How to pack carry on luggage

As I sat in the departure lounge waiting for my flight to Vanuatu, I started chatting to a couple in their mid 30’s who were heading to the same destination. I was going for six days. They were going for seven. After about a half hour of conversation, we started sharing travel stories and the subject came around to what things we always travelled with. They had a nice long list of the essentials that most of us would take away on an overseas trip however, the quantity of what they were taking on their trip to Vanuatu blew me away. Fresh underwear for every day. A new t-shirt for every day. One pair of long pants, two pairs of shorts, two skirts (for the woman), five pairs of shoes! Seven days. 20kgs each! Plus they had their hand luggage.

I didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or cocky as I sat there with my one bag that weighed just over 5kgs that had everything I needed for six days. Okay, I hear you say, you’re not into fashion and fancy things plus I wasn’t staying in a resort so expectations of what to wear may have been different. But I was staying in a 3-star hotel and did want to be comfortable as well as look nice.

Call me a minimalist. Or call me practical. Either way, I thought I’d take a pic of what I took away on a basic six day trip to Vanuatu. Knowing the weather would be hot and humid so anything I washed out in the evening and hung over the shower rail would be dry in the morning helps with planning.

My little carry on by One Planet is called the ‘Wing-it’ although mine is an older version of the one you can buy online here.

To understand how I can travel with so little, I thought I’d make a list that puts things into perspective. Here goes…..

I wore on the plane:

  • 1 x briefs
  • 1 x bra
  • 1 x 3/4 pants
  • 1 x nice black top
  • 1 x flat sandals
  • 1 x lightweight cardigan

This is a list of the clothes I took in my One Planet Wing-It carry on pack:

  • 2 x briefs
  • 1 x bra
  • 1 x short sleeved tee
  • 1 x sleeveless tee
  • 1 x shorts
  • 1 x skirt
  • 1 blue lightweight shirt (wore most days with everything)
  • 1 x pair of birkis
  • 1 x swimsuit

Here is a list of other items I took (picture shows each item):

  1. Surface Pro computer and cord (left mouse at home) all in a One Planet laptop cover which frankly is the best I’ve ever used. You can view it here. Fits perfectly in both my Knockabout pack but also my carryon
  2. One Planet Wing-It carry on bag
  3. Two packing cells
  4. Swimsuit
  5. Skirt
  6. Shorts
  7. Shirt
  8. Short sleeve t-shirt
  9. Sleeveless t-shirt
  10. Hairbrush
  11. Comb
  12. Birkis
  13. Medication
  14. Bra
  15. Briefs
  16. Necklace
  17. Toothbrush
  18. Emery board
  19. Lip balm
  20. Cotton buds
  21. Hair tye
  22. Scarf
  23. Sharpie and a ballpoint pen (for filling in those Immigration Cards)
  24. Spork
  25. Retainer
  26. Sunglasses
  27. Spare glasses
  28. Headphones in case
  29. Deodorant
  30. Toothpaste
  31. Earplugs
  32. My cute little Tupperware container of chargers and cords which you can see here on another post which even now is a little outdated as I’ve taken away and added a few items like a small portable juice pack. It now includes a small purple/black container for my earbuds [one for iPhone 7+ and one for computer – unfortunately, different jacks]
  33. Shampoo, Conditioner, Moisturiser
  34. Tote bag
  35. Purse
  36. Frank Green water bottle
  37. Hair straightener – yes guilty as charged. My hair is crazy in the humidity
  38. iPhone 7+ (not in the photo because that’s how I took the photo)
  39. Reuseable tote bag (not pictured because it was holding my fruit in the fridge)

I tend to not wear any jewellery other than my everyday earrings, nose ring and necklace that I’ve worn for yonks. I also didn’t bring a sunhat.

That’s it, folks. Pretty simple. Most clothes I wear are black, lightweight, easy to wash and don’t need ironing. A scarf or summer shirt adds colour to the basics. All of this in one bag which meant I was on and off planes quickly and easily. No struggling with a suitcase and a daypack and a handbag.

On the return trip, I even had space for my two bottles of duty-free spirits.

Just a note that I do like to bring items that are not disposable and fortunately brought my tote bag because in Vanuatu they charge for a plastic bag. They also have no plastic straws and very little takeaway food rubbish or plastic water bottles as rubbish in the streets. I was impressed.

This works for me and may not work for everyone but I’d love to hear about what you always take away with you.


What are your experiences of using just carryon luggage? How has it worked? Or not worked? Any up and downsides?

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