How To Avoid Overpacking For Your Next Vacation

How To Avoid Overpacking

I’ve received quite a few requests for this post, so here it is! How to avoid overpacking for a trip. I’ve done a month long trip through Europe with one carry-on suitcase, I am currently on a three month trip with that same carry-on suitcase and a backpack. Needless to say, I’ve gotten this minimalist packing approach down to a science. In this article, I’ll share what exactly to pack with you for a trip. Whether that is a week long or a month long. If you are willing, it can be done with two carry-ons. Are you ready? Let’s go!

The First Aid Kit

If you are venturing overseas, this is essential part of packing that most people skip. You never know if the country you are visiting will carry the exact medication or brands you are use to. Avoid any issues by packing what you typically need daily. This may look like daily medication and vitamins. I personally make sure I have some sort of advil or asprin for pain, pepto bismol, and bandaids. Also, any feminine products that you normally use. If you are gone for a month or longer, bring supplies! If you are prone to certain illnesses, bring those supplies as well. For instance, I tend to get ear acks after swimming, so I bring medicine for it with me. If you are prone to soar throats, UTIs or yeast infections- bring what you need. Believe me, you don’t want to try to spend hours translating drugs in a local pharmacy overseas.

Laslty, I pack ear plugs and sleep aid in case the place I am staying at happens to be nosier than expected.

Beauty Products

So you got a doc kit for meds, now for beauty. Keep it minimal if you can. I pack one of each:

  • Sunscreen (really loving Supergoop CC Cream it dubs as a light foundation as well)
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Bronzer
  • Eye Palette that includes a Highlighter
  • Mascara
  • Setting Powder
  • Moisturizer
  • Makeup Brushes and Hair Brush
  • Hair Straightener
  • Nail clipper

Shop the exact items I pack below:


Here is the biggest tip in saving space. I wear a pair of sneakers on the plane. These are the shoes I will be wearing the majority of the trip. They are comfortable and capable of walking long distance. The second pair I place in my carry on is often sandals or a nicer pair of shoes if I am heading somewhere cold. That’s it! If I have room, I’ll pack a pair of low heels, but honestly when do you ever wear heels on vacation? It’s often sneaker or sandals. PS, there are some very pretty sandals at Aldo that can dub for going out shoes.

On my trip with my backpack on and my roller suitcase ready to check in.

From this point on everything I pack MUST match my shoes. This significantly narrows down clothing options. I only have two pairs of shoes to wear, and not everything in my closet is going to match those two options. So I begin with pants, I wear a comfy loose pair on the plane and then pack one to three more pairs in my carry on depending the length of the trip. For the month long trip, I only had two pairs of pants. For this trip ( 3 months) I have 4 pairs total. They each range in shape, fits, and colors. Add in skirts instead of pants if you’re more of a dress or skirt person! For tops, it’s a science. I have one long sleeve, one short sleeve, two quarter length, and two tank tops. 6 shirts total, but again this is for three months. You can probably get away with four tops total. The different styles gives options and can mix and match with the pants to give different looks. I then throw in either a maxi dress or a jumpsuit to give another complete look.

Don’t forget pjs and sportswear! I always pack a pair of yoga pants, a short sleeve shirt, and a sports bra just in case. For PJs, I often wear the above and rarely do I actually use them to work out. If I do go for a run, I just simply wash them before using them for bed.

For outerwear or layers. I typically pack one sweatshirt, sweater, and for this trip a blazer. Wear one of the above on the plane with you. I also include a light or heavy jacket that I wear on the plane too. If you are heading to an area that receives a lot of rain, pack a light windbreaker or raincoat. I also included one of those on this trip.

Lastly, I also pack one small/medium size cross body purse.

Complete Looks

I make sure each pieces goes well together, the majority of the time the shirts or jeans aren’t heavily decorated in order to match easily. I also make sure one of the looks I have is dressy enough for a night out. That could mean a lacy tank top, black skinny jeans and a blazer. If there are certain events I know I’ll be attending, I make sure I am covered for each event.


Lastly, the electronics I take with me. I bring my laptop and phone, plus a battery pack and chargers. These go into my backpack. I have learned to travel with noise cancelling headphones and it has been a lifesaver. Again this fits into the backpack.

That’s it! I hope this helps you on your future trips. Also, find a great roller suitcase that is reliable. Mine is DVF Studio that I found on a whim at TJ Maxx. Pro tip, make sure you can carry your suitcase as well! There may be times when traveling that you’ll have to lift your bag up or down stairs.


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