How to Pack For a Week-long Vacation In a Carry-on

I’m sure I’m not alone here when I say that I’ve been thinking about Spring Break since the spring semester began. I’ve had my plans made for a few months now, but I am a planner.  I’ll be headed to London, England for a week.  My trip only being a couple weeks away got me thinking though, how do you fit a week’s vacation worth of clothes in one carry-on bag?  

As a college student, there’s no way I’m paying to check my bag.  And for those of you not flying, it’s always great to be able to save space in the car as your likely headed out with friends and family.  However, when you’re on vacation for a week, you need lots of stuff (or maybe that’s just me?).

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My best piece of advice is to pack a capsule wardrobe.  This means that you could have nine pieces of clothing that make up nine outfits, which is plenty for spring break.  When creating the capsule wardrobe make sure all of the pieces are from the same color family so they all go together (like white, gray, and black).  For shoes I would say to try and stick to 3 pairs max.  I’ll be wearing boots on the plane and packing a pair of tennis shoes and flats (For the beach, swap out the boots for sandals/flip flops).  In the capsule wardrobe I recommend including: 

  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • A skirt or dress
  • A sweater/long sleeve top
  • 3 shirts
  • 2 jackets

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This is a simple wardrobe that allows for you to mix and match items to create different looks.  And if you’re headed to the beach, you’ll still have room to throw in swimsuits and swap out jeans for shorts.  But you should still bring jackets because it often gets cold at night.  For my colder weather trip, I’ll wear a big jacket and scarf on the plane to round out the wardrobe and will throw in some tights and more long-sleeve tops.  

Side note: always wear your heavier jackets (if needed) and scarves on the plane.  The scarf will also double as a pillow for sleeping.  

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With this minimalist wardrobe that still allows you to create more outfits than you need, you’ll be ready to head out for vacation no matter where your destination is.  Once midterms are over, it’ll be time to get those swimsuits (or in my case, coats) out and get ready to go!