As exciting as traveling can be, it can also be very stressful, especially when it comes to packing. As a lady who loves fashion, deciding what to bring along—and setting reasonable limits for myself—can be particularly difficult. I still find myself struggling not to overpack—not to mention pack things I’ll actually wear.

Usually my packing goes like this: I rush last-minute to throw a bunch of stuff in a huge suitcase. I would decide outfits at the destination according to my mood as if I was home, only to find, when I reach my destination and am all unpacked and ready to change, that I have nothing to wear.

Earlier this year I travelled to London for 4 days. For those days I needed around 8 well put together outfits that would make me look my best. I challenged myself to travel with just a carry-on for the first time in an international trip, and to really think about what I was putting into it. (spoiler: it was a success!). With a well–thought-out plan and clear limits set by my luggage size, I ended up feeling far more satisfied with what I’d brought along than ever before. Also, when I’m forced to work within tight boundaries, I am often more creative and thus better outfits emerge.

PROS OF TRAVELING WITH A CARRY ON:

Saving money: Airlines that charge you for checking your suitcase usually allow 2 complementary personal items on board.

Priority boarding: Some airlines are now rewarding passengers for flying light by allowing them to board before other passengers.

Convenience: You can move around quiet easily, it’s easy to store on a plane, in a small hotel space, and doesn’t take up much space in public transportation.

Personal restrains: If you’re a chronic over-packer (like me), this is a good method to avoid packing extra unnecessary items.

Jessica-Alba-Airport-Outfit
Jessica Alba teaching us how to travel with style.

My Tips

FIGURE OUT HOW YOUR SCHEDULE WILL LOOK LIKE

Are you going to a gala or a fancy dinner? Will you workout while you are away? Then if you want to bring stuff that doesn’t fit any of the occasions just leave it behind.

BRING FULL OUTFITS! NO RANDOM OPTIONS AND NO EXPERIMENTATION

Pre-plan each outfit and have a specific outfit for each specific event. Try to include garments you wore a lot for the last few months and always make you feel confortable regardless being bloated for example.

BUY TRAVEL-SIZED TOILETRIES

This is obvious but many people forget. What I do a lot is exchange my Sephora points for products of brands I love. The reward program gives you mini size skincare and make up products which are ideal for traveling. I also bought the Cool Gear Go-Gear Silicone Travel Containers which are very easy to use and they allow you to take your favorite products with you without taking up half of the carry-on space (another rookie mistake I’ve made).

LIMIT YOURSELF TO FOUR PAIR OF SHOES

Don’t panic, you got this. Depending of your destination these might change but the basics are: sneakers, flats or sandals, heels and ankle boots. This gives you a nice variety and balance. As I said, all depends on the destination. For example my four shoes list for my trip to Paris next week will look like this: running sneakers, urban sneakers, flats and wedge espadrilles, I’ve been super lazy about heels lately and this espadrilles elongate my figure without killing my feet.

LIMIT YOUR PIJAMAS AND GYM CLOTHES

You don’t really need more than one PJ for a week, so stick to one. For gym clothes, limit yourself to two outfits, and bring a small bottle of Woolite to hand-wash them after the workout.

ROLL ALL YOUR CLOTHES

This will make much more space in your suitcase and will leave fewer wrinkles than the usual folding.

Shop For Carry-On Suitcases

Calpak ambeur carry on

Calpak Ambeur carry on, $135 . Available at Urban Outfitters.

Globe Trotter Carry On

Globe Trotter Centenary 19” leather-trimmed fiberboard travel trolley, $2,180. Available at Net-A-Porter.

Bric's Bellagio 21'' Spinner

Bric’s Bellagio 21” Spinner, $550. Available at Neiman Marcus.

Zara Brown Trolley

ZARA brown trolley, $129. Available at Zara.

Hartmann Ratio Classic Deluxe Domestic Carry On copy

Hartmann Ratio Classic Deluxe Domestic Carry On, $600. Available at Bloomingdale’s.