Zoe recently got back from some time overseas. With a bag full of HB favourites, she reflects on her tips for mastering carry on –
This spring I was lucky enough to head north for a trip to Greece and Japan, split roughly 4 weeks in Greece and 2.5 in Japan. I generally try and work with just carry on as I like being able to leave the airport quickly and not having to lug around suitcases when in transit. Holly and I finessed over the contents of what would go into this year's carry on (and I noticed it didn’t change much from a similar trip last year - see guide here). I pack for a few occasions, a lot of all-day city adventures, hikes, a few nicer outfits for fancy dinners, exhibition viewings, and performances. If I had more jewellery I’d bring a nice necklace or bolder earrings to help dress up an outfit on evenings out.
I think it’s easier to do cary on in summer though in both countries I went to cool mountain areas and was warm enough. Last year there was a sudden temperature drop and it resulted in me having to embrace the dress over pants look which I’m very grateful for now. I also do a lot of hand-washing to freshen garments up between wears.
Here's a break down of what went into my carry on –
Singlet x 2 (one loose and one structured)
Basic white t-shirt
Merino fitted T (black) (this was a really great piece to dress up but also for colder days or evenings)
Poet shirt (one long sleeve, one short sleeved and cropped. Used on colder days, beach and sun cover-ups, as a light layer jacket in the evenings)
Long sleeve (I chose to bring a super light-weight breathable cotton long sleeve. I liked wearing it on transit days and on hikes to avoid sunburn! It’s fitted enough to wear a poet shirt over)
Para shorts (black cotton which can be easily dressed up)
Jimmy pants (drill)
Longer dress (could be good to swap for a CBS)
Jumper (this year I brought a cotton pullover but last year it was a black merino cardigan)
Felo bag (this bag was the hero of my trip. It felt like a Mary Poppins bag! Some days I had my water-bottle, thermos, book and notebook, cap, phone and camera in there! Other days it would be equipped for a hike with waterbottle, cover shirt, sunscreen, snacks, camera. The bag you choose to take is so tricky and I couldn’t speak highly enough of this one. I even wrapped it’s long strap around my body one day when I wanted to run home to get started on lunch!)
This all comes in under 7kg. I only brought 1 book and 1 notebook, a really compact camera, and no laptop. Also of course had all the other essentials (undies, toiletries, chargers, etc). I still had a bit of space leftover for purchases! The only thing that I think you have to sacrifice on is shoes - once there's more than 2 pairs of shoes I find it starts getting squishy. I usually pack a walking shoe that goes with dresses and a pair of sandals. Another joy - when I started to feel like I was constantly wearing the same thing I switching up the wardrobe by swapping garments with travel companions. I borrowed Mara's poet shirt a couple of times and each time I felt like a new person (in the best way possible)!
Carry on only can be intimidating but is actually very do-able if your trip agenda allows for it (see above - no laptop!) and you’ve got the right combo of things. I noticed myself reaching for different pieces in different locations - I went to two different parts of Greece and they both had different styles that I was trying to dress to (especially when visiting family or going into monasteries and churches - cover those knees ladies!).