Carry-on only….

I mean seriously…..a Carry-on, maybe for an overnight trip, but certainly not a 10-day adventure to Paris with one of your besties.

Up until a few years ago, traveling with one small carry-on bag seemed impossible.  Traveling internationally with a carry-on would have been absurd, or so I thought.  You see, I grew up with a mummy that taught me to always be prepared, pack everything but the kitchen sink and you can never have enough shoes, jewelry or purses while traveling.   Let’s be clear, anyone that knew my mum, also knew that she loved to shop, loved everything about putting a fabulous outfit together, from the shoes and accessories to the outfit itself.  So as you can imagine, when you put those things together, traveling with a carry-on would seem like complete nonsense. That was until my dearest friend and a favorite traveling companion, Leslie and I began planning a trip to Paris.

Leslie and I have traveled many times together on family vacations and a few girls trips here and there.  She was very familiar with my ability to over pack.  I, on the other hand, was always amazed at how little she would pack when we traveled.  Honestly, the contrast between our packing practices was kind of a standing joke between us.  Naturally, when we began planning our Paris adventure she issued me a challenge, “I will only go with you if you try traveling with a carry-on only”  I was aghast at the thought.  Who the heck can travel to the fashion capital of the world with only a carry-on?  I mean seriously….one might need a piece of luggage just for their shoes.  In the end, I gave in. Who in their right mind would give up, the opportunity to travel to Paris, no matter what the criteria?  However, I decided that if I was going to sacrifice my packing space than Leslie was going to need to compromise on something as well.  We decided on carry-ons only and with the exception of a few items on our itinerary, a seize the day kind of vacation with no strict plans (Leslie is an avid planner and scheduler and I am more of a carefree traveler).  Both of us had traveled to Paris a number of times in the past, so we didn’t have to fit in all the tourist must-see places and really just wanted to live more like locals.

I will say that traveling with only a carry-on required more thought and pre-planning then my normal packing routine.  For the first time I had to think about how much space one item would take up, deciding if I could wear something more than once, I had to put a limit on my footwear, and make the decision to carry my jacket and wear my boots on the plane so that I could have a little more room.  There were a few moments where I thought I would throw in the towel and there may or may not have been a few choice words spoken as our departure date got a little closer.    I mean we had already bought our tickets and our accommodations were all set, so she wasn’t backing out.  But……a deal was a deal and I had made a promise.

A few things that helped me be Paris ready in a carry-on bag:

  • Made a list of what I needed and what was considered extra.  Stuck to my list.
  • Packing Cubes – These really are a godsend and I think may have a little magic in them.  You are able to roll or fold so many items in these little mesh cubes.   You can usually pick these up at any TJ Maxx or Marshalls.  You can also order them here: Packing Cubes
  • Rolling – Roll, roll, roll your clothes.  This allows you to organize your items to maximize your space.  It also assists in keeping your items wrinkle and crease free. How to Roll Clothes
  • Toiletry Items – Leslie and I discussed what we could purchase when we arrived and who would bring what items so that we didn’t have duplicate items. Remember that all items must be regulation travel size when only traveling with a carry-on bag.  TSA List of Items
  • Jacket & Boots – Wear your bulkier items on the plane.  Utilize space bags to remove all the air and shrink those bulkier items.  You can pick those up at Target or purchase here at Amazon. Amazon Link
  • Shoes – Put smaller items in your shoes.  Bring versatile shoes for the day and one pair for the evening.
  • Outfits – I was very methodical about my outfits, utilizing a number of items more than once.  Here are some Pinterest boards of what to pack for Paris. What to Pack for Paris

When departure day arrived, I was not only excited to travel with my super fantastic friend that constantly encourages me to step outside my comfort zone, but I was proud that I had met my commitment to her.

For reasons not related to my carry-on bag, I will remember this trip forever and always as one of my favorites.  We laughed from the moment she picked me up to head to the airport, until the moment my hubby and I dropped her off when we arrived home.

Since this trip, I have traveled to many locations, just me and my carry-on, but still working on my overnight and weekend travel packing abilities.

Side Note:  We may or may not have had to check our bags on the way home because we purchased a few things.

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