Packing Deconstructed (How I Fit Everything In A Carry On)

Since I’m off on another trip I thought this would be the perfect to answer a reader request. After I posted an Instagram story of the six pairs of shoes I brought on a 36 hour business trip, she asked, “Do you carry your suitcase on?” #Always  But my Tumi is tiny.  So how do I pack for a week long trip and fit everything in an carry on (an international sized carry on)?  #practicemakesperfect

The six shoes were definitely an anomaly. With only one night I could afford such luxuries. With four nights – I have to be significantly more thoughtful. Almost every trip is packed as a travel capsule to allow for maximum reuse (especially for shoes). A more typical number for shoes is four. Once I’ve decided what I’m taking, getting everything in is usually fairly easy.  Using my last trip to Michigan as an example I’m going to show you precisely how I pack.

In My Suitcase This Trip

Here is everything I already shared I packed for this trip

What I packed for Five Days in Michigan

J.Crew Sweater Blazer | Ted Baker Cami | J.Crew Sweater Blazer | Tibi Savanna Dress | Ann Taylor Layering Tank | J.Crew Stripe Shirt | Vince Camuto Faux Wrap Blouse

J.Crew Leopard Pants | Ann Taylor Crop Pants | Tibi Twill Wide Leg Pants | Black & White Belt | J.Crew Wide Leg Jeans | Rothy’s Kate Spade Sandals | Gold Slingbacks | Sneakers

Always In My Suitcase

Not shown were the things I take every trip (those also have to go in the suitcase) …

Always In My Suitcase

Natori Bras | Soma Intimates Underwear | Velvet Bags for Jewelry | Sling Bag (for emergency carrying of things) | Workout Clothes | Running Shoes | Collapsible Foam Roller | Hair Dryer* | Emergency Kit | Flat Iron* | Toiletries | 3-1-1 Bag | Make-up Bag

*I do not take my hair dryer and flat iron on every trip.  I also have a travel hair dryer that I use occasionally that is slightly smaller (although not as awesome).

How I Fit Everything in a Carry On (aka my Tiny Tumi)

My suitcase has three compartments.  A large zippered area meant for clothes (it has hooks for hangers) with a thin zippered area on top that I use for personal items and jewelry. A large open compartment where the handle slides in with a very slim zippered pouch (I don’t use the pouch).  A skinny front pocket where my collapsible foam roller and sling bag live.  Depending on how stuffed the bag is my foam roller occasionally causes the bag to not fit in the overhead of smaller aircraft.  This problem is easily solved by simply removing the roller on board and putting it back in upon landing. #UsuallyHalfWayBackIn

Once I’ve laid out everything that has to go in the suitcase – here’s how I get it all in …

Clothes go in first.  These go in the zip compartment.  If a Suit jacket is a must, I first try to wear it traveling but if it has to go in the bag, it typically goes inside out to minimize wrinkles (a trick I learned from the boys).

Next lingerie and jewlery (in velvet bags) goes in the upper zip compartment on top of the clothes.

Moving to the large compartment, I start with shoes.  Ideally I get three pairs tucked across half the compartment and then I wear one pair.  Pro Tip:  Rothy’s pack flat making them an easy add and you should “nest” multiple pairs of heels to get more in (see the photo above).

Workout clothes, hair dryer and toiletries fill the rest of the large compartment.

That’s everything I pack and how I how I fit everything in a carry on.  My Tumi backpack has everything else I travel with and you can see that deconstructed in this post.

Happy traveling!!

 

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