10 Days of Summer in a 20" Carryon (pic heavy)

Hello, all! A lot of us are busy packing for our warm-weather trips right now, so I wanted to share my travel capsule (and capsules within the capsule) and no-check packing plans. 

My trip to Ohio will be 10 days, and the temps will range from about 80-90F in the day to 50-60F at night. There will be thunderstorms scattered throughout, and we will split our time between three relatives. We will have access to laundry facilities, so you can see I don't have a wholly different outfit for every day. 

I decided to plan based on the temperatures, since the high heats really dictate my levels of (dis)comfort with certain items. Next stage of planning took into account night and other events. 

For packing, I started with the heaviest items on the bottom and worked my way up to the very lightweight and more damage-prone items. 

On to the photos!

  1. Lower 80s capsule - short shorts, linen tops, and my H&M tiger sweatshirt to throw over in the morning or inside with A/C. Can also be topped with the citron sweater in #3 instead of the sweatshirt.
  2. Upper 80s capsule - breezy dresses with a scarf for A/C. Can also be topped with the Ella Moss moto in #3 instead of the scarf. 
  3. Nighttime capsule - jeans to replace shorts in case of night outings to casual dinner etc. though we'll probably stay home for the most part.
  4. Emergency dress-up capsule - I don't know of anything planned, but I figure I can wear these all together or mix and match to fit the event. The fancy coat could go over my dark jeans, for example, or the Ella Moss moto could go over the black dress. 
  5. A variety of sandals, a must-have to switch up the wear and tear on my feet. 
  6. Layer 1 in my 20" carryon: Shoes and shorts. Shorts were stacked, then rolled together. 
  7. Layer 2: Jeans and coat. Folded individually.
  8. Layer 3: Dresses. Stacked at full length with the heaviest dress on bottom. Folded in half. 
  9. Layer 4: H&M sweatshirt. I didn't want to fold any areas with the faux leather design on it, so I just folded the sleeves and bottom back.
  10. Layer 5: Linen tees. Folded individually. I would have liked to fold these with something heavier to help with wrinkles, but I think they'll steam out easily. 
  11. Layer 6: Ella moss moto. This is only on top because I have to wear it to work tomorrow. 
  12. Layer 7: Swim capsule, pills. Not pictured is my swimsuit, since it hasn't arrived yet, but you can see there's plenty of room left in this layer. 
  13. Layer 8: really just my zippered pouch of liquids (BB creams with SPF, hair wax, moisturizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup setting spray). 
  14. Inner flap compartment: unmentionables. And my umbrella. Cuz that's totally the logical pairing.
  15. All zipped up! You'll notice I've not yet used the front zipper compartments. This is where I'll store my pajamas, which I still need to wash before I can pack them.
  16. All the sundries to pack in my Personal Item. The brush, wallet, phone case, and lotion will go into my Zella frame bag, as per usual. The makeup goes into my kitty makeup bag. The scarf and dressy bag will be separate. 
  17. All packed up!
  18. Worn on my person for the flights to and from: trench (also useful in the event of storms), dark wash jeans, linen tank, cashmere sweater, and Report booties. 

A note on my luggage: I just bought this new citron baby off of Ebay to replace my old suitcase, which did not have spinner wheels and drove me crazy every time I bonked it into my ankles turning a corner. DH's American Tourister has really held up well, so I chose the same brand for myself. The 20" size is a fair deal smaller than the limits for most American airlines, but I wanted one that would also fit most International requirements. It is still too big for some Euro airlines like Alitalia, but I felt this was a good compromise given my infrequency of my International excursions. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • replied 8 years ago

    Wow, Rae! Looks like you have it all covered!

  • Diana replied 8 years ago

    Nice!  Don't you love summer packing - so much lighter and simpler than packing in winter!

    This is very similar actually to what I packed (in a similar size suitcase) for my 10 day CA wedding/honeymoon trip earlier in the month.  I checked the bag (yay, Jetblue!) and carried a second, small duffle-type bag with the wedding/rehearsal dinner stuff.  I had room to spare - a lot of that room got filled with bottles of wine on the way back!

  • Kristin L replied 8 years ago

    I bow to greatness! I'll have to come back and read your post again before I go to California in a few months.

  • Thistle replied 8 years ago

    Wow, just wow.  I am in awe!

  • rachylou replied 8 years ago

    I can't believe you got all that into a 20". Master packer!

  • CocoLion replied 8 years ago

    I am completely and utterly amazed at what you can get into one 20" carry on.  Seriously.  

    The only thing that occurred to me is to pack one less pair of shoes.  Can you get away with wearing any of the sandals for the dress up capsule, like the light colored wedge sandals?  Although if you can get it all in one bag, there's no reason to leave the glittery pumps behind.

    Oh yes and I find those Missouri TRs to be heavy, can you wear those on the plane instead?

    Have fun!  Will you still be checking YLF?

  • replied 8 years ago

    Yey! No suggestions. Everything looks oerfect. Have a great trip.

  • JulieJohn replied 8 years ago

    Where in Ohio? I've been there twice to visit relatives, Columbus, Dayton, and a long drive to Cambridge through lovely farm country which was so peaceful. Almost every farm had its own little lake for a water supply. It was really beautiful.

    Your packing looks very efficient and with enough diversity to keep your daily outfits interesting. Have a great trip!

  • MsMary replied 8 years ago

    So impressive!  I am swooning over your dress-up capsule!  And your "Power Rangers" white top makes me so happy!  :)

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Wow. This is seriously impressive packing, Rae! I love your outfits, and I am in awe that you got it all into that bag. I hope you have a wonderful trip! 

  • Sveta replied 8 years ago

    Looks like you are all ready to go. Enjoy your trip!

  • Adelfa replied 8 years ago

    Wow. I love packing posts, and this is about the most impressive one ever! I love how you showed your capsules *and* the precise packing technique. Thank you!!

  • Laura (rhubarbgirl) replied 8 years ago

    Very helpful post, Rae, thanks!

    I am currently obsessed with figuring out my own 11 day trip wardrobe - it's not gonna fit in a carryon, though!

  • Joy replied 8 years ago

    Amazing!  Have a wonderful time.

  • rae replied 8 years ago

    Thanks, ladies! This is possibly the first time I haven't stressed over travel clothes. Pretty much all these combos have already been road tested and approved, so it was way more easy going. 

    Diana, YES, summer is so much easier to pack for. The beach would have been even easier - swimsuit, shorts, flip flops, done. I am not surprised you took the same size bag to CA. 

    Kristen, how fun that you will be in our state! 

    Denise, I do want to bring the pumps just in case we go to a nice restaurant or something. I guess I could leave the yellow wedges behind... For the jeans, is there a weight limit for carryons? I don't want to wear the ripped Camerons on the plane because I don't want any airport germs on my legs if possible. I will be checking YLF, though I don't know how often!

    Julie, I think we'll be in Athens, Dayton, and Cincinnati. I think Athens is near Columbus, though, since I remember going there for something on our last trip. It would be a trip if our relatives knew one another!

    Laura, good luck with your packing - hope you have a fab trip!

  • Mo replied 8 years ago

    Good to go!  I just love the step by step layering up of the goodies :)

  • Mona replied 8 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this. You are so organized. I hope you have a great trip!

  • TraceyLiz65 replied 8 years ago

    Super Impressive!  

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    The travel capsule looks wonderful. Have a brilliant trip!

  • Parsley replied 8 years ago

    Super packing! 
    I'm a light packer, but I'm impressed that you can get everything in a 20" bag!
    Have a great trip!

  • amiable replied 8 years ago

    Wow!  Way to go!  I'm doing similar planning right now - a 12 day road trip from Nebraska to Los Angeles next week.  Everything for seven people has to fit in our vehicle, so we're packing minimal.  And I'm really having a hard time figuring out what to take.  Thanks for the inspiration!

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