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How To Pack in a Carry-on!

I have heard there are people out there who pack for their trips entirely in a carry on and have always thought there's no way I could do challenge accepted!

I love having options when I travel, so to limit myself sounds awful. I do, however, like the idea of having a travel capsule and not over-packing ( because that's what ends up happening -I don't wear all my clothes, just lug them around and still have to wash them when I get home because they've been stuffed in a suitcase). My intention with this challenge is to simplify -lighter packing, less decision making, and less laundry.

My first attempt at a travel capsule (not in a carry on) was when I traveled to Italy in 2013 with my sister. I started the planning about two months prior to the trip (mostly because this really excites me). I spent hours pouring over blog posts, taking in all the tips out there and make them into something useful for me. I was pleased with the results and truthfully, I did add a few extras in and really didn't need them.

Now, I'm getting ready to go to our family cottage for over two weeks. The question is, can I pack everything I need in a carry-on?

Here are some things I kept in mind:

  • Most of my time will be spent at the cottage, with a few day trips to Ottawa and maybe Montreal where I may want to dress up

  • I will have access to a washing machine and hand washing

  • Weather is really warm, but there's also possibility for rainy and cooler days

  • Colours -I want some variety, keeping it relatively neutral so items can be mix and matched

Let's get started with what I've packed (not all items are exact, but representative):


I went with neutral tops to gain the most versatility. This category was really hard for me because I love variety in my tops, however cottage life is all about spending a lot of time in swimsuits, so really no need for more tops!


There may be some chillier days, so having one pair of jeans and a long pair of lounging pants will be great for that, but I won't need more than one of each.


Dresses are my favorite, so to limit myself was hard (hopefully I don't add one in last minute!).


Part of planning a small wardrobe is having things that work double duty. I will be able to wear these items for both working out/running and lounging (thankfully I have access to a washing machine!!).


Going to the cottage is all about the beach and looking at the forecast it is going to be HOT! My swimwear can mix and match, so helps everything go further. I could also wear my beach cover-up as a lounging piece. And of course, I have to cover my face from the sun with my sun hat and visor.


Having a few pieces for the chilly days, or around the fire at night are a must, so these three pieces will fit the bill!


I always pack too many shoes, so to only pack four is going to be hard!! I may throw in a extra pair of flip-flops :).


Accessories is also a category where I typically pack too much. Let's face it, who is wearing sparkly earrings in the water?? This time I will keep it simple. Not listed here, but I will be bringing two pairs of prescription glasses and one pair of prescription sunglasses (the inconvenience of needing glasses!)

Other: Not picture, but the other items I am packing are undergarments, sleepwear, and toiletries. I am bringing some laundry soap for hand-washing (SOAK is my favourite), so all these items I will be washing once or twice while I'm away, so I don't need to bring enough for every day.

I am so happy to say I did it, I completed the challenge!! I hope this gives you some inspiration that you CAN pack in a carry-on. Would anyone want some packing checklists? Comment if you think they would be helpful!




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