How to Pack for 8-weeks in a Carry-On

I love to pack light. I save money on airlines fees, I don’t have to worry about losing any checked luggage, and its less stuff to haul around during my travels. Whatever your reasoning is for packing light, I’m here to offer you words of wisdom and guidance for your next trip!

The List

I spent quite some time creating my packing list for New Zealand. I did a lot of research and even did a couple of test packs, so I knew I had everything I would want during my extended travels. One thing I always kept in mind is that if I forgot something or needed more of something New Zealand has stores, so I can buy whatever I need. It’s likely wherever you are planning to go also has stores. The only items I ended up buying was an extra long sleeve shirt (which I have since added to my list) and additional toiletry items – sunscreen, face wash etc. The list now serves as my guide and I adjust it depending on the destination and the activities I will be doing. The list usually has enough clothes for one week and then I do laundry. Ready for the list? Click here to download and start packing.


You will be able to do laundry. Whether you are staying at a house that has a washer and dryer or visit a laundry mat, you will be able to wash your clothes. That being said, you will laundry detergent (something that can also be found in the country you are visiting), and some sort of laundry bag. My particular suitcase comes with a laundry bag, but I also like to pack a packable duffel pack that can double as a laundry bag. But in reality, a trash bag with work. You just want something to transport your dirty and then clean clothes that isn’t your suitcase. When I was in New Zealand you could always tell it was laundry day for me because usually the last clean item I had was the dress I packed.

Laundry Day!

Mix and Match Your Clothes

Don’t bring a shirt that will only go with one pair of pants. Or shoes that only serve one purpose. Multi-purpose is your friend when packing light. Bring a variety of colors that will mix and match well. Since most of my wardrobe is black, that’s kind of easy for me. Solid colors also work well. I brought shorts that I could hike in, but could also pass for city wear, or a night on the town. If you look at my photos, you’ll notice I am wearing a combination of the same 5 or 6 items the whole time. After returning back to the States, I didn’t wear any of those clothes for at least a month. Some of the items I brought with me didn’t make it home. It was time for us to part ways, and it made room in my bag for souvenirs. Check out my blog about my favorite travel items.


This is huge. Even though it might be cold enough for your big coat, you don’t really have room for it. And if you are visiting a place like New Zealand during the Spring/Summertime, you will go through about 4 different climates. Based off all the items I brought, I could layer it up pretty good if I got really cold. I had a tank top, wool long sleeve, fleece sweater, my Athleta jacket, and my Columbia raincoat that was excellent in the wind. I never once had to fully layer up. Same with the pants. The hiking pants I brought were pretty good in the cold and wind, but if it was really cold, I could layer them with some yoga pants. Layering is key.


I’m fully aware that in a carry-on all liquids have to be under 3 oz. My sunscreen in exactly 3 oz, and as I mentioned earlier, I tend to purchase facewash and sometimes shampoo in whatever country I’m in. It helps you feel more like a local. I also just bring the basics as you’ll see in my packing list.

Some Final Tips

I do believe the packing cubes help you save room because you can stuff them, and then make them fit in a tight spot. Plus, they keep your bag organized and neat. I also stuff my sunscreen and undergarments in my shoes. Although I bring 4 pairs of shoes, I only pack one large pair. I wear my hiking boots on the place to save room and would either wear my boots or trainers on travel days to save room. The Toms and sandals don’t take up any room. Same with my jeans. I usually wore them on travel days to save room. Lastly, don’t bring huge glasses or sunglasses cases. They now make softshell cases or stuff your glasses in a sock. It will help you save room versus the large hard case.

What tips do you have for packing light? Share them in the comments below!

Until next time…



T Minus 2 Day til New Zealand

Hi all! I can’t believe the time has finally arrived, and I will be leaving for New Zealand this Thursday! I have done a few pre packs, and now its time for the real thing. Today I am gathering everything, and tomorrow night I will officially load up my backpack. (I still have a wee bit of laundry to do). Truthfully I am not bringing a lot of clothes. When you look at my packing excel sheet, the toiletries list is much longer than the clothes list. Some toiletries I plan to dwindle while I’m down there like my contacts. I, unfortunately, have to wear Dailies. So I have to bring a crap ton of contacts since I’ll be down there for 56 days (and I even wear my dailies twice). Oh well, what’s a girl to do? I think on the clothing side I am pretty solid. A few yoga pants to be interchangeable between PJs, loungewear, or athletic wear. A non-denim pair of shorts and a pair of board shorts, a dress, and a variety of long sleeve shirts, t-shirts, and a nicer shirt to wear out. Although it is now spring time in New Zealand, I wanted to bring some layers just to be safe. So I have a fleece sweater, an athletic zip up jacket and a rain coat. Those three together should be pretty warm. I do plan on being pretty active over there, so I did pack a few sport bras. I wanted two pairs of walking shoes in case one got wet. So I have my trail runners and a pair of hiking boots. All the bigger bulkier things I plan to wear on the plane to save room in my pack. Also, my trail runners are on their last leg, so I plan to not come home with them. I plan to do that with a few things, like some undies, and older shirts. That way I can free up room for goodies to bring back. As the toiletries start to dwindle that should help a lot. Well, I don’t want to bore you any further. I plan on watching some Boardwalk Empire then head off to bed. Tonight I would like to go to bed around 1am and wake up around 9am to slowly start adjusting to the time change. That would be going to bed at 8pm and waking up at 4am in New Zealand. It’s a slow adjust. My first day there might be kind of crazy anyway with it being the Rugby World finals and all. The game will be in London, but the New Zealand National Team, the All Blacks, are in it. Oh and it’s Halloween. All within my first 24 hours in the country. It’ll be great!