June 6, 2010 at 8:29 AM  

We usually pack just a carry-on but recently went on our two week honeymoon that ended in a cousin's wedding, so we had no choice but to pack a larger combined bag with his suits and my two dresses for the occasion. Three days of flying and six flights later, we had spent $150 in checked fees! Insane.

Haha, maybe next time we'll mail the suit to our destination because my dresses can roll up into a ball :)

Thanks for the great inspiration of packing light!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno June 6, 2010 at 9:54 PM  

I'm a horrible packer. I would rather pay the extra money and not have to worry about putting together outfits. I'm lazy!

paisley penguin June 7, 2010 at 4:10 PM  

Aesome post! I am always trying to organize my closet and one of my considerations is being able to wear one item with a multiple of others. This goes for travel too. Great tips, thanks!

found you through Tearing Up Houses.

Nina Patricia @ The Adventures of Nina Patricia June 11, 2010 at 3:44 PM  

Oh, I'm so glad I found you (thru LizzieBeth's blog).
we are going on vacation next month and I always over pack. I may have to twik this since I need a swinsuit in the mix :)

Anonymous,  October 10, 2010 at 7:01 AM  

Great blog! I travel the world for a "hobby" with my husband and 2 kids. I have to pack enough but pack light. I am always looking for a better way to do this...

I noticed that you have a lot of shoes for one carry on. How about making the ballet flats a pair of the roll-up kind (such as FootzyRolls, but there are now others out there on the market).

In a carry-on, every bit of space counts.

Now, how about coming up with the toiletry bag? That's a trick... but can be done!

Post a Comment

I love reading your thoughts and ideas! Keep them coming!!

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP