Yes it really is possible to travel light by packing all the outfits you will need for a 10-day trip in carry on luggage! Just imagine the feeling of freedom when you waltz out of the airport without having to wait for your suitcases! It just takes a bit of planning.

Here are some top tips

  1. Don’t think about packing individual items. Think about packing a capsule travel wardrobe and how it will all go together. Stick to a color palette so that everything you pack will go with everything else.
  2. The bulkiest items in your luggage are likely to be your shoes. Take a couple of pairs at most. Wherever you’re going in the world, you can usually get away with a pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers, as you’re likely to be doing a lot of walking!
  3. Wear your bulkiest items to travel in. If you need to bring a pair of boots, then wear them. The same goes for pants and any layers like wraps, cardigans or scarves. Wear your hat too, otherwise it will get squashed in your luggage!
  4. Use compression sacks. Once all your clothing is inside, you simply roll them to squeeze the excess air out. Plus, you can use them to organize your outfits in different bags, so you can find everything much more easily.
  5. If you already have your itinerary planned out, then think about what you will be doing each day and what you will need to wear to do it in.
  6. Use your beach bag as your handbag on the plane.
  7. Choose hard-working pieces that have multiple uses, like beach cover-ups you can wear as tops.

While 10 days worth of outfits can sound like a challenge, it’s definitely doable.

Packing essentials

By getting yourself organized, it’s much easier to pack, and to see exactly how much you are taking with you. Make sure you have the right size case for the cabin. Check with your airline’s guidelines. Treat yourself to a passport holder and some useful tools such as packing cubes, shoe bags and clear cosmetics bags.

Luggage essentials for women over 40 |

Calpak suitcaseAnthropologie passport holderKate Spade luggage tag

Packing tips: luggage organizers|

Yuhan packing cubes – Shoe bags – Lermende clear toiletry bags

To wear on the plane

You want to be comfortable above all, while traveling, but also to look stylish. After all, you never know when that upgrade to first class might come calling! For more ideas on what to wear on a plane journey, check out Cynthia’s guide to fashionable travel clothes that are stylish AND comfortable!

Packing tips: 10 days in a carry-on bag |

Caslon boyfriend chinos – Boden yellow cardigan  – Vince Camuto offset strip top – Halogen panama hat – Tommy Bahama tote – Earth slip-on sneaker

To pack in your suitcase

Think about your pieces as outfits rather than separate pieces. Roll your pants to fit them in, and pack more tops than bottoms! Here, I’ve assumed you’re heading on a trip which incorporates some beach time with some sight-seeing, but the same principles hold true wherever you’re going.

This capsule features neutrals, but then adds in some blues, reds and yellows. Plus, don’t forget, you have the clothes you traveled in. With 2 dresses and 8 tops, that definitely gives you 10 outfits. There is a reversible swimsuit, so it looks as if you brought 2! Plus a bikini. Adding a couple of statement necklaces into your case won’t take up much room, but will allow you to create different looks, taking you from day to night.


Chic tops for travel |

Lucky Brand twist front teeVince Camuto linen top – Karen Kane tassel top – Foxcroft multi tunic

Packing tips: 10 days in a carry-on bag |

Anne Klein midi dress – J. Crew Shirt dress – Tommy Bahama reversible swimsuit – Sam Edelman cut out sandals

Packing tips: summer essentials |

Tommy Bahama bikini top – Tommy Bahama bikini bottom – Stella and Ruby chiffon necklace – Serefina mixed media necklace –  Sole Society cossbody bag – Quay Australia sunglasses

Packing tips: stylish trouser for travel |

Paige shorts – Moon River crop tie pants – Topshop crop trousers

Packing tips: 10 days in a carry-on bag |

Ming Wang mixed media top – Ming Wang contrast trim tunic – Nic and Zoe linen tunic – Ming Wang tunic blouse

Do you always check-in your luggage, or do you like traveling light? What are your packing tips?

Author bio: Liz Hands is a fashion journalist and stylist from the UK who has styled fashion shoots for newspapers, magazines and high-end clients including 5* hotels and BMW. She’s now happiest either blogging about style, or donning her favorite Barbour jacket and Brogini boots for a hack out on

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Packing tips: 10 days in a carry-on bag |