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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

How I Pack Small

As you're reading this, I'm on my first trip of 2022. We'll be gone for 4 days and I challenged myself to pack everything in a small carry-on* I bought for solo trips. I've been carefully choosing our travel wardrobe over the last few weeks. The weather will be a mix of warm, cool, and possibly cold, so I knew I needed to do some strategic planning. 

I'm on my first trip of 2022. We'll be gone for 4 days and I challenged myself to pack everything in a small carry-on I bought for solo trips.

As always, I chose mix-and-match separates, so we would only need two pair of pants and 4 shirts apiece. I'll also be bringing along pieces to layer, but wearing them on the plane, like my coat and an athletic jacket. Eric will have a cardigan and a coat. We will be doing many outdoor activities, so having the appropriate clothing for the weather is very important.

Here's Eric's selection: an extra pair of pants, 3 short-sleeve shirts, a long-sleeve shirt, and an undershirt for layering. Not shown: 4 pair of socks and 5 pair of underwear (I always like to have one extra). The underwear are in the teal packing cube with mine that you can see at the top of the picture.

My selection: pajamas (joggers and a t-shirt), a pair of stretchy jeggings, 3 short-sleeve tops, and a long-sleeve top that can layer over everything else if need-be. Not shown, 5 pair of underwear and a bra.

I rolled and packed everything into a big packing cube and then filled in the weird spaces around the frame in the bottom of the bag with socks and my pajamas. This gives us a flat packing surface.

I've also packed our swim suits and appropriate footwear: flip flops for Eric and PFG deck shoes for me. Both are great for  going down to the lobby, quick trips tot he store, and walking around by the pool. 

I tried to pack my shoes on top, and while they fit, they fit better in the bottom, so I adjusted everything and made sure the bag still zipped closed. It did, and then there was room on top for our glasses case.

My original plan was to get my regular toiletry bag into the main part of the bag, but it turns out it didn't fit at all, even with all the paring down I did and the travel sizes I used. 

I have, in the past, just put it in my personal item, but instead, I transferred everything we would need into this smaller Travelon two-part toiletry bag that has one side for liquids and one for non-liquids. Insted of taking up space in my tote that will be mostly my laptop, I came up with a creative solution for making it fit in this small bag. I left it open and slid it right into the front pocket. It added very little to the profile.

This left just enough space for my flat iron, and any last-minute items can go in the free space of the zipper slip pocket. 

So, now you probably want to know what's in my tote. If you've seen my Instagram Stories, you will have seen what's in there, but let's do a little deep dive. (This all fits in that Timbuk2 Scholar tote, which is out of stock right now, but I highly recommend their other bags.)

Here's everything laid out:

  • laptop with charging cord & HDMI cable
  • chargers and charging cables in blue bag
  • bluetooth headphones
  • magazines
  • backup battery
  • snacks!
  • wrap to use as a scarf or blanket or sarong
  • masks (I will also have hand sanitizer in my bag)
  • reusable water bottle

My laptop takes up most of the bag, but I already knew that was going to be the case. I bring it along to do work, check emails, make reservations and watch shows and movies (I can hook it up to the TV with the HDMI cable, so we can all watch it bigger.) After I took this picture, I shoved my wrap down to the bottom of the bag, added a packable bag, in case we bring home anything that we didn't leave with, and resituated my bag of snacks and my bag of popcorn. The space I made with the wrap and laptop bag ensures that none of these things get crushed.

This bag has all the pockets and I love it. The profile is slim and it also has these stow-away backpack straps. Because we'll be on the plane, I wanted to make sure I had KN95 masks with me for all three of us (me, my mom, and Eric). This is a great place to stow them where I can get to them easily at the airport, where we can switch out our cloth masks before we board the plane. 

Also, remember, a lot of airlines, depending on who and where you fly, will not allow passengers to wear cloth masks, so always make sure you have some disposable ones on you. These masks are recyclable, so when you're finished with them, you put them back in the bag and return them to the company. I like the patterns, but you can get solid colors, too.

Like I said, this tote has pockets. My electronics bag goes in the front, for easy access. I'll be able to put pens and any necessary paperwork in the bottom pocket. And my reusable water bottle has a pocket of its own on the side, so it's not taking up valuable inside space, and it's always on hand.

One small bag for the overhead and one smaller bag for under the seat. Now when we deplane, we'll be ready to go right from the gate. We can quickly go pick up our rental car and get out of the airport. Land and leave. That's exactly how I like my trips to go.

Do you have any trips planned for 2022?

*While this bag is out of stock at Travelon, I can recommend this one on Amazon as a substitute. Neither will fit under the middle seat though. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that may result in me being monetarily compensated if you make purchases through them. Thanks in advance, as it allows me to keep this blog running. 

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