As a millennial, I've been bitten by the wanderlust bug. But with travel comes packing. And although I've never experienced lost luggage on any of my trips, I make it a habit to opt for carry-on only whenever possible. A seemingly impossible challenge for an over-packer like me. But fitting a entire trips worth of stuff into a pint sized suitcase is possible.
Start with a great case.
As a starting point, it's vital to ensure you have a great case. I'm an advocate for double wheeled, hard-case models, but to each their own. I recently purchased this bright green American Tourister that I got an amazing deal on thanks to Boxing Day!
Tip: when purchasing any new luggage, check every zipper (inside and out). Your stuff will only be as safe as your weakest zipper!
Divide and conquer.
Another trick of the trade is packing with cubes, or my preferred method of Ziplock bags. They keep things compressed and safe from liquids in the event of a leak. I'll use a variety of sizes for a variety of items:
Snack size: great for things in your toiletry bag that need to stay separate and dry (ie. Q-tips, cotton rounds, hair pins)
Medium sized (freezer): this is a great sub for the 1L carry-on liquid allowance pouches. Freezer grade are sturdier than the sandwich bags, and are just all around more reliable.
Large (freezer): perfect for smaller items that can get lost in the shuffle of bigger items (ie. socks, underwear, bras, even headbands). In a pinch they also hold shirts and swimwear well.
SpaceBag (travel): these are life changing. You won't need a vacuum because they roll to let air out. And hold everything from sweaters to jumpsuits. They are quite large, but I prefer to pack them on the lighter side (1/2 full) and fold over to keep things extra organized.
Do it. Then do it again.
It's also useful to pack a few days early. Pack everything you think you'll need, then evaluate over the next 24hrs. You will almost always find ways to cut down. If you're packing for a 5 day trip, you probably won't need 12 different outfits. (I continue to struggle with this, but I am training myself to be a bit more relentless)
Packing ahead of time will also give you time to check the updated weather forecast. Because there is nothing worse than packing expecting nothing but clear, sunny skies and arriving to cool, wet climate. Be prepared so you can make the most of your getaway.
Tip: consider packing an umbrella, because we all know how expensive and unreliable tourist-shop brollies truly are.
Let shoes breathe.
Lastly, pack your shoes in cloth bags. Keeping them in bags will keep your clothes free of dirt and help keep your luggage interior pristine. Some higher end shoes will come with protective pouches. But leather purses almost always come with cloth pouches for storage. Naturally, they're great at storing leather footwear too! I prefer cloth pouches for footwear for breathability and aeration. Trapping dirt, germs and the overwhelming scent of a well-worn pair of shoes in a plastic pouch is an idea you want to avoid.
Packing like a pro can be a reality. It does take a bit of discipline to remain realistic in what you truly need to pack and what you can probably forgo for a few days. But with practice, you'll be a carry-on connesiuer in no time.
Travel safe and stay organized!