Posted by: illinigirl | November 7, 2011

At the baggage claim. . . you got a lotta luggage in your name

Thanks to Rabbit for this suggestion via facebook to explain how I pack my life in a carry-on on a trip.  I love suggestions!. . . and yes, Lance, I know that I need to answer your questions. . . I regret to inform you that it may not happen until after vacation.  Still friends?

(The spacing in this post is DUMB, but it just won’t edit properly. . . so sorry about that!)

I probably haven’t checked luggage on a trip in over eight years. . . other than trips where I’ve moved and want to take massive amounts of clothes.  Having to check my luggage and deal with this is enough to never want to make me move again.  Plus, I HATE waiting for luggage at my destinations.  Who wants to tack another 30-45 minutes onto a trip on either end???

So. . . even if I go to Europe for ten days. . . I take a carry-on bag!

The liquid thing is a piece o’ cake.  Here’s what I take in the one quart bag:

  • Little body lotion
  • Little toothpaste
  • Lip stain/gloss
  • Chapstick
  • Little sunscreen
  • Hand creme
  • Foundation
  • Little mascara
  • Little hairspray
  • Little hair gel
  • Nail polish
  • Little hand sanitizer
  • Contacts

Woo hoo! All that stuff and room to spare!!!

If I was going on a trip in the U.S., I would probably leave a few things out and add a perfume.  Those are obnoxious bottles, too.  I usually keep some “Pleasures” around for that reason because it’s a less awkward bottle. . . still large though.
Tip:  I avoid having to bring facewash and make-up remover by bagging up some make-up wipes.  I always use hotel soap/shampoo. . . although this has backfired a few times in Europe where they have weird crap.  There has been one or two times that the stuff is nasty or smells like puke, and I usually beg Liz for a dollop of shampoo.  You can also buy bug spray in wipe form to avoid that liquid!
I generally go to warm places. . . which helps packing. . . but here’s how I roll. . .
Wearing on the plane:
  • 1 shirt
  • 1 sweater or hoodie
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • Undergarments (duh)
  • Tennis shoes
  • 3 skirts
  • 1 capri
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 8 tank tops
  • 2 short sleeve shirts
  • 2 sweaters
  • 2 swimsuits
  • 1 swim cover
  • shorts/shirt to sleep in
  • socks
  • undergarments (ooh-la-la)  😉
  • 1 pair of flip flops
Tip:  Did you see that, people???  I am wearing tennis shoes and bringing ONE other pair of shoes (flip flops).  Not everyone could do this, but I’m not a shoe diva.  I’m not visiting other countries to show off my fashion skills.  Plus, we usually walk. . . a lot.  Those are usually the only two types of shoes that don’t cause me major pain and blisters.  If I was going somewhere in the U.S., I would probably bring a nicer pair of shoes to go out in.  It’s never necessary when I travel internationally.
Tip:  I always use the hotel hair dryer.  Please note that my hair will look like hell on this trip because flat irons are not an option.  I will be sporting *beach hair*.  I have a small, fold-up brush.
In my backpack, I bring:
  • Two books for fun (would normally bring my kindle, but concerned about it being stolen on this trip) 😦
  • Portuguese phrase book
  • Two small travel books w/ maps
  • Folder with travel docs
  • Box of Nips (gotta have chocolate!)
  • Two extra backs of gum
  • Little pack of keenex
  • Cough drops/medication
  • I-pod/headphones/chargers
  • A RIDICULOUS amount of snacks
Other important tips:
  • My high school teacher introduced me to bringing old clothes and throwing them away after wearing them.  I have only really done this once though and only have thrown away a few shirts.  While I’m not a fashion diva, I don’t like looking like a rag-a-muffin.
  • You must leave room for GIFTS. . . for others. . . and for yourself.  🙂  In Italy. . . Liz and I bought several purses, olive oils, and I bought 173903174039713 rosaries.  We shipped our dirty laundry back halfway through the trip. . . which is a story all on it’s own.  I’m NOT sure if I recommend this, but it all worked out in the end because we got our stuff back. . . and it was a pretty hilarious adventure.
  • A cross-body purse is the way to go when traveling!. . . or for me, anytime.
  • I am ALWAYS cold on planes.  I have been known to buy a really cheap towel, carry it on as a thicker blanket, and throw it away.  (Problem. . . you are screwed on the way home.)
  • I’m not sure if they even still make anything like this anymore. . . but I don’t go anywhere without my circa 1988 Caboodle for my jewelry.  On this trip, I don’t need it because I’m only bringing one pair of earrings because wearing jewelry makes you a target for thieves. . . lovely!

  • Nips are the best form of chocolate to take because there is no fear of melting!
And. . . in closing. . . my favorite luggage tag, which I love for Liz and I.  🙂


  1. Unfortunately, I’m not that efficient and will check my bag, so we will spend quality time at baggage claim. However, the good news is that I have plenty of extra shampoo and conditioner to share!

  2. one thing i learned when i was flying was to roll your clothes. you can fit more in and your clothes are less wrinkled when you get there. i love the idea of shipping your dirty clothes:)

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