For those of you who have been following my blog for some time, you'll know that I absolutely love traveling but hate the hassle that comes along with lugging around, checking and waiting on a huge luggage. Since the very first trip that I traveled using carry-on luggage only, I haven't looked back and am still amazed at how much time and frustration you save when packing lightly and only bringing carry-on.
If you've been following along on Instagram, you will have seen that we just got back from a 3 week whirlwind trip through Europe. Our travels took us from Paris to Brussels, from Milan to Florence, and then Amsterdam home to Toronto. With a trip consisting of 5 cities, 4 countries, 2 train rides and 4 flights the amount of time saved using just a carry on luggage is invaluable - especially when you only have a precious few days in certain cities!
Take a look at what I packed to get me from Paris to Amsterdam in the springtime. I wanted to be ultra-prepared, since traveling through Europe in the spring can leave to a variety of different temperatures. Luckily for us we had mostly sunny skies and mild weather, with a few rainy periods. As you'll see I stuck to a very light, neutral colour palette for mix-and-match ease.
To me, dresses are some of the easiest things to pack, and can actually be quite versatile - especially in changing weather conditions. I was able to wear each dress on its own during warmer days, and layered over some black tights and with a jacket for when the weather cooled down. Depending on how heavy the fabric is, dresses can also substitute as a shirt when layered under pants or a skirt; the chambray dress on the far right was used as a top with jeans!
Well, technically 5 shirts if you count a grey t-shirt that I ended up using as a sleeping shirt. I tried to keep my palette very neutral so that everything could be mixed and matched, and the shirts were no exception. Each shirt could be - and were - paired with each of the bottoms for a simple, no-fuss outfit. I like to pack very lightweight shirts to save space in the carry-on, plus they're great for layering since the weather can go from freezing cold to very warm in the course of a day (especially in Paris!)
**Not Shown: One large sweater
I know that you're thinking - white jeans, are you crazy?! In my defence, I wanted to stick to a light-coloured neutral palette for my clothing so white denim were an obvious choice for me. To be honest, I didn't find having light-coloured jeans and more maintenance than dark jeans, especially since I knew that they would be going straight into the laundry as soon as I got home. A black shirt was an obvious choice for me as well, since it paired well with each top as well as tights, and was a good length without being too short.
**Not Shown: a pair of black, opaque tights, those were thrown out at the end of the trip.
Packing jackets while traveling can be a bummer, but are absolutely essential when traveling through Europe in the spring. For this trip I brought along two options: a lighter, oversized blazer that was great for layering and a heavier black trench coat for when the weather really cooled down. I honestly used the lighter blazer for the majority of the time, but was glad to have the trench coat - especially at night! Before leaving I went back and fourth between the trench coat and a leather jacket and, although I settled on the trench, I think that either would have been appropriate and practical.
Here's the make-or-break category when packing using only a carry on. You accessories are essential to mixing-and-matching your clothing pieces to create new outfits and can be extremely practical as well! The blanket scarf that I packed was often a substitute for a jacket, a pillow on the train and even served as a picnic blanket when sipping wine under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. A silk neck scarf added some interest to otherwise very boring outfits, and I never travel without a hat (Tip - I wear my hat on every airplane and train to avoid it from becoming crushed in my carry on.) I only took one purse this time, but made sure that it was extremely practical and went with every outfit.
Though I don't have a flat-lay of my shoes since they're currently in desperate need of a wash and/or polish, I did end up bringing one pair of flat black boots (you can see them in my last packing post), a pair of taupe, sleek running shoes and some nude flats.
For all outfits, as well as some travel photos, follow the hashtag #LPNtravels on Instagram.
Take a look at my last Italian packing post for some helpful hints, as well as how I pack my toiletries for carry on travel. I also have a post on what to pack and wear in Paris to avoid looking like a tourist.
What do you guys think? Are you a carry on convert? What are some of your best packing tips? Let me know!