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Travel Light - Backpack edition!

After my luggage being lost for a few days on a trip to California many years ago, I committed to never checking a bag again. I started my carry-on only lifestyle on a trip to Europe and have never looked back!

98% of the time I do a carry on luggage only + 1 personal item, but on the occasions I fly Allegiant or Frontier, I pack in a backpack that will count as a personal item (free). I had a much smaller backpack but recently upgraded to the New Crew Lululemon Backpack and it’s a game changer! I was able to fit the following in my backpack plus room to spare!

  • 1 pair of dressy pants

  • 1 silk cami

  • 1 skirt

  • 1 tank top

  • 1 cropped hoodie

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • 2 shirts

  • 1 pair of sweats

  • 1 pair of letting

  • 1 pair of flip flops

  • 1 bikini

  • 1 sports bra

  • 1 set of night wear

  • 2 days worth of supplements & pills

  • 1 pack of makeup wipes

  • 1 pair of glasses

  • 1 water bottle

  • A hairbrush

  • A bottle of sunscreen

  • A curling iron

  • A phone charger

  • My Daysy Fertility Tracker

  • My makeup bag which has my contact case, cc cream, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, 3 face serums, lash serum, toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, eyebrow gel/pencil/pen, dry shampoo, hair ties, and a few other small things

This is for a 4 day trip, but could easily be enough for 5 days. So... HOW? First, I start early! I usually start my packing process 2-3 days before a trip. This gives me time to think about what I’m asking and not make impulse decisions.

How To Travel Light

1. I start with making a list of each day of travel and a “Morning/Afternoon” & “Evening” category. For example:

Monday (morning)

Pool day and casual lunch out

Monday (evening)

Upscale dinner and after dinner music

By listing activities, I have an idea of what type of clothing to pack.

2. After listing each day’s plans, I list the outfits (plus shoes/accessories) I think I may wear. For example:

Monday (morning)

Pool day and casual lunch out

Pool: leopard bikini, coverup

Lunch: linen pants, white crop top, sandals, macrame earrings, crossbody bag

Tip: I try to stick with a color scheme (neutrals are always a great go-to with a few splashes of color in a piece of jewelry or a fun bag) that I can have repeat uses of shoes/purses for. If I have 5 outfits and they’re all different colors, it’s going to be harder to stick to a minimal list. I continue this for each day and all of the activities. I use my iPhone notes app and utilize the checkbox feature so I keep track of what I actually pack.

3. Once I’ve listed all of the items, I lay them all out in the floor and pair them with any accessories. Then, I reassess. Do I really need 3 outfit changes one day? Do I really need an extra purse? Am I bringing 3 tops because I can’t decide now and want options? What can I rewear?

4. After I do my reassessment, I usually lose a few items. I do one final pass through of activities/clothing and begin to pack.

5. ROLLING! I roll every item of clothing as tightly as possible. I have several videos on my Instagram highlight “1 Bag” that shows how I do this. It makes a world of difference in what you can fit in a bag or piece of luggage.

6. Lastly, toiletries! I pack all of my toiletries in one bag. Everything is under the 3oz requirement. This means purchasing mini sizes of my favorite face products or adding a little bit into small, portable containers like the ones below.

For makeup, I try to just bring the necessities... sunscreen, cc cream, blush, and mascara. If I feel like I have space, I’ll pack eyeshadow and bronzer. I always take a disposable toothbrush so I can toss it at the end of the trip and have one less thing to pack.

For pills and supplements, I use this container set from Amazon and take out the days I need. They’re small and super portable!

More tips to light, one bag travel!

If I am doing a backpack, I will also use one of my Lululemon Belt Bags as a crossbody. I wear this on my person and it has important/quick access items like phone, wallet, passport, etc. Combining the backpack and belt bag also keeps me totally hands free which is always a win when traveling!

Check the weather of your destination! Is rain expected? A cold front? A heat wave? I use the AccuWeather app to look at each day to help me plan my outfits.

I wear my bulkiest items on the plane. Sneakers/Boots/Coats/Hats, etc.

I stick to 2 pairs of shoes, *maybe* 3 if I am taking an actual carry on luggage. If I’m using a backpack, I stick to 2.

I wash my hair right before a trip so I don’t have to worry about washing it midtrip and bringing all of my hair products minus a curling iron or straightener.

This type of travel isn’t for everyone, but I love it and would never want to travel another way! Less time checking bags, waiting for luggage, and keeping up with things is more time to explore, engage, and make memories!

What did I miss?? Let me know if there’s something I didn’t cover and I will answer!

til next time...


patty lauren


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