How to Pack for 2 Weeks in One Carry-On

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Think you can’t pack for a 2 week trip with only a carry on? Think again! Next month I will be off to backpack through Italy with solely my Osprey Farpoint. In this post, I will break down how it is totally possible to only bring a carry on for the duration of your adventures. And contrary to your beliefs, bringing just one bag is a heck of a lot easier.

Oh, and did I mention I’m bringing my toddler?! I know, I know. You think I’m nuts.

Use eBags

I’ll let you in on a little secret: eBags Packing Cubes. These are the Mary Poppins of bags when it comes to packing a lot in a little space. I purchased a pack of small, medium and large which worked out perfectly. They fit like a glove in my backpack even when they are stuffed full.

Large eBag: This eBag fit ALL of my clothes, with room to spare.

Medium eBag: I packed all of my daughter’s clothes in the medium size.

Small eBag: I used this bag for my undergarments and socks. I was also able to fit in my daughter’s diaper wipes and enough diapers to last her a few days. Also featured is our toiletry organizer with travel size toothbrushes, toothpaste, a mini hairbrush, and first aid kit. We will take advantage of using the hotel’s soap, shampoo and lotion.

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Seriously, I have no idea how these miraculous little bags fit so much and still managed to fit seamlessly in my backpack. I still have plenty of room in the main compartment to bring back souvenirs! I took advantage of the smaller compartments and filled those with chargers, a notepad, important papers, my daughter’s Kids Kindle and more!

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Layers

Layer, layer layer! Instead of bringing tons of short sleeves and long sleeve shirts, I am bringing mostly 3/4 length sleeve shirts and one stylish jacket. By layering your clothes, you can add on layers or peel off a layer instead of doing a complete wardrobe change. Easy peasy.

Wear the Bulk

If you are traveling in cooler months, you may think you have a burden of bringing heavier clothes. There is one simple answer to this problem: wear your bulkiest items. When traveling this fall, I will be wearing my jacket and boots. If you wear the bulky items, there is no need to worry about how you will pack them!

Pack Neutral Clothes

The art of packing light revolves around mixing and matching. Bring 2 pairs of pants and 5-6 shirts. All of your outfits should be interchangeable. If you need to bring a jacket, make sure that it matches all of your other clothing items. 

Do Laundry

The last thing you probably want to do on a trip is laundry, but if you are backpacking or just packing light, it comes with the territory. Most hotels and hostels have laundry services which are very convenient! Or you can venture out and find a laundromat in your destination for a cheaper fare. I would suggest bringing about a weeks worth of clothes and washing halfway through your journey.

Bring a Purse20160905_110312-01.jpeg

Okay, maybe this is cheating, but I always like to have an over the shoulder purse when traveling abroad. It is comforting to have my important documents and more valuable items close to me where I can protect them. This is also a good place to store a sippy cup, snacks and a coloring book for easy access when you need to distract your toddler.

Narrow it Down

Ask yourself if the item is a must have. If you think to yourself, “I will bring this just in case”, leave it! Chances are, if you get to your destination and really need something, you can buy it once you are settled in.

Do a Trial Run

This is important. Do a complete trial run with absolutely everything you are planning to bring and make sure its fits. You don’t want to be rushing at the last minute when it comes to taking only a carry-on. I did a trial run with my Osprey Pack and Ergobaby Carrier to make sure we wouldn’t run into any problems!

Which one do you think was heavier?! I’ll give you a hint: not the backpack 😉

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Toddler Tips:

-No need to bring tons of toys. The world is theirs to explore.

-Buy diapers and diaper wipes at your destination. This will save you a ton of space.

-Bring one good, versatile pair of shoes. 

-Stick with one sippy cup or bottle. Just wash and re-use! I like using the Take & Toss Sippy Cups. They are inexpensive and easy to clean!

-Baby and toddler clothes are easy to wash and quick to dry. Bring less and wash in your hotel sink.

-Pay attention to what your little one uses over the course of the day. If they don’t absolutely need it, leave it.

And a huge thank you to Naomi from Love Taza. Thanks to her post on Traveling Abroad with Littles, I realized if she could travel with only a backpack with kids, then so could I! I booked my flight to Italy immediately after reading her post.

I hope I can also be an inspiration to other mamas out there. Show your children the world!

Need tips for planning a trip abroad with your little one? Read this!

If you think I am still crazy for traveling with my toddler, Read this!

-E&A

18 thoughts on “How to Pack for 2 Weeks in One Carry-On

  1. Diana Chen says:

    I always travel with just a carry on backpack no matter how long I go away for, but I have never traveled with a toddler before or had to fit two people’s belongings into one bag! very impressive!! Have a great trip! (:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jillian Michelle says:

    I’ve had a bit of an obsession with packing everything into a carry-on ever since the airline lost my luggage on my last flight. Now I’m a paranoid worry-wart lol! I always use the “Wear the Bulk” tip, but I’ve never tried the packing cubes before! I’ll have to test them out! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Milana's Travels says:

    Great tips! Your daughter is adorable. I wore her all the time when she was that age, so much more compact than a stroller. We packed two weeks worth into a carry on when we went on our European honeymoon, it’s definitely doable!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sydney Fashion Hunter says:

    It’s been a long time since I have backpacked in the true sense of the word but I remember it well. I had much less for six weeks but I didn’t have a toddler lol. While I use a Samsonite instead of a backpack these days I still like to travel as light as I can and there are some great tips here.

    Like

  5. gobeyondbounds says:

    We understand how difficult it is to manage a baby and the backpack at the same time. Your post has some great tips to travel light and comfortable. Thanks for these awesome post.

    Like

  6. Sabrina Andrea Sachs says:

    This is brilliant! I literally just finished a massive physical fight with my backpack (exactly like yours but 70L) and realised that I had to leave behind (send home) most of the stuff I collected in the last year of travel. my bag is back to 14kg as when i started and I feel so much better already! PS I can’t travel with only a carry on though since I am a photographer and that space is reserved to my camera stuff… Maybe one day for shorter trips though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cynthia says:

    Haha, and I thought I did well learning to do all carry-on for myself this year. I am super impressed you did it for yourself AND your toddler! Layering and coordinating are key. Plus, slide in a couple large ziplock plastic bags when you pack – just in case you get caught in a rainstorm the night before a flight and don’t have time to dry things… 😉

    Like

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