travel time

To preface this I love to travel and I have made it a goal to see as many places as possible. At just 22 I'm not doing too shabby. This past June I had the wonderful opportunity to go traveling for a month after college graduation (more on this adventure in the future). When my trusty, traveling companion and I were planning the trip I was determined to only bring a carry-on suitcase for two reasons. The first being I wanted to save money, we planned on taking a lot of budget airlines and I didn’t want to pay more money for a bag of stuff. The second being the amount of moving we would be doing; I would need to be able to have a bag I could lift into trains, buses and fit comfortably in hostel lockers. I am proud to say I did it; I packed for a month in one suitcase and here are some tips on how I managed that feat of magic.

1. Find the right suitcase
I originally purchased my bag when I was studying abroad in England. I got it at Primark for around ten pounds (15ish dollars) and I didn’t expect it to last one trip never mind multiple trips. It is part of the feather light series and it weighs less than a pound, that’s a huge bonus because most budget airlines measure weight as well dimensions. For extended travel in such a small suitcase I really recommend buying a soft shell suitcase, not only are they lighter but often they have more wiggle room for those souvenirs you just had to buy (i.e. the wool sweater that I had to have).

2. Pack what you like
A two-week+ trip is not the time to try out a clothing item that you’re unsure about. In order to maximize suitcase space it is best to limit to your favorite wardrobe staples that can be paired easily with one another (I have been faulted with wearing too much black but it’s very European right?). Jazz things up with statement pieces/accessories such as scarves, sunglasses or jewelry, these things are easy to pack and can transform an outfit immediately.

My typical travel outfit: Neutral and easy to layer
3. Don’t be afraid to do laundry
Laundry is great, laundry is your friend. By doing laundry halfway through your trip you can pack half the clothes and have more space for souvenirs or other essentials. Generally, most hostels offer laundry facilities for an extra fee (usually very small). Another perk of doing laundry is it forces you to take some downtime and recharge during that spin cycle.

4. Miniature everything
Minis are great! Stores like Target and Sephora have great miniatures of products people actually use. If you use a specialty shampoo or lotion and cannot find it’s miniature try buying small airline approved plastic bottles. These are smart way to bring all your favorite things in a manageable way. Remember to check different countries stipulations for carry-on liquids, as some countries require smaller fluid ounces than others (r.i.p. face lotion confiscated at the Hungarian border).

5. Make clothing burritos and quesadillas
There is a furious debate whether to fold or roll clothes and I happen to believe that a blend is the perfect solution. For bulky items such as jeans, sweaters and coats it is best to lay the item as flat as possible at the bottom of the suitcase. Smaller clothing such as shirts, shorts and dresses can be easily rolled to maximize space and fill otherwise wasted crevices. (I’m looking at you inside of shoes)

Packing a carry-on suitcase for a month can be done and the results are actually quite freeing. I hope these tips are helpful for anyone out there who is either packing a backpack or a carry-on suitcase for an extended period time! Let me know if you have any packing tips! Happy travels.

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