How To Pack For A Full Week In Only A Carry-On

Ladies, I have done the impossible. I have packed for a week-long trip in just a carry-on.

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We have all been there. We’re shopping and planning our outfits for an upcoming trip when the leader of the pack utters the scariest three-word combination known to the female vacationer: “No checking bags.” It’s enough to send even the calmest of fashionistas straight into panic mode.

Well, ladies, I have done the impossible: I have packed for a week-long trip to Sicily in just a carry-on, and I am here to guide you.

First and foremost, make sure to bring your basics. Basics are essential when you have no room to overpack. Now, let’s break down the clothing assortment by occasion.

For the daytime:

Bring two pairs of bottoms — either two pairs of shorts, or shorts and a skirt that can be worn during the day and going into the night. Bring at least two tops for each pair of bottoms so that you can get multiple wears out of each pair. In addition, throw in a versatile sundress or maxi.

Going somewhere warm? Two to three cover-ups and bathing suits should suffice. If necessary, you can always hand-wash them.

For the evening:

Start with two pairs of pants: One pair that is high-waisted (if you’re into it) and one that is a regular rise. Bring at least two tops for each pair of pants. This way, you have several options and looks without taking up an excessive amount of space. If you feel like two pairs of pants isn’t enough, bring one or two one-piece options such as a dress or romper.  

You never know if the temperature will drop in the evening, so be sure to bring an extra layer or two. Go with a lightweight jacket and a thin sweater.

For the feet:

This is always the most stressful part when packing light. Instead of bringing extraneous footwear, pack only one pair of shoes for each category. Select one pair of casual sneakers, flip-flops, nice flat sandals, wedges/heels and if you plan on working out, a pair of gym sneakers. For the most efficient arrangement, be sure to wear your biggest pair of shoes on the plane.

Everything else:


Two sets of sleep outfits and a pair of sweatpants should do the trick. Plan on working out? Go with three sets of workout clothes — chances are you won’t hit the gym everyday, and if you do, either re-wear or hand wash.

For accessories, wear your most basic items on the flight and bring a few statement pieces that can be mixed and matched with your various outfits. Bring two bags: A large bag for the daytime and a small one for the evening. Bringing a hat? Wear it on the plane to save room and keep its shape.

And remember: If you have some room to spare after you’re all packed up, resist the temptation to add in more items. You’ll need that extra space for anything you pick up along your travels.


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