Crushing your goal to travel more this year? We bet you know that packing light has amazing benefits. Not only does bringing a carry on bag save you cash on baggage fees that you can use on duty-free shopping or travel splurges that are actually worth it, but it also gives you less to worry about (no lost luggage, phew!) and makes getting out of the airport after a flight a breeze (sayonara, baggage claim). You might have mastered your airport style, but editing what you take on a trip is a totally different beast. To make stuffing your small suitcase easier for your next trip, we pulled together a list of essentials that will take you through a whole week in style. Scroll on to score 10 jet-setting secrets.
How to Pack
Choosing the right carry on bag is important, so go for one that meets the max regulation requirements for domestic and international travel and is comfortable for you to carry. Though you might not *think* you need ’em, packing cubes can be a big help when it comes to neatly organizing everything you want to bring en route. Before placing each item in your bag, gently roll each piece of clothing. You’ll be amazed by how much space you save.
What to Bring
1. Three Pairs of Shoes: Believe it or not, you can definitely fit three pairs of shoes into a carry-on bag with plenty of room to spare. Depending on your itinerary, bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes like sneakers, casual kicks (think sandals, espadrilles or a less supportive but super stylish sneak) and one pair you can dress up.
2. Two Layering Sweaters: Layering sweaters are everything when traveling, so pack two. You can wear ’em over tees and tanks, tied around your neck like a cute French girl, or keep them in your bag in case you find yourself a bit more chilly than expected.
3. Five Versatile Tops: Switching up your tops will be the key to mixing up your travel look, so pack a few different styles for max effect. Consider basic Ts in solids or stripes, a tunic or two and a go-to blouse or two that travel well. Avoid fabrics like linen that wrinkle easily or white rayon that gets damaged by the sun.
4. Three Basic Bottoms: Three bottoms for seven days gives you plenty of variety, so bring three pairs of pants that’ll work for different occasions. We love basic black leggings since they go with pretty much everything, a dark skinny that’ll work well in almost any situation and a more trendy pant, whether it’s denim or another kind of fabric. You know, for destination OOTDs.
5. One Transitional Dress or Romper: You really can’t go wrong with a black maxi dress or romper, and both are great transitional pieces that can work with stylish sneakers, a vest, a denim jacket or even a statement piece of jewelry, if you venture out for a more upscale evening.
6. One Skirt or Pair of Shorts: Unless you’re headed somewhere that the sun doesn’t shine, pack a skirt or a pair of shorts you can wear on warmer days. If your trip is going to be a total scorcher, switch the pant to short ratio. Boom, good to go.
7. Two Jackets: Whether you’re weathering the weather (whoa) or keeping warm in the chicest way possible, jackets are where fashion meets function during your trip. Take one weather-resistant style that’s appropriate for your destination and one topper that pairs well with your everyday pieces, like a leather or denim jacket.
8. One Bathing Suit: Bring it even if you think you won’t need it — it’s way better to have a suit for spontaneous fun than to regret not having one at all. If you’re venturing to Europe, know that a surprising number of spas require suits no matter which treatment you plan to indulge in.
9. Accessories and Undergarments: You’ll be gone for a week, so pick a statement accessory or two that can jazz up the simplest looks as you mix and match your pieces. Consider a scarf, sunglasses and a statement necklace. When it comes to undergarments, bring exactly what you need. We’ll let you do the math on this one.
10. Other Essentials: The word “essential” is key here. Instead of hauling your makeup arsenal and collection of products, pick the ones you truly need on a daily basis. Stick to the basics in travel-sized versions — depending on where you’re headed, you’ll probably be able to ask for or pick up anything absolutely necessary that you may have left behind. Remember to pack medicine, chargers, currency converters and anything else you’ll need to stay healthy and powered up on your journey.
Have you packed for a week with just a carry on bag? What made the cut and what did you leave behind? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)