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I am so excited to finally write this blog post! If you've been following along, you might have seen a series of 5 different blog posts ...

How To Pack In A Carry-on To Europe

My first time ever traveling / my first flight was my junior year of college and then I took a 90% travel job right out of college so I learned the ins and outs of traveling pretty quickly!

I try to pack in just a carry on whenever I can. It saves me the hassle of having to go wait at baggage claim (which feels like sometimes it can take forever) and it really takes away the risk of loosing your luggage if you have a layover. Oh and it saves you $ when you are charged to check your bag each way! When I traveled for work it was usually for just 4 day trips so it was pretty easy to just pack in a carry on sized suit case but when I went on longer trips that is when it got more challenging. I was able to pack in a carry on for 7 nights in Mexico and then another trip for 5 nights in Italy. For our trip to Greece this month I wanted to challenge myself- could I pack for 9 nights in a small carry on suitcase?! I did it! We had a lot of legs in our travel day to Santorini and I did not want to risk loosing any luggage. We also had "carry on only" tickets on 2 different flights so we didn't want to have to pay extra to check our bags.

So- how did I do it?! Here are some key things:

  • Pre plan your outfits! For each day I am traveling I plan a day and night outfit. If we are planning a day by the pool I only need a night outfit for that day. 
  • Try to reuse items of clothing to pack less- that tank you are going to wear with a pair of shorts one day would also be great to wear with a skirt another day to dinner.
  • Bring travel sized items only!! Nothing over 3oz. But what about your container of face moisturizer? Buy a little travel size container and fill it up!
  • Figure out what you really NEED- Do you really need every single item in your makeup bag or those 5 different pairs of shoes, probably not!
  • Check the weather before you go!! Greece in August/September is about 80 degrees during the day and night so I really didn't need to pack a pair of jeans. Dresses, shorts, and skirts were best for the weather plus they are lighter to pack.
When you choose to carry on a bag you get to bring a small suitcase and 1 personal item. I typically bring a large bag or backpack for my personal item that is stored under my seat that way I can access things I want during the flight. The small carry on suitcase goes above your seat in the over head compartment. I also always bring a cross body bag with me to wear at the airport to have easy access to my tickets, phone, etc. and then I just put it into my personal item under the seat when I get on the plane!

What's in my personal item/bag?

My personal item / bag for this trip had everything that I needed for the flight. I usually always will use this getaway bag from stella and dot because I also use it as a beach bag when we get to our destination! I have my husband normally do a backpack for his so that if we need a backpack we have one! It is the best bag I have bought and worth the money. I use it for overnights, a beach bag, day trips, on flights, etc. It expands too to be even bigger and comes in a bunch of styles. It fits great under the airplane seat too! This is what I put in to have handy at the bottom of my feet during the flight:
  • Fuzzy socks (haha! my feet get so cold on the plane and I like to kick off my shoes and be comfy)
  • Shawl - For overnight flights I like to have a little "blanket" type thing to cozy up with! A shawl is perfect because its not to heavy to pack and it does the job
  • Headphones for the TV's on the plane (Make sure you bring the one without the adapter attached if you have an iPhone!! Been there done that!)
  • Crossbody purse
    • Tickets
    • Euros (PSA: did you know you can go to your local AAA and they can order Euros for you and they will come in 2 days? If your not a AAA member the fee is so small and it will save you the hassle of having to exchange at the airport/destination!)
    • Credit Cards
    • Passports 
    • Pen for custom/ immigration forms 
    • Hotel and flight info
    • Sunglasses to find easily when we land
  • Electronics bag (another stella and dot fav: pouf)
    • Outlet adapters
    • Portable charger
    • Phone charger
    • Apple watch charger
  • Sleep mask, melatonin, travel neck pillow - for overnight flights!
  • Change of clothes and bathing suit (JUST in case somehow you loose your luggage)
  • Toothbrush and tooth paste- again, just in case you loose the main luggage!
  • I always like to have gum and tissues as well
  • Neck pillow! I got this one on Amazon and it had great reviews
  • Book to read on the plane- if your looking for a good read check out my book recommendation blog post!
  • A warm cardigan (I love to be super cozy on overnight flights). This is good to toss in because it will take some space out of your luggage too
How do you pack all your clothes for 9 nights in a small suitcase?!

First of all these are 2 things that make my traveling / packing 1000x easier. I can pack all 4 of these items below in a small carry on!

1. Ebags packing cubes (small,medium, and large). I use these every single time I travel and man, you can fit SO much in them! I normally put all my clothes in the large one, bathing suits/coverups/gym clothes in the medium, and then bras and underwear in the small one. You will be shocked how much you can fit in them! My large one for this trip has at least 20 different pieces in it!
2. Ebags cosmetic hanger bag- Same thing here! You will be amazed with how much you can fit in this little thing. This trip I put all of my makeup, brushes, and then any toiletry items I need! It lies flat which makes it so easy to pack.

Also, I put all of my liquids/ aerosols into 1 quart sized zip lock bag. Some airport check to make sure everything is in the bag and some don't. I like to play it safe and just make sure everything I have fits into a bag. If I am asked to take it out I have easy access to it all in one bag! I put my foundation, face wash, hair spray, dry shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream, lotion, sunscreen, mascara, liquid liner, etc. in the bag! TIP: move things around and re-pack the bag a few times to get everything to fit!

Now onto what I packed for clothes/outfits. Greece during our trip is still very warm so we did not have to pack that many heavy items such as jeans or sweaters. A tip is to try to reuse as many items as you can to make different outfits! You'll see below some of my outfits that I put together that use many of the same pieces! It is crazy how much you can fit inside a small suitcase!

Outfit 1. This is my travel outfit for the overnight flight. A cozy jumpsuit and a fuzzy cardigan (the one I mentioned above that I stick in my personal item bag!) The cardigan will be used throughout the trip. I will wear the jumpsuit out to dinner one night too!

 Outfits 2&3. We are going on a hike so I needed set of workout clothes and sneakers. I paired the same workout leggings with a thin sweater to wear on another flight later in the week!


 Outfits 4&5. A basic white tank/cami can be used for a few different outfits! You can wear it from day to night. For a day outfit I have it paired with jean shorts and a kimono and for a nigh/dinner outfit I have it paired with a flowy skirt.


Outfit 6. For another dinner outfit I packed a pink dress and have it paired with the same kimono I shared above with the tank and jeans!

Outfits 7-11. A 2nd pair of jean shorts can double as a day look (open back sweater if its cool) and then to be worn with my beach cover up for all 3 bikinis and the beach cover up can be worn alone with the one piece! I have to admit, I always pack extra bathing suits, defiantly more then I need but I like to have options are they are so light to pack!

Outfits 12-18. Dresses and rompers are always so light and easy to pack so I always try to pack a good amount (weather permitting). I am loving this white blouse and wanted to take it so I paired it with a pair of jean shorts shown above with the kimono!

Outfits 19&20. Paper bag shorts are easy to dress up or dress down! I put together 2 outfits. One with a bodysuit and one with the same white tank mentioned above! If needed, either of these can be paired with the cardigan that was worn on the plane!

Not pictured: 1 set of gym clothes, 2 pajama sets, 2 sandals, curling iron, straw crossbody bag. I also decided last minute to toss in another light thin grey cardigan and a pair of jeans because I had room!

Can you believe I fit all of this stuff into a carry on suitcase?! Next time you are going on a trip plan out how many outfits you need and then figure out if any pieces can be used more than once to create different looks! It worth all of the risks and $ spent with having to check a bag! Once you do it once you will be hooked!