Packing for a vacation is always the least enjoyable part of a vacation. You dread having to select a bunch of clothes that you’re committed to wearing for the next bit of time. I know this feeling ~far~ to well.
In the past year, I’ve done my fair share of travel – nothing too crazy, but relatively adventurous for someone who just came out of university. I’ve visited all over the United States, Spain, Taiwan, and the Dominican Republic… and in each of this destinations, I packed a carry-on size luggage.
So, why go carry-on? Two main reasons: convenience and cost. It’s way more convenient to lug around a smaller size luggage while travelling, because if you’re ever running late or in a rush, you don’t have 50lbs on rollers slowing you down! Also, you save a lot more money with carry-on size luggages, by avoiding the $25 – $35 baggage fees (per direction!).
But Michael – I’m on vacation, I need to bring all my nice clothes to look cute, feel cute, and show it off on Instagram! Well, I’m here to tell you how you can maximize your packing skills with a carry-on size luggage, and still take everything you need for your trip. Disclaimer: these tips are best suited for 7-14 day vacations… pack responsibly!
Tip #1: Get a *Certified* Carry-On Luggage
Many different airlines have a range in carry-on size luggage allowances, and most of the time the differences are super minor. However, all you need is that one airline attendant who measures your bag to charge you a fee, just because your luggage was half an inch too tall.
My best tip for getting a “certified” carry-on luggage (I put that in quotations because there isn’t any official certification) is shopping for your luggage at a luggage specialty store. A store like Bently, for example, have employees that are educated in different luggage sizes & qualities. You might pay a little more than finding a great deal on Amazon or eBay, but going into a luggage store will ensure you don’t face any unnecessary baggage fees.
I recently bought an Air Canada branded luggage, and it’s been great so far!
Tip #2: Pack THREE Shorts
When you’re packing your carry-on luggage, you have to be careful with how much you take. I recommend taking no more than 3 pairs of shorts to your sunny destination. The first pair should be neutral, and should be able to pair with any of the tops that you packed. The second pair should be an athletic short, incase you want to exercise or feel a bit more comfortable! The third and final pair can be a colourful or patterned short to mix up your daily looks. This way, you have a safe pair, a fun pair, and an athletic pair.
Tip #3: Pack TWO Dressy Tops
You need to anticipate that you’ll go out for a nice dinner once or twice while on vacation. A lot of resorts or hotels have a strict “no tank top” rule for their dining rooms, so make sure you pack two dressy tops for those occasions. I chose to pack a light-pink, and a nautical-striped shirt to match my beauty designation!
Whatever you pack, make sure the fabric isn’t too thick. You don’t want to be a sweaty mess with a thick cotton shirt! Pack lightweight, airy shirts for maximum comfort.
Tip #4: Pack… whatever clothes you want for the rest!
Now listen – don’t get too excited. Make sure to limit the rest of the clothing in your luggage. A few tank tops, a couple beach shirts, a bathing suit or two, and you’re set!
Don’t over complicate things while packing. Remember, you will wear clothing items multiple times.
Tip #5: Military Roll EVERYTHING
If you haven’t military rolled your luggage items before, you’re missing out. Military rolling is essentially rolling each clothing item into a cylinder. In this way, you squeeze out as much air as possible, and maximize every inch of space in your luggage. I find that by military rolling, I’m able to fit 4-5 extra items into my luggage – that’s the difference between not having enough to wear, and looking extra cute in your many Instagram posts!
Make sure to lay your military rolled clothing into our luggage first. In this way, your clothes will act as a bed for the odd shaped items on top!
Tip #6: Put those shoes into bags!
This is a very simple tip, but super useful. I see a lot of travellers packing their shoes into the corners of their luggage, placing the dirty sides away from their clothes. While this is a great idea in practice, the fact is that your luggage items will shift – do you really want to open your bag to find a shoe print on your dressy top? Didn’t think so.
Simply place your shoes into a bad before they hit the luggage.
Tip #7: Overpack on underwear (seriously)
The only items that I can justify (and encourage!) overpacking is underwear. I usually take the number of days I’m travelling, and 1.5x the underwear. So if I’m travelling for 8 days, I bring 12 pairs.
When you relaxing on vacation, the last thing you want is to run out of underwear or socks. Trust me, it’s happened once. Getting your clothes cleaned on vacation is very expensive – and the alternative (wearing unclean underwear) isn’t desirable.
Tip #8: Put your information on your luggage!!
I think this is the most important tip. Go to the dollar store and buy yourself a baggage tag, so that if your luggage gets lost, the person who finds it will be able to contact you! They’re very inexpensive, and have the potential to save you in the worst of situations.
2 years ago, I arrived in Lima, Peru, only to find that my luggage didn’t arrive at the carrousel. Thankfully, the bag was tracked – but it would have been super helpful to have a baggage tag.
Additional tip – get a baggage tag with a Canadian flag (I’ve been told this by multiple people). Especially when travelling in Europe, rep a Canadian flag. Internationally, people tend to like Canadians, which is a bonus if a stranger finds your luggage.
Well, folks, those are my tips! Leave a comment down below and let me know what your top travel tips are! Happy travelling.