If you’re anything like me, packing everything in a carry-on is the only way to travel. While it would be ideal to opt for a larger check-in suitcase, I prefer not to play a game of Russian roulette and risk an airline losing my luggage. There are ways to remedy such situations, especially if you possess a travel credit card with baggage insurance, such as American Express Gold and Capital One Venture X. That being said, it remains inconvenient, and I simply prefer having everything close to me.
The only time I ever check in my bag is when I visit Asian countries like Malaysia or my second home, Taiwan, because shopping is an absolute must, and it’s easy to exceed the weight limit for carry-on luggage. Packing can be stressful, but with some planning and smart packing strategies, you can fit everything you need into a carry-on and avoid the hassle of checking a bag. In this article, I’ll go over what I typically pack in my carry-on that can last me up to two weeks.
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When I’m traveling, my goal is to travel as lightly as possible while ensuring I have all my essentials. As a professional photographer and travel content creator, I require a camera bag that is compact, lightweight and offers good back support. Additionally, it should provide space for items such as sweaters, toiletries, and more. To accommodate all my belongings, I utilize Brevite’s Jumper backpack as my personal item, paired with Away’s “The Bigger Carry-on.” Not all carry-on suitcases are created equal. Look for a bag that meets the size requirements for the majority of airlines.
Before you start packing, make a list of everything you need to bring. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you don’t forget anything important. Consider the climate, activities, and events you’ll be participating in during your trip, and pack accordingly. Typically, I use the same list as my packing foundation and tweak it according to the destination I’m going to. I include the following categories in my packing list:
I pack all my items into compression packing cubes because they condense everything and can expand if necessary. Packing cubes are a game-changer when it comes to packing efficiently. They allow you to separate your clothes and other items into smaller, more manageable sections and keep everything organized. More recently, I’ve introduced an extra layer of protection by wrapping each packing cube in a vacuum bag. This precaution became necessary during my Copenhagen trip. I was passing through Paris when there was a bed bug infestation, with reported spottings at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Yikes!
Depending on where you’re going, whether a domestic trip or international, some essentials are a must for either of them. Obviously, for international trips, a passport is a must. Domestic just need government ID like a driver’s license. Along with a few other items in my wallet, I keep these in a side pocket in my personal bag and with me at all times.
Other items that I usually carry on me include sunglasses, tissues, and chapstick. A pen is a must, especially for international trips in case you are handed a customs form on the plane. I can’t tell you how many times I was asking everyone sitting around me to borrow their pen after they were done using it!
Toiletries are a very personal choice, so I don’t think I need to go through any specifics, but some obvious things to bring are a toothbrush, toothpaste, a tongue scraper, and a hairbrush. I try to keep skincare minimal, down to 4 or 5 steps. Additionally, I bring deodorant and perfume. No one’s trying to smell nasty!
For electronics, while many consider an essential, I try to limit the number I bring as the weight can add up. One feature I appreciate about Away’s suitcases is the pocket designed for their power bank. However, if you carry it on, you need to take the battery out and keep it in your personal bag. I also prefer using Anker’s power banks because they are more compact.
I avoid traveling with a laptop for two main reasons. Firstly, bringing it through airport security, despite having TSA-Precheck, stresses me out for potential theft. Secondly, it adds unnecessary weight. Moreover, I wouldn’t be able to bring a laptop even if I wanted to because I no longer own one lol; I only have a desktop. The power and capacity I require for post-processing photos and videos are better suited to my desktop. Other electronics I bring include my Bose in-ear headphones with the regular auxiliary plugin. Additionally, I bring Aputure’s MC mini LED light for content creation purposes, although I often end up not using it.
I’ve previously delved into the contents of my camera bag. Specifically for travel, the essentials include one camera body, my drone, camera gear accessories like filters, and a device to hold up my phone. While I often travel with a companion, in instances where I’m alone, I need the capability to capture content independently. Therefore, I also bring a tripod. I used to carry my travel tripod by 3-Legged Thing, but I found it occupied too much space. Additionally, there have been numerous occasions where I was asked to put away my tripod. Consequently, I bought a mini tripod from Neewer that I now carry everywhere with me. It’s inconspicuous and I’ve encountered much fewer issues with it, although I wish it were slightly taller. It effectively gets the job done!
When preparing for a trip, whether it’s a short or extended stay, it’s crucial to bring versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched. As much as I want to be a fashion girly, comfort always wins out! Aim for a mix of comfort, style, and versatility to maximize your travel wardrobe.
This should give you an idea of what to pack for a trip up to two weeks. The key is don’t overpack. It can be tempting to pack everything you think you might need but resist the urge. You’ll likely find that you don’t need as many clothes or other items as you thought, and packing too much will just take up valuable space in your carry-on. Some people might not like this part, but what ends up happening is that re-wearing clothes happens more often than not. If you’re able to be somewhere with a laundry machine, all the better. If that’s not feasible, well, now you know why I pack perfume!
Many times when I travel, especially internationally, I ALWAYS get supplemental travel insurance to the coverage I have from my travel credit cards. The main reason is for medical purposes because if something happens while overseas, you don’t want to be SOL or stuck with some crazy bill. It’s not expensive and gives peace of mind to know medical expenses are covered should any negative situation happen. I typically shop around insurance companies to compare prices, but have been going with Safety Wing’s Nomad Insurance more and more.
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