9 Days – 1 Carry-On

9 DAYS – 1 CARRY-ON

I used to be resolute in my right to have ‘options’ and ‘variety’ for my every changing outfit needs on holidays. My theory was, I’m on vacation, I shouldn’t have to sacrifice style for space. Even just a couple years ago I would have shamelessly packed half my closet into a giant suitcase if I was going on a 9 day trip. But this time I decided I would challenge myself to bring only what could fit in my weekender and my leather tote. Surely with all the capsule closet experience I’ve acquired and my year-long mission devoted to a ‘Less is More’ philosophy, I can manage to curate a suitcase that will suit my needs for 9 days of style satisfaction, right?

Style Bee - Packing

I had all kinds of grand intentions to plan out every outfit ahead of time and take photos for inspiration but of course, the week before a holiday is never abundant with free time. Instead at 9:00 the night before I found myself staring at an empty bag and wondering what to do. So I asked myself a few key questions:

1. What’s the weather supposed to be? Luckily the weather was looking consistently mild and sunny (about 24 degrees).

2. What activities are on the itinerary? Our plans involved mostly days trips to beaches, exploring neighbourhoods on foot and a couple road trip adventures, without any particularly dressy events. This meant I could keep the overall vibe relaxed but put together. Basically I knew I’d want to be comfortable at all times.

3. What items do I know I’ll want to wear for sure? My Summer Foundation closet was SO useful for this step as I already had a bunch of outfit ideas and all the items I’d need to put them together. I stuck to highly interchangeable items in the same colour palette (black, white, striped, neutral and denim) and left out anything that was too precious or prone to wrinkling. Thanks to a tip from a reader I also had this post in the back of my mind when I was decided what would make the cut.

So with the answers to those three questions in mind, this is what I brought with me! 

Style Bee - Packing

TRAVEL TOTE

Before I completely commit to what clothes are coming with me I like to pull together my main bag, which in almost every case in the last two years has been my Cuyana Tote. It is just the perfect carry-all for traveling and always looks chic. It’s also held up incredibly well to all the use it’s had, I mean just look at that leather! For this trip I brought the usual necessities and to save room in my bag I wore my hat on the plane.

Magazines (PorterCereal) || Wallet (Primecut) || Passport || Pen (Cross) || iPhone (Wallflower Design) || Ear buds (Happy Plugs) || Watch (Daniel Wellington) || Sunnies (Warby Parker) || Glasses (Warby Parker) || Lipstick (Smashbox)


Style Bee - Packing

TRAVEL CASE | BEAUTY

I keep my make-up routine extra basic for travel. To be honest, I kind of hate doing my make-up, even on a typical day and when I’m on vacation it’s even lower on my list of what I’d like to be doing. This was all I brought with the exception of a lipstick and lip balm in my purse.

Hypnose Mascara || Shu Emura Eyelash Curler || Anastasia Brow Pencil || Bite Lipstick Duo || NARS Blush || Naked Palette || Smashbox BB Cream || Clarins BB Cream (I blend the two) || Clarins Concealer || Burt’s Bees Lip Gloss (my fave!) || Clinique Shadow Brush || Bobbi Brown Blush Brush


Style Bee - Packing

TRAVEL CASE | SKINCARE

My skin tends to throw a total hissy fit whenever I travel. Maybe it’s the stress involved or the change in climates or a combination of that and bad luck but I just can’t seem to avoid it. I try my best to maintain my usual skincare routine when I’m traveling and just accept that it might not be perfect.

Face wash, Exfoliator + Moisturizer (all Origins) || Shampoo || Simple Cleansing Wipes (life savers!) || Eye brightener (Benefit) || Roll On Perfume (No.7 by Province Apothecary) || Deodorant || Contact lenses || Electric Toothbrush (Philips) || Hair Brush (not pictured) || Dry Shampoo (such a life saver! Not carry-on safe though.)


Style Bee - Packing

CARRY-ON ITEMS

I bought the Everlane Weekender a couple years ago when I knew I’d be doing a lot of short trips and it’s been an excellent travel companion. It’s it surprisingly roomy and yet it slides effortlessly into the ‘carry-on size check’ stations at the airport and tucks into the overhead bins without a problem. The first thing anyone says when they see it’s all I’ve brought is, ‘Wow, you packed so light!”.

What I brought to wear (see outfits for sources): 

  • 10 Tops
  • 1 Sweater
  • 1 Denim Jacket
  • 4 Dresses
  • 3 Pants
  • 1 Shorts
  • 3 Shoes (2 flat + 1 Platform)
  • 2 Swimsuits (1 full + 1 two-piece)

Accessories:

1 Cross body bag (similar here) || 1 Black tote (Cuyana or Madewell) || 1 Long Gold Necklace (Another Feather) || 1 Statement Necklace (BIKO) || 1 Dainty Necklace (Morning Ritual) || Vintage gold bracelet || Gold bangle (Laite Atelier) || Watch (Daniel Wellington) || Straw Hat (Janessa Leone) || Scarf (Blockshop)


OUTFITS

Style Bee - Packing

Style Bee - Packing

Day 1

On the Plane (I wore all my bulkiest items): Top old Zara | Hat Janessa Leone | Flares Madewell | Clogs s/o Rachel Comey (similar here and here) | Denim Jacket (not pictured) Rag & Bone | Accessories (see above)

Day: Dress Everlane (long sleeve option) | Sandals old Zara | Hat Janessa Leone | Accessories (see above)

Night: Top s/o Elizabeth Suzann | Pants Elizabeth Suzann | Clogs s/o Rachel Comey (similar here and here) | Accessories (see above)


Style Bee - Packing

Day 2

All Day: Boho Blouse s/o Aritzia (similar here, here and here) | Shorts old J.Crew (similar) | Sandals old Zara | Hat Janessa Leone | Accessories (see above)


Style Bee - Packing

http://elizabethsuzann.com/collections/bottoms/products/cecilia-pant?variant=2560329283

Day 3

Brunch: Top Elizabeth Suzann | Pants Elizabeth Suzann | Sandals old Zara | Accessories (see above)

Beach: Hat Janessa Leone | Black dress ASOS | Swimsuit old (similar here and here) | Sandals old Zara | Accessories (see above)


Style Bee - Packing

Day 4

All Day: Hat Janessa Leone | Shorts old J.Crew (similar) | Tee Aritzia | Sandals Birkenstock | Accessories (see above)


Style Bee - Packing

Style Bee - Packing

Day 5

All Day: Boho Blouse s/o Aritzia (similar here, here and here) | Jeans Madewell | Sandals old Zara | Accessories (see above)

Swimsuit: Top L*Space | Bottoms Aerie


Style Bee - Packing

Day 6

All Day: Denim Jacket  Rag & Bone | White Sweater Everlane (similar) | Pants Elizabeth Suzann | Sandals Birkenstock | Accessories (see above)


Style Bee - Packing

Style Bee - Packing

Day 7

Day: Denim Jacket  Rag & Bone | Dress Ace & Jig | Sandals old Zara | Accessories (see above)

Night: Crop Top old Elizabeth SuzannPants Elizabeth Suzann | Clogs s/o Rachel Comey (similar here and here)


Style Bee - Packing

Day 8

Morning: Tee s/o Madewell (similar) | Jeans Madewell | Sandals Birkenstock | Accessories (see above)

Evening: Tee s/o Madewell (similar) | Flares Madewell | Clogs s/o Rachel Comey (similar here and here)


Style Bee - Packing

Day 9

All Day: Top old Elizabeth Suzann (solid version) | Pants Elizabeth Suzann | Sandals old Zara | Accessories (see above)


Style Bee - Packing

FLIGHT HOME

All Day: Striped Tee old Joe Fresh (similar) | Hat Janessa Leone | Flares Madewell | Clogs s/o Rachel Comey (similar here and here) | Denim Jacket (not pictured) Rag & Bone | Accessories (see above)


Style Bee - Packing

Handy Extras: Striped Dress s/o Calder Blake | Striped Crop Long Sleeve Tee (old)


So there you have it! All the items I brought and outfits I wore during a 9 day jaunt along the west coast of Canada (technically 10 days if you count the flight home). I must say I never wanted for anything except a slightly warmer coat when we were in Tofino but otherwise I was perfectly happy with my options. If I needed to I could have easily doubled the number of outfits too (although I’d need to do some laundry)! The MVP of the trip was definitely my Elizabeth Suzann black Cecilia Pants, which got a TON of use, held their shape perfectly and never looked worn out once.

I hope this post helps you when it comes time to pack for your next trip or even just gives a little outfit inspo for the weekend!

Do you have any special tips or MVPs when it comes to travel packing? I’d love to know!  

23 thoughts on “9 Days – 1 Carry-On

  1. Lee! Love this post. I’m about to head to Holland for 10 days and want to grab the Elizabeth Suzann pants; do they fit true to size? What size do you wear? Any insight would be great. xx

    1. Hey Jo! That’s so exciting! Holland is on my must visit list for sure. I LOVE the Cecilia Pant for traveling. I bought them ages ago when they had S M L sizing but I got a size S and had to have the waist taken in about an inch. If I were ordering again I’d probably for for a size 2 or 4 (I’m right in between the suggested measurements for those). ES customer service is also really great so I’m sure they could recommend if you give them your hip and waist measurements. They’ll look amazing on you!! Have a fabulous trip! xo

  2. I really love this post – I also have an Everlane Weekender but I’ve only taken it on train trips across England and the Eurostar to Paris (I’m an ex-pat from Toronto who lives in London now). In these instances, they don’t care about the size of the carry on.

    I’m flying to Portugal soon for 5 days and wonder if you have had any issues with it as a carry on from agents at the gates? It looks like it shouldn’t cause a problem, but Europe tends to be more strict about carry on sizes. I’d really love to take the weekender to Lisbon with me and keep it light. I’m tired of dragging a massive suitcase around and this inspired me to pack better.

    Lovely blog 🙂

    Thanks!

    ~Sandra

    1. Hi Sandra! Thanks so much! I haven’t had any issues at all with the Everlane Weekender meeting the size requirements throughout North America (overhead storage restrictions are very strict now). I imagine you’d be totally fine traveling with it in Europe too. It can hold a lot but still maintains a small size and narrow shape, which is great. Have a great time in Portugal! xo

  3. I love everything you have planned and packed. I am also into getting everything into a carryon or weekend bag. The only thing I have trouble with is I always end up with one day of heavy duty hiking. Which means I need hiking shoes and clothes. Have any suggestions for incorporating that into planning/packing?

    1. Thanks! Yes, an additional hiking trip would make it a bit more tricky but I might opt to bring a backpack as my ‘purse’ then just throw my hiking gear in there with my typical purse items. Or you could forgo a couple pieces and just commit to re-wearing an outfit more than once. Hope that helps! xo

  4. Wow, it seems like this capsule approach worked really well for you! I love that you managed to pack light, yet each outfit turned out to be unique and interesting. Great job! I think that the most important thing when packing (apart from what you’ve said about weather and occassions) is to try to stick to one style/colour palette and pack basic items that will be easy to spice up with a few statement pieces.

    http://stylestandpoint.com

    1. Thanks Joanna, the capsule closet approach is totally the way to go for travel! Totally agree about keeping the overall style and colour palette super simple so you can interchange lots of things to make really unique looks. Having some great shoes, a statement hat and some simple jewelry made a big difference. xo

  5. great post! i also tried to pack just one carry one for my 5 day vacation in Greece two weeks ago and it went great. never again heavy suitcases and too many options!

  6. Great post! I think the only thing missing would be a nice lightweight cardigan to layer on for cooler days or evenings. But then I’m partial to knitwear (especially hand knit).

    1. Thanks Agnes! I totally agree that an extra sweater would have really sealed the deal on my options. Tofino was definitely chilly! I’m also very partial to knitwear 🙂 xo

  7. If only I had read this two weeks ago before heading to Australia for a week! Absolutely great post! Its great to see the various combinations you can make with your items.

    Kate
    kateintheclassroom.com

    1. Thanks so much Kate! That’s awesome that you got to visit Australia! I’ve never been but lots of friends have and they’ve all loved it. I’m sure lots of opportunities to pack light are in your future too. xoxo

  8. This was just the push I needed to pack light for my trip to Iceland tomorrow! I’ve got the same Everlane bag, it’s the perfect carry on.

    Eve | closetosimple.com

  9. Hi Lee! I actually try to stick to dresses in the summer since they take up less space (but then I usually have to re-wear). Using this next time for inspiration! Thanks!

    1. Thanks Marisa! Dresses are definitely my #1 go to for summer trips. I opted for lots of separates on this one too because the weather was pretty warm and I knew I’d only be able to wear tops/dresses once before they got grimy from trekking around all day. Xo

  10. Your post came just in time, Lee ?We are going on a 11 day trip to Europe and we do not want to check in luggage!
    Your post is very helpful!
    Have a great weekend!
    Eun Ju

    1. That’s great to hear Eun Ju! I am so desperate to go to Europe! 11 days out of a carry-on is totally doable! Especially at this time of year when the weather is lovely. Have a great weekend and fabulous trip! xox

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