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Travel Essentials- Packing/Using Only a Carry On

People are always amazed that I can travel with only a small personal item and/or carry on size luggage for my trips! Above are all of my travel must haves that help me stay compiled into smaller sized luggage. Don't get me wrong, there are times that I check a bag for convenience or sometimes if we are traveling for longer periods of time, but generally I always just carry a bag on and squeeze it all in!

I am not partial to my luggage specifically, but it has done the job and held up well. I purchased this luggage set when I traveled alone with my two kiddos when they were 6 months and 2.5 years old. (Yes, I'm crazy!) Up until this point I didn't have a spinner bag but I wanted something that was easy to drag/push simultaneously with a stroller. I have become a huge hard side and spinner luggage enthusiast since purchasing this set and I don't think I'll ever get anything else. It came with 3 sizes, the smallest the only one that is "carry on approved".

In order to maximize how much I can fit in this bag my other secret weapon is packing cubes. If you have never used them GET THEM. They will save your life. Personally, I like to stack things inside of them and not use the roll up method. Others I know swear by rolling their clothes up and still use cubes to keep the organization. These cubes compact my clothes enough to help squeeze more in! I also pair my outfits up together as I'm packing generally and just put the whole piles into the cubes. Depending what other items I'm traveling with (shoes, boots, etc) 2-3 of these cubes fit inside a cary on sized bag.

When it comes to toiletries, I use the small containers to portion out my essentials (seen above) and a clear bag or ziplock (super fancy, I know!) to follow the rules and then I put those in my tote/personal item. I also like to cary my jewelry organizer (also seen above) with me in my personal bag to keep it from getting crushed in my roller bag. My Michael Kors Jet Set tote is generally my go to for my personal item but I am always looking for another more comfortable bag to cary through the airport.

I also like the ease of traveling with cary ons as it eliminates a stop at the check in counter on the way in and baggage claim on the way out. It's a bit more to juggle going through the airports but it just works for me! I also like not chancing lost luggage so that I can always focus on my travels instead.

Other tips for packing include rewearing bottoms/jeans. This goes without saying but the more you take the harder it is to fit. I also wear the bulkiest items on the airplane which usually includes several layers, hats, and boots. It saves me space in my luggage and allows more room for other items. Lastly, I use the sides of my packing cubes. Generally there is space around the inside perimeter of the packing cubes. I use this to space to add additional items like undergarments, hats, or maybe a rolled shirt or two.

My last advice is that every trip is different and every time I pack theres lots of trial and error with different size packing cubes, different layouts etc. Play with it and make it work for you and what you have!

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Maria Elizabeth

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