Last summer when we traveled around Europe Matt and I both brought a carry on and then checked one gigantic bag! That checked bag became such a pain in the butt. We hated having to drag it through the airport and across Paris when we stayed in the city a few nights before our trans-atlantic flight home. Our checked bag always took up as much room as most of our hotel rooms! Plus we had to pay all sorts of weird fees for the bag when we traveled on European airlines. It just was not worth it.
I also realized that I brought way too much stuff and never even used most of what I had. I brought all these shoes and pants that I never once wore. I had expected Italy to have a lot of big temperature fluctuations like Chicago but that is certainly not the case! Italy is hot-hot-hot during the summer! I never once put on a long sleeve shirt or even wore a sweater during the days. This time around we decided that we would each bring just one carry-on for our entire time abroad. Packing for this trip was no small feat friends! Let me tell you! However it was totally do-able and I am SO glad we only brought carry-ons. If you are gasping right now I totally get it- I am certainly not what you could call a low maintenance girl. I love all the shoes, all the makeup and there are moments that I wish I had brought another dress! But at the end of the day I am so glad I do not have to worry about lugging our gigantic bag around. It just makes everything so much simpler.
A Few tips for traveling abroad with only a carry-on-
- Research the average weather for the place that you will be staying. Make sure the majority of your clothes are appropriate for that climate. Bring one or two outlying weather pieces in case it unexpectedly gets really cold or really warm. I brought one pair of jeans, one long sleeve t-shirt and a sweater that I can layer over my outfits if need be. That is it. In Tuscany I will literally never wear my jeans and spend the entirety of my summer in dresses and shorts. Not too shabby!
- Buy a big zippered bag to carry as your personal item. I replaced my flimsy purse for a bigger black tote that zippered shut and has tons of great compartments to fit a computer and my makeup bag. Buying this bag helped so much! I am convinced that I could not travel only with a carry-on without having a great personal item.
- Limit the number of shoes you bring. Shoes take up a ton of space and are very heavy. They quickly add a bunch of weight to your luggage. I also find that I end up wearing the same pair of shoes over and over again. Pack one pair of flat sandals, walking closed toe shoes, tennis shoes, and one pair of heals for a night out. That is all you will really need. Last summer I packed tons of cute shoes that I never ended up wearing because walking around European cobblestone streets in heals is seriously dangerous. This year I learned my lesson and bought really cute flat sandals that I can wear out to nice dinners and also throughout the day.
- Buy shampoo, conditioner and body wash once you arrive. Back in the states I use speciality shampoo and conditioner because my hair is half bleach and may fall out if I don’t, so this was a hard one for me! However, because my hair is half bleach I really only wash my hair about once or twice a week anyway. Once I thought about the limited amount of times I would actually be using normal people shampoo I realized I could suck it up and leave my shampoo at home.
Traveling with less stuff just makes traveling easier and so much more relaxing. You can totally do it! If I can do it, then you certainly can do it! It is one of the best decisions we made this summer so let this just encourage you to travel with less!
^^ All photos from our stop in Rousillon, France, another gorgeous little village in the Luberon Hill region of Provence