Traveling with only a carry on bag

One of my favorite carry on bags from echo design. Picture via my Instagram.

Maybe it’s just me, but what is it about preparing for a trip that leaves you feeling like you need to go out and buy all new clothes, new shoes, new accessories…anyone? Or is that just me? Then, I start to list off all the other things I need to bring with me, like a hair dryer, curling iron, shampoo, makeup, I start to question if I should check two bags! You’re probably rolling your eyes thinking I’m crazy, I rationalize this as wanting to be prepared and have options.

This week I’m headed down to San Fransisco, CA for Poshmark’s #PoshFest conference (you might remember that I spoke at their conference in Las Vegas last year). I can’t wait to be back down in SF for the conference to learn new things, meet new friends and catch up with old friends.

Now, to get to the title of this post, tips for traveling with only a carry on. I’ve traveled enough now in the last few years where I feel like I’ve learned a few things about hitting the road without checking a bag and figured I’d share them. A fellow blogger and girlfriend of mine Hitha is really who inspired me in the first place to try traveling with only a carry on. I did this successfully for the first time when I went to the Bahamas a couple years ago. I will say that if I’m going somewhere for a week or more or if it’s an event heavy trip, I may check a bag. I typically travel with a carry on if I’m going away for a weekend or a few days.

Let’s start with the pros. Not checking a bag has it’s benefits.¬†

1. You keep all of your belongings with you, saving you the worry of your bag being thrown around and damaged. You also don’t have to worry about your bag being lost completely or have your bag sent to the wrong place, then dealing with the hassle of being without your stuff for a while.

2. You also eliminate the worry of anything being stolen from your bag. I remember last year a friend of mine had her nice DSLR camera stolen from her checked back. Not cool.

3. You get to keep your bag longer because it’s not being tossed around and beat up.

4. Finally, you save TIME and money! I don’t care to know how much time I’ve spent waiting in lines to check my bag and later pick it up once I’ve arrived at my destination.

Now the Tips.

1. Trust that if you forget to pack something you can always buy what you need when you get to your destination (I guess if you’re traveling to the South Pole or Antartica maybe not, but hopefully you get the gist here).

2. Check the weather where you’re going and be real with yourself on what you need to bring with you. Example, I went to Minnesota last year in February, I knew it would be cold and that there would be snow, but of course I thought bringing a bunch of high heels made sense because who knew if I’d need to get super dressed up while I was there. Of course I didn’t wear any of them, and I wore my snow boots the whole time because there was literally feet of snow outside all the time. Even though I checked the weather before leaving, I wasn’t real with myself on what I *actually* needed to bring with me.

3. Don’t worry about packing shampoo, conditioner or a hair dryer. Now, for this I realize some people are picky on their hair products, I’ve found that hotels usually have nice hair products ready and waiting for you to use (you can always check ahead too to see which brands are carried), and I’ve never been disappointed with the hair dryers hotels have either. If you’re staying with a friend maybe see which products they have and ask if you can use their hair dryer while you’re there. This helps cut down on your bags weight and makes for more room in your suitcase, yay! Going back to tip 1. if you do get to your hotel and hate what they have to offer, go to a store and buy what you like.

3. When you’re packing, write out each day of your trip and make a list of how many outfits you need to have with you, and pack items of clothing that are versatile for day and night.

Tips for traveling with only a carry on bag

In this instance above I was trying to be really organized and packed outfits in zip lock bags with each day labeled.

4. Invest in a good bag that fits under your seat. Don’t forget you can also bring on a purse or smaller personal bag to stick under your seat, take advantage of that room too. My personal favorite is this nylon tote from Tory Burch. It’s a magic bag that literally fits so many things.

Traveling with only a carry on bag

An old selfie of me using my Tory Burch Nylon Tote. Picture via my Instagram.

So, those are a few of my tips. Do you have any travel tips or hacks you’ve learned about traveling with a carry on? I’m always excited and interested to learn people’s travel secrets.