The Curated Carry-on


Even though I aim for a more minimalist, no-fuss (life)style, there's one area where I could definitely up my game. You guessed it right: packing. I like my options - despite always ending up wearing the same few items - but I despise lugging all the extra stuff around. Oh, and the usual jokes friends & family make about my packing skills (or lack of) are getting old too ;-)

So, with my Summer vacation travel coming up, I decided to finally be smarter at packing my holiday wardrobe & essentials, and change up my usual routine and challenge myself: carry-on only, baby! And guess what, it all worked out, as I'll definitely bring fewer items than I'd usually do (probably about the same amount I'd usually pack for a 3-day trip) and I feel good about it! No "packing FOMO" here.

These are the 6 rules I stuck to while packing for my one-week Sicily trip... 

  1. Get the basics right: your choice of luggage does matter. On this trip, I decided to bring AWAY's "The Carry-On". Full disclosure: I received this suitcase as a generous surprise gift right before my trip, but in all honesty, it truly was a better decision than my usual trusted -and self-bought - Samsonite, that I lovingly call "The Nugget". I did a test-packing before I received the AWAY suitcase and was simply able to fit in less items that I really needed, like my tripod. The compartments in the AWAY suitcase make all the difference and help you pack more strategically. 
  2. When it comes to stuffing your suitcase as full as possible (even though with these tips we're trying to avoid that ;-)), use this simple hack I learned moving across the world a couple of times: pack your items before packing. I love to use vacuum sealer bags or packing cubes to organize my clothing and pack them up as tightly as possible.
  3. Your vacation is not the time to try something new in the beauty department. Stick to your favourites. I've made the mistake many times that I left my tried-and-true beauty products at home, and instead packed the testers ("the size is so convenient!") or tried some new goodies in my beauty routine. Bad idea. I've spent trips with stressed out skin as a result, not how I wanted to spend my time away. So instead curate your beauty essentials, grab some refillable travel sized flacons and tubs, and check that one off your "worry list".
  4. Speaking of beauty essentials: keep the versatility of products in mind. Your favourite lipstick can double (or more like, triple) as eye shadow and blush. Your conditioner is a great substitute for shaving cream. A good oil can be a treat for your face, hair and hands (I love The Ordinary's Squalane for that). And Davine's SU line carries a lovely nourishing hair & body wash. I purchased it for my Sicily trip and loved it!
  5. When it comes to your curated travel wardrobe: be realistic. I am definitely one of those people that romanticizes the idea of walking along the seashore, wearing a stunning dress, or going for a lovely dinner and wearing a pair of heels. It's kind of funny, because I rarely wear those things in my day-to-day. So, while the idea of getting dolled up on vacation is fun, it's very unlikely that I'll choose those options over my go-to pieces. So, leave them at home. Pack the items you feel good in, ideally made of materials that work for the weather on your destination, and remember: elegance is found in comfort, not a bodycon and 10 cm heels ;-)
  6. Now that you've made your travel selection, take Coco Chanel's advice: "Before you leave the house, ... take at least one thing off". Or, in this case: take one thing out and leave it at home. Just for the fun of it. Chances are that, even though you've packed less than you usually do, you still packed a few 'juuust in case' pieces. It can be anything, but in my case, it would probably be a piece of clothing. Deduct one piece of your choosing, and you'll feel more accomplished. Oh, and it will open up some space for a souvenir on the way back home...

Are you a chronic over-packer or have you got the packing process down pat?