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How To Pack for a 2 Week Trip in a Carry On

Packing, for some people, is a difficult task while for others it is simple. I had gone on a trip to Ireland and Scotland a few months ago, and prior to it I did a lot of research on packing and what to bring on a two-week trip. I kept coming across posts of people packing for two weeks in a carry-on luggage, and I thought, “Hang on! Is this even possible?!” Well my friends, I am here to tell you that it is. Yes, it is possible to pack only what you need into a small carry-on luggage and survive on it for two weeks. How? Three important things: bring only what you absolutely need, roll your clothes, and do laundry halfway through your trip.

Most packing posts I came across were for summer months. Months when you require less thicker clothes. Packing for fall and winter is completely different as you will be taking thicker clothes and extras of certain items. Since I couldn’t find a post/article to tell me exactly what to pack for the fall, I had to test pack my luggage several times and make sacrifices before I accomplished the impossible.

To start with, I had to buy a carry-on luggage. I have a couple at home, but none were of the right size. I especially wanted one that had 4 wheels to make it easier for me to move it around. After much research and testing out suitcases in stores, I went with Air Canada’s 20” Spinner Wheel Carry-on. It is lightweight, has 4 compartments inside, and allowed for 2 cm of extension. Not once did I have a problem with this suitcase. I put the suitcase through abuse by wheeling it over cobblestones but it held really well.

Next step was to purchase packing cubes. I got Eagle Creek packing cubes, which came in a variety of sizes and are perfect for keeping your stuff together and organized. I used these cubes to divide my clothes (pants in one, shirts in another, undergarments in another), but it could also be used to organize outfits.

Now you may ask how did I manage to fit everything into these cubes, and my answer to that is roll your clothes. Seriously. It actually makes a huge difference. I had no worries about my clothes wrinkling as I would have worn most of it by the time I had to do laundry. Even the ones I did not wear until the end of my trip were unwrinkled. The trick is to roll them tightly and correctly. There are plenty of Youtube videos and articles on how to do it.


So what did I bring exactly?

2 jeans

1 tights

2 full-sleeved heat-tech base layers from Uniqlo (although these are base layers, I wore them on their own depending on the weather)

1 dressy long-sleeved top

1 pair of flats (I didn’t use these at all on my trip)

1 pair of running shoes

Undergarments (these are the most important, so I brought extras just in case)

1 thin towel (avoid carrying bulky towels)

1 belt

1 small purse (small enough to only fit my phone, passport, and some cash in)

1 Jansport backpack

Toiletries (I put liquids into travel-sized containers and took only what I was going to use everyday)

I also packed in gift items that I was bringing to friends such as a few bottles of maple syrup, chocolates, and other things.


The amount of clothing I listed sounds little, but keep in mind that I also wore and carried the bulkier items on me so that I had space in the suitcase. This is what I wore on me:

1 The North Face Resolve jacket (waterproof and wind-resistant)

1 The North Face zip-up fleece jacket

1 thin infinity scarf

1 short-sleeved top (it was warm when I left Toronto)

1 jeans

1 Blundstone boots (waterproof and super comfortable for walking in all day)


Lastly, I bought a medium sized tote bag from Wal-mart. In the tote bag I packed the following:

1 pair of pyjamas (rolled of course)

1 long scarf (this doubled as blanket on the plane)





Wires and converters for my electrical devices

Passport and all other documents

I even had space to store food, snacks, and drinks!

Everyone’s packing will be different from mine. There are things that I don't wear on a regular basis that I didn't mind bringing, such as makeup and jewelry. Because of this, I saved some space to bring back souvenirs.

Happy Packing!

PS. It was much colder than I thought it would be in Ireland and Scotland, so I purchased a thick wool sweater in Dublin. Surprisingly, this fit into my carry-on returning home despite the bottles of whisky and chocolate that I had bought :)

I’m always looking for more ways to improve my packing. I would love to know your tips and hints! Leave a comment below.

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