Saturday, April 22, 2023

Pack in a Carry On For a 5 Week vacation

How Do I pack in a carry on for a 5 week vacation? 

Very carefully and minimally. Less is better! I am only using one carry on and a personal bag! 

a couple of luggage bags on a table

My friend Noreen is a world traveler and very experienced packer. She has been coaching me about which essentials to take and how to pack most effectively, efficiently, and all in one carry on and personal bag. At first I thought it couldn't be done, but I'm now convinced not only that it can be done- I'm doing it! 

Dresses, Apparel, Clothing, Clothes

I know I always bring more than I really need yet I tend to gravitate to my favorite outfits multiple times and come home with pants I never wore but still carried for the entire trip. We will do laundry and make it work.

Makeup Brushes, Makeup, Brushes

Neither my husband or I are in any condition to carry heavy suitcases or large suitcases, so we have to make this work.

Guell Park, Barcelona, Spain, Catalonia
Guell Park- Gaudi 

Our first stop will be Barcelona (we have been there before). I am spending an overnight in Barcelona and then boarding a Celebrity cruise ship for a 16 day cruise in France, Italy, and Spain. 

Cruise Ship, Night, Port, Ship

The cruise will end and deliver us to Rome where we will spend 3 days exploring the beautiful famous city. 

Rome, Vatican, City, Italy, Tiber
Vatican City at night

 From Rome we are flying to Israel for 2 weeks. 
 Total Trip : 5 weeks

  • Underwear: Wash it every night. 
  • Noreen suggests 3 pairs of underpants (2 white, 1 black) and two bras (white and black). If I wash it in the sink every night, it's plenty!

  • Pants: 
  • 1 white , 1 black, 1 jeans (which you wear on the plane and don't pack)

  • Dresses: 
  • Only light simple material -I packed 3 which is too many I'm sure (according to Noreen) 
  • 2 black and one white
  • 1 black, 1 white, 2 multicolored design
  •  4 dressy tops for the pants for dinners 
  •  5 t- shirt types for skorts for day activities
  • Wear my walking sneakers
  •  Pair of low heals, pair of sandals, pair of water shoes
Hair Blower: 
  • This is a splurge- I have a hair blower with a brush attached to it that is an absolute for me- no questions asked. I is a game changer for my hair.
  • blush, moisturizer with tint, mascara 
  • vegan multi vitamin
  • Zicam (a zinc and vitamin C supplement) that works for me at the start of a cold. Love it!!I take it before boarding a plane, cruise, or 1st sign of a sore throat or sniffle. 
Alcohol wipes, purse size hand sanitizer, Advil, thermometer, 4 laundry pods, a travel size container of liquid laundry detergent for underwear washing. 

What's your view? 
How do you pack ? Do you pack light or do you like to bring lots of stuff? 

Tips for light packing: 

Packing in a carry-on is not only convenient, but it can also save you money on checked baggage fees and prevent lost luggage.

  1. Check the cruise line's dress code: Check the dress code for the cruise line you will be sailing with. This will give you an idea of what to pack and what to leave behind. Most cruise lines have formal and semi-formal nights, so be sure to pack a dressy outfit or two.However, I am finding that dress up nights also have more casual options. My husband in not bringing a sports jacket- just too bulky.

  2. Stick to a color scheme: To make it easier to mix and match your outfits, stick to a color scheme. For example, you could pack mostly neutral colors like black, white, and beige, and add in some pops of color with accessories like scarves or jewelry. I'm doing black and white color scheme. 

    Jewelry: I never bring expensive jewelry. I buy a wedding band in TJ Max that I won't care if I loose and a cubic zirconia necklace for nightwear. 

  3. Pack versatile clothing: To save space in your carry-on, pack clothing that can be worn in multiple ways.

  4. Bring comfortable walking shoes: You'll likely be doing a lot of walking during your trip, so it's important to bring comfortable shoes. Sneakers or comfortable walking sandals are a good choice. Wear the sneakers on the plane since they are the heaviest shoes.

  5. Pack travel-sized toiletries: To save space in your carry-on, pack travel-sized toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. You can also purchase these items when you arrive at your destination.

  6. Use packing cubes: Packing cubes can help you organize your clothing and maximize space in your carry-on. Roll your clothing tightly and place them in the cubes, then stack the cubes in your bag. Rolling really creates more space!

  7. Laundry: If you're going to be on a 2-week cruise, you may have access to laundry facilities. If not, you could consider packing a small amount of laundry detergent and washing your clothes in your hotel sink.

  8. Pack a collapsible tote bag: A collapsible tote bag can be a lifesaver for carrying items on excursions or carrying souvenirs back to your cabin. When not in use, it can be folded up and stored in your carry-on.

  9. Travel documents: Make sure you have all the necessary travel documents, such as your passport, visas, and cruise itinerary

    If needed, the cruise ship and all of the ports sell clothing. My husband likes to buy a hat or t-shirt as a souvenir from the trip- so we do not pack any.


  1. It sounds like you've done a fantastic job on packing. Enjoy your trip!!

  2. Traveling light needs planning but it works. My husband and daughter always warns me beforehand that I need to fit everything in a suitcase that i can pick up myself. Thanks for this post.

  3. There's definitely an art to it, that's for sure. The thing that I find hard it knowing what kind of clothes I'm going to want or need. I can't tell you how many times I've gone somewhere and found I could pretty much live in board shorts day in and day out, and there was no need for all te other clothes I brought.

  4. This is a terrific post. I learned light packing the hard way -- by trucking a non-wheeled suitcase that was OVERLOADED in Japan for two weeks. It was awful. (I will say it's easier to travel in warmer weather because clothes are lighter and less bulky). My pack list is similar to yours but fewer shoes. I use fast-drying microfiber underwear and on the plane wear my jacket/raincoat. I also pack a couple of button cardigans that can be worn over a tee or turtle rather than heavy sweaters, so I can get extra use out of things. I don't do skirts, so two pair black pants (dress and casual) or maybe one khaki and maybe jeans (which I wear). The big thing tends to be gifts for hosts but hopefully we see them early in the trip so we can unload it!

  5. Wow! I am so impressed! I take more than that just to head to the gym! (And, yes, my ridiculously overdone 500-step skincare regimen makes it tough to simplify.) Clearly I need to study your ways...

    Sounds like you have a fabulous trip ahead -- enjoy every moment! Bon voyage!

  6. Great ideas and info! A lifetime ago I use to travel more and always lived out of a carry on. I never felt under dressed, no matter where I went or what I did.

  7. Our friend is on a three week trip/cruise with one carry-on. It is the way to travel now.

    Have a great vacation!

  8. How exciting! My husband and I used to go to various cities around the world to work in libraries for a semester at a time. I got packing down to a science. I would take one suitcase and my purse. That was it. Pattie @Olla-Podrida

  9. Have a nice trip!......Abrazotes, Marcela

  10. I hope your trip goes well/is going well. Wow I admire that packing etiquette :) So little to take. Good on you. Have fun.

  11. I read your list with interest. One thing I always keep in mind is that you cannot wash the night before you leave a destination. So, the night before you leave Rome doing any washing might not be a great idea as it might not dry! I pack very lightly. I wear my sneakers as you would on the plane, but never jeans as I cannot sleep in them. And I only pack one other pair of sandals, or shoes, depending on the time of year we travel. Did you remember a washing line? That to me is essential, with some pegs. I have one with suction holders to use over the bath / in the shower. I also always wear a coat on the plane regardless of the weather we are heading in to. It is a rain jacket of some sort, also depending on the time of year we travel. Have an amazing trip!

  12. Wow, what a fabulous trip! You are so smart to pack only a carry on, that will save so much time and hassle! Have a wonderful time!!

  13. I am so impressed!! And just a bit jealous. Your trip sounds amazing! I can't wait to hear about it.

  14. Wow, I'm incredibly impressed by your packing regimen! You take the capsule wardrobe to new heights! And the trip itself sounds so exciting. I'm sure you'll see some beautiful sights and enjoy some delicious meals! Have a wonderful time! 👕🌏🚢


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