How To Pack a Carry-On

Packing for a weekend getaway made simple by a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule. 

Honestly, packing is one of my most stressful pre-trip events. Because it gives me so much anxiety, I inevitably leave it for as last minute as possible, often over-packing late into the night before my early trip time. I wake up exhausted and irritable and invariably end up on my trip without the things I actually would want or need. I discovered this post years ago, didn't think too much about it, and recently found it again. Since this month is so inspired by travel (and I'm most anxious about the various trips), I wanted to break it down and chat about the idea in my own way. Read on for the best rule for packing your carry-on and banishing packing-anxiety for good...

The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Rule:

5 Tops

Think about your most versatile favorites, and incorporate 5 tops into your packing list. This includes any outerwear, so pack something that gets you onto the plane (or into the chilly car) and to your destination in style and comfort. My go-to tops include a silk blouse, black t-shirt, soft pullover (sunburn and AC don't mix too well), off the shoulder blouse, and a workout shirt I love for both yoga/running and going out. 

4 Bottoms

Time to toss in 4 bottoms - this includes shorts, skirts, pants, etc. Again, flexible options are your best friend here. This weekend my four include a pair of cutoffs, a green maxi skirt, a pair of white palazzo pants, and my favorite black pants. 

3 Dresses/Rompers

Honestly, I could pack for a whole weekend in just this section. Picking basics suiting the mood of your trip but not strikingly noticeable is key. Since these limit mixing and matching options as well as them being all you'll wear, make sure they match your accessories. I'll be packing my black romper with lace detailing, my black slip dress, and a simple black cotton romper. 

3 Pairs of Shoes

Here you must pick your most wearable, already broken in, shoes. In my opinion, flats are better than heels when traveling. I'll be taking my flip flops, lace up sandals, and a pair of sneakers. 

2 Bags

For bags, I suggest taking one you'll use for travel, like a backpack or tote, which transitions nicely for any longer day trips as well as a smaller clutch-sized bag for going out or when you just need/want the essentials. Make sure these match or compliment your clothing choices and shoes, as you'll only have these two options. I'll be taking my computer and chargers in my blue tote bag and tossing in my favorite pink-orange clutch for a fun infusion of color. 

2 Bathing Suits

Clearly for a more tropical destination (it is summer traveling for us here), you really don't need more than two. I suggest one bikini and a one-piece, however I'll be traveling with two one-pieces, because I'm obsessed with their design and want to get all the wear time I can with them. 

1 Hat, Watch, & Sunnies

How often do we take several of each of these and only wear one (or none) the whole trip? After the sunburn I got last week, I'm bringing a wide-brimmed hat for the pool, a watch I recently picked up and am trying to get into the habit of wearing, and my favorite aviators since I wear them 99% of the time. 

Unlimited Undies, Socks, and Jewelry

For these, feel free to pack as many as you can fit in your carry on. I usually put socks into my sneakers, roll my undergarments into the side, and place my jewelry in small bags and place them on top of my clothes.

+ I'm a notorious over packer. This rule is saving my life. What about you?