How I Packed for a Three Week Trip With Only a Carry-On
While attending the Women’s Travel Fest earlier this year, I asked a handful of experts to share their biggest travel mistakes. All of them said overpacking. As I started planning for my big summer trip to Europe, I knew that if I was going to be able to afford to go everywhere I wanted to go for as long as I wanted to go (six cities in three weeks), I needed to cut costs wherever possible. Because the budget airlines I took charged for a checked bag, I decided that traveling with just a carry-on was an easy way to shave a couple hundred bucks off my journey. But could I really pack for a three-week trip with just one small bag? I was going to try.
Earlier this year I tried wearing a capsule wardrobe for a month and ended up loving it. It honestly did help simplify my mind and wasn’t nearly as repetitive as I had anticipated. So I began by curating a miniature capsule collection for my trip. I kept things relatively neutral, with a few pops of pattern and color. (Because when you own a rainbow fruit t-shirt, you bring it on vacation with you.)
Here are the clothes I brought:
Not pictured: Undergarments and a lightweight scarf (use your imaginations, people).
Shoes take up SO MUCH space. Choose wisely. I made sure every pair I brought was practical and that each served a different function. The sneakers were great for those days when I was out exploring for hours on end. The sandals were great for the cities I visited that were super warm. And my trusty Dansko clogs were great for the evenings or if I wanted to dress up an outfit a bit.
These three shoes can be worn all day with zero discomfort, which really is key. If you have a pair of shoes that’s going to give you a blister after you wear them for half a day, you’re probably just not going to wear them after the first time. And then they’re just going to sit there taking up precious luggage space.
A few of my favorite outfits:
1. When I was traveling in Edinburgh, it was pretty chilly every day. And because I was there covering the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I was walking around the city all day. Layers were essential here. Most of the days I was there I had my sweater, denim jacket and scarf on over a t-shirt and jeans.
2. This is just about as fancy as it gets for me. I wanted to bring one nice dress in case I went somewhere a little more upscale at night. Because you never know, right? I actually ended up getting invited to a wedding while in London, so this ensemble worked out perfectly.
3. There’s just something so timeless about a white shirtdress. This one is from H&M and has been in regular rotation for me for awhile now. It’s breathable, stylish and easy to explore a city in. I often tied my sweater around my waist to give it a little more shape and so that I was prepared if the weather took a chilly turn.
4. This jersey skirt was my regular go-to throughout my whole trip. It was so comfy and stretchy and, unlike a pair of jeans, it allowed a nice breeze, which was vital during my time in ultra-humid Prague, Vienna and Budapest. I’m also pretty into the athleisure look at the moment, and felt no shame pairing the skirt with some sneaks.
Looking back, I am SO glad I decided to only bring a carry-on for this trip. With the amount of moving I was doing from place to place, it was so nice to be able to skip the check-in line at the airport and not have to worry about lugging a giant bag over uneven cobblestone streets. I wasn’t all that worried about repeat outfits, because here is my theory there: You’re in a place where no one knows you. And if it’s a multi-city trip, even better. If you wear an outfit on Monday and move cities then wear it again, who really knows you just wore it? No one, guys. No one knows. See the photo above to observe a prime example of me repeating an outfit and living to tell about.
So, is a travel capsule wardrobe possible? 100 percent. Will I ever check a bag again? Not if I can help it.
Psst, if you want to check out pics from all my travel adventures, follow me on Instagram @cortneyclift. And we want to know all your favorite packing tips + tricks! Share with us on Twitter @BritandCo.
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.