18 May 2023

15 days in a carry on! So … what’s the trick?

What’s the trick? Spanx AirEssentials jumpsuit | Schutz sandals | White suitcase | Chloe tote | Rails ecru denim jacket

15 days in a carry on! So … what’s the trick?

… btw, no one thought I could do it 😂

Last summer, my middle son Jack and I went on the trip of a lifetime for 15 days. Jack had just graduated from Oregon State University, and two days later we were off to London! Since Heathrow had made the news with record numbers of lost luggage, I decided not to take any chances. So, I decided to squish all my clothes into a carry on 😳 Even my son couldn’t understand why, and he was quick to tell me I did not have overflow rights in his suitcase — hah! In fact, even I can’t actually believe I did it. If you’d like to find out how to pack for a 15-day trip and fit it all into a carry on, keep reading to learn about the trick!

Today’s post is about what to pack for a 15 day trip to Europe (or anywhere you might be traveling this summer that’s not 100% tropical). This includes a capital (or major city) and also a visit to a coast (in our case, the Amalfi Coast in Italy). For packing inspo, I selected pieces from my recent capsule wardrobe boards (see them here). I’m also sharing a list of items to take, outfit ideas, and how you can get it all into one carry on!

Full disclosure: I’m not a packing expert, and there were some things that should have stayed behind. But, that’s what happens when you pack the night before and don’t take the time to think through every outfit 😂  I’m just like many of you — figuring it out as I go. Hopefully, the tips below will help you plan and pack. Happy travels! 🥂


The very best travel day outfit

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

For long airplane trips: I always wear either these leggings or Vuori joggers. But for my next trip, I’m trying the Frame Jetset flare pants. I’ve been reading about them for months, and the reviews are amazing! Of course, I’m always looking for good luggage, and I love this new blue suitcase. I’m justifying the purchase since it will be easy to spot in baggage claim. Then I went down a blue route, and spotted this Lululemon belt bag (the best) and this travel jewelry case (very useful). Both are new and perfect for trips.

If you tend to get cold, layer up with this J.Crew cardigan and this lightweight trench. This way, you’ll have a few warmer pieces for chilly nights! Layering is a great trick for putting several items together that make good outfits, but that you can also wear separately. Finally, these Adidas Samba sneakers keep everything looking cool, and you can wear them with dresses too.


Here’s the trick …

And the trick is (drumroll please) … Compression packing cubes! I decided to try them last year, and even my skeptical engineering brain son agreed: they’re amazing! (There packing cubes below are the exact ones my family has). As a matter of fact, there’s no way I could have fit everything in a carry on without them. If you haven’t tried them, you should consider picking some up asap. Also, the Beis Weekender is a travel staple, and the trick there is to not overpack it so it can squish under the seat. I also purchased the Apple Air Tag, and keep it in my cosmetics case so I know where my bags are at all times 🙂


Okay, what’s in the carry on?

This all fit, thanks to compression packing cubes

Top row: Cashmere cardigan | Black shirtDenim jacket | Blue top | Floral cotton camiStriped tank | Tan sweater tank | White dress | Stripe dress | Black dress

Accessories: Black sandal | Cork sandal | MZ Wallace quilted bag | Basket bag | Prada raffia tote | Packable hat | Bracelet

Bottom row: Pareo | Swimsuit | Denim shorts | White tank | Green dress | Red print dress | Black linen pants | Faded denim | White jeans


Outfit inspo – daytime dresses


Left: Green dress | White cardigan | Sunglasses | Prada tote | Sneakers | Right: White dress | Prada tote | Chloe sandals | Denim jacket | Packable hat | Bracelet

Raffia accessories are the hottest trend this summer, and you can find a bag/tote at any price point. Plus they go with everything! I adore this green ALC dress – it runs a little roomy so size down. I’ve included cardigans on lots of boards, and the idea is to throw them over your shoulders – instead of actually wearing them!!


Summer denim


Left: Xirena top | Faded denim | Cardigan | Bracelet | Prada tote | Sandals | Right: Blue shirt | AGOLDE denim shorts | Sneakers | Bucket bag | Cardigan | Bracelet

Lightweight denim is perfect for warmer days, and the flare jeans above are thin for packing, and the flare style is super stylish. As for denim shorts, the AGOLDE Parker short is a best seller – it’s a little loose, and everyone loves them. For an easy bag to pack, try the MZ Wallace bucket bag. It’s perfect for travel, and it comes with three straps that completely switch up the look.


Happy hour 🥂


Left: Cardigan | Slip dress | Bucket bag, similar | Sandals | Earrings | Right: Stripe top | Linen flowy pants | Cardigan | Shell bracelet | Prada tote | Sandals

The J.Crew slip dress is very flattering since it’s cut on the bias. The color options are all so good, and I love the slightly wider strap. I purchased the petite version, and no hemming was needed! Longer trouser pants are super stylish this season, and this pair can be worn for happy hour, a casual beach day and any other daytime activity you might be doing. They’re also available in petite sizes.


Beach day ☀️


Left: Swimsuit | Pareo | Sandals | Raffia tote | Bracelet | Right: Hoodie and matching skirt | Tank top | Leggings | Baseball hat | Bucket bag | Sneakers

These days every vacation needs a swimsuit option and a workout option. Thankfully these pieces pack really light! Although the workout pieces weren’t included on the above board, I did test to see if they fit with everything – and they did!


Evening dinners


Left: Cardigan | Red dress | Sandals | Bracelet | Bucket bag | Right: Oversized shirt | Dress | Sandals | Vacation perfume | Bucket bag, similar

All the dresses on the board are so easy to pack and they hardly take any room! I love the black Norma Kamali one – it’s so versatile and super comfortable. If you had to skip a dress, the red print above could be left behind, but since I loved it on the style board, I decided to keep it 🙂


White jeans


Left: Cardigan | Tan sweater tank | White jeans | Sneakers | Bucket bag | EarringsRight: Denim jacket | Stripe tank | White jeans | Bracelet | Sandals | Bucket bag White jeans always go on my vacation, and I try and not worry about them getting dirty. They go with everything, and are perfect for summer! Add your favorite denim jacket or cardigan for extra warmth.


Cooler weather options


Left: Cardigan | ATM T-shirt | Jetset pants | Bucket Bag, similar | Sandals | Sunglasses | Right: Trench Coat | ATM T-shirt | Jetset pants | Sneakers | Hat | Scarf | Suitcase

It’s always nice to have a warmer option, and these Jetset pants by Frame are amazing. I can’t wait to try them myself! They are a best-seller and get lots of great reviews!



Jeans/pants (4): Frame Jetset (wear on plane), White Frame Le High straight, Caslon linen pants (linen pants are thinner and don’t take up as much space), and faded light blue Frame

Blouses (3): Citizens of Humanity light blue top, COH Kayla black shirt, Floral cotton cami

Tees (3): White tank, striped tank, white ATM (wear on plane)

Dresses (5): J.Crew slip dress, Norma Kamali black dress, Green ALC dress, White J.Crew dress, Alice & Olivia

Jackets (2): Denim jacket, trench coat (wear on plane)

Swimsuit and Coverup (3): Green swimsuit and pareo, J.Crew shirt coverup, denim shorts

Workout clothes: (4) Leggings, Vuori hoodie, Vuori tennis skirt, Vuori tank, baseball hat (wear on plane), belt bag (wear on plane)

Shoes (4): Adidas Sambas (wear on plane), Chloe slides, Black heel sandal, Neutral heel sandal

Handbags (3): Prada tote, Chloe basket bag, MZ Wallace nylon quilted bag

Sweaters (3): J.Crew cashmere cardigan (for wearing and for over shoulders), white cardigan (for over shoulders), J.Crew tan sweater tank

Sleepwear/lingerie (x): Pj’s, strapless bra, Softly Styled Bra, Chantelle Soft Stretch panties


Thank you for reading xx

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