Packing light for any trip is difficult, but when you’re going to another country for 2 weeks, it’s even harder. And let me tell you, it was TOUGH! When I booked a week and a half trip to Bali with 5 of my girlfriends, I thought that a carry-on luggage and a backpack would be fine. But then our flights changed due to Nyepi Day (a Balinese “Day of Silence” that is commemorated every year and everything is closed [including the airport!!!]) and we had to fly out 2 days earlier. So for a full 2 weeks, I still only went with my carry-on and whatever I can squeeze into a backpack. I’m not really sure what I was thinking to begin with, because 2 days isn’t a whole lot longer, but 2 weeks does sound longer than a week and a half!
Normally I would bring a big enough suitcase to accommodate such a long trip, but since we were going to be travelling all over Bali and have a layover in Shanghai on the way there/back, it made more sense to pack light. I did spend most of my time hiking and lounging by a pool, so I didn’t need a whole ton of outfits.
How to Pack for a 2 Week Trip with only a Carry On
Step One: Create a list
Before you even start getting your luggage out to pack it, jot down a list of the places you’re going and activities you’ll be doing. You can gauge what types of outfits you’ll need for each activity and see if you can re-wear anything. From there, narrow down your list to what essential items you’ll need (clothing, accessories, shoes, cameras, hygiene products, etc). Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, everyone’s lists will be different! My packing list was still quite long, and I don’t think I needed everything.. but I would have rather over-packed than under-packed.
My list included:
- 1-2 Sweaters & Pants (include this especially for the plane/airport!)
- 5 Tops
- 3 Shorts
- 2 Rompers
- 6 Bathing Suits
- 3 Bra/Sports Bra
- 8 Underwear
- 2 Flip Flops (a nice pair when going out for meals, a pair for the pool/beach)
- 1 pair of Running Shoes
- 3 pairs of Socks
- 1 Dress
- Face wash/Face Wipes
- Hair Product(s)
- Charging cords for camera, laptop, phone
- Paperwork (passport, boarding passes, itinerary)
OPTIONAL ITEMS & NOTES:
- Makeup – I always bring makeup with me on vacation but then get to hot & lazy to actually put it on..
- Sunscreen, Bug Spray, & Body Lotion (you can most likely pick this up at your destination)
- Shampoo/Conditioner (optional – the airbnbs/hotels I stayed at included these)
- Towels (optional – most airbnbs/hotels include these)
- Laptop (if you feel the urge to work…?)
- If you can do laundry while on vacation, alter the amount of clothes you have! You can bring less clothes if you don’t mind re-wearing outfits. Bring a pack of Tide Travel Packs.
Step Two: Lay Everything Out!
Creating a list and checking everything off seems great, but until you lay everything out and actually see it, is when you’ll realize if you have too much or too little. The good thing about most airlines is they let you bring a purse/backpack along with your carry on. USE THAT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! All your important papers, money, and electronics should be kept in your backpack for easy access, but you can also use that space to pack extra items. I actually purchased a new carry-on luggage from Samsonite and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a really great brand and you can see the great quality of the luggage right away. I do also suggest getting a luggage with spinner wheels, so you can pull the luggage with you in every direction.
Step Three: Start Packing!
Be sure to measure your luggage to see if it fits within your airlines carry on measurements. Since I packed a lot of clothes into a small carry-on, I found that when I rolled my clothes it saved a lot of room. Not only that, but I purchased a set of Travel Packing Cubes, which were a life saver! They made my packing so much easier, and I felt so organized. I packed all my shorts, rompers and dresses into my largest packing cube. I packed all my bathing suits, underwear, and bras into another packing cube, and my last one had all my shirts, socks, and misc items. After packing, I felt so accomplished and proud of myself for getting everything so organized. Rolling my clothes didn’t sound like it would be of much help, but it definitely helped save space.
The best way to pack for 2 weeks away is to not over pack, buy a good quality carry on luggage, and roll your clothes!