Travel hack of the week: How to pack for a week away with just hand luggage

Packing light for a weekend away is relatively easy. If you’re away for 3 days you’ll only need to pack 2 outfits and some toiletries and you’re good to go. But what about when you’re going away for a whole 7 days!? How to you squeeze everything into your hand luggage for a week long trip?

 

Here are my top tips for packing for a week away with just cabin baggage

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#1. Have a ‘travel uniform’

When I was in school I hated having a uniform and couldn’t wait to be a grown-up and wear my own clothes each day. Now I’m a grown-up and I want a uniform again! Life was so easy with a uniform.

My travel uniform is currently skinny jeans and a t-shirt with loads of jewelry and a cute jacket. A few years ago all I wore were floral dresses. I met a guy who only wears Levi jeans and black t-shirts.

It might sound boring but it doesn’t need to be. Having a travel uniform makes it easier to pack and plan your outfits and it’s easier to pack light. Plus, we all have one outfit we like the best so why not just replicate that outfit 7 seven times with a few slight alterations?

Find what you look and feel best in and do more of the same!

 

#2. Plan a rough itinerary before you go

You may be wondering why being super organised and planning your trip before you leave would affect your packing but it really does.

If you know what you’ll be doing each day you’ll know what you need to pack and what you can leave at home. You’ll know how many outfits you’ll need for nights out, how many days you’ll spend on the beach, how much walking you’ll be doing and if you’ll need any special gear like walking boots or a fancy dress.

 

#3. Be a little bit gross

Let your standards slip while you’re travelling and wear whatever you can multiple times. I’m the first to admit I’ll wear the same jeans all week while I’m away and just pack different tops to go with those jeans. It makes packing light so much easier! I stick to Topshop’s Leigh jeans (currently the Leigh maternity jeans) as they’re soft and comfortable and easy to sponge clean if you need to.

You don’t really need a fresh outfit everyday you’re away so double up wherever you can.

(Note: I’m not talking about wearing the same undies all week!)

 

#4. Use packing cubes

Packing cubes are a lifesaver when you’re using hand luggage only. You can squish so much more into each cube and keeps everything organised. It also makes it easier when you come to airport security as your suitcase isn’t a jumbled mess – and you’re not going to have that embarrassing moment of any knickers falling out onto the security belt as you dig around for your liquids.

 How to pack for a week away with hand luggage only

#5. Use the hotel toiletries

We all have our favourite shampoos and conditioners but, sticking with the theme of letting your standards slip, just use the ones provided by the hotel. You’ll save vital space and many airports only allow one clear bag for your 100ml toiletries so you’ll save yourself all the hassle at the airport.

 

#6. Have one warm coat for cold climates

I often hear people say you need to pack lots of layers when you’re travelling somewhere cold or somewhere with unpredictable weather but I’m going to say the opposite. The problem with layers is you end up with loads and loads of clothes that take up valuable space in your case. Surely it’s easier to just wear one or two layers and then wear a nice, warm coat on top? Then you can ditch all the jumpers and cardigans and vests but still stay cozy with your warm coat. You’ll wear or carry the warm coat on the plane so your case won’t be chocker with jumpers.

Something like this Northface coat or this Pepe Jeans jacket would be ideal for a cold trip.

 

#7. Use the biggest bag you can

This might sound like an obvious one but it’s actually quite difficult to find a bag that maximises the limited space you have. Check out a site called Cabin Max who make luggage specifically designed to be as big as possible but within the restrictions of even budget airlines. You can find bags compatible for certain airlines and they’re all fairly cheap too.

I have the Oxford Trolley and Backpack (£39.95) and it’s surprisingly big. It’s taller than most suitcases but it’s also thin so it fits the regulations and even Ryanair can’t argue with it.

 

#8. Limit your footwear

Shoes are the things to take up the most space in your case so stick to one or two pairs of shoes. Wear your bulky ones on the plane and slip the smaller pair in your case.

Here are the 5 types of shoes you’ll only ever need while you’re on holiday.

 

Do you have a great travel hack you’d like to share on The Travel Hack? Email me: [email protected] with your idea!

 

TheTravelHack

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel. Monica has recently had a baby and is now determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

SHOWHIDE Comments (8)
  1. Monica,

    “Be a little bit gross” is the best advice! It really does help to just get comfortable with wearing something several days in a row. Especially jeans! They are so versatile and can take up a lot of space/weight in your bag. Great tips! Thanks for the post. 🙂

    Anna

  2. Haha “be a little bit gross!” yup, I’m definitely an advocate of that advice! Skinny jeans go with practically anything, and vest tops and harem pants in hot climates 🙂 I also agree with one big warm coat as opposed to lots of layers in colder climates. Just wear the coat through security at the airport and it frees up loads of space in your backpack 🙂

  3. I have to say packing cubes are a life changing hack ! I always make sure to use them whenever I go on a trip and it makes things so easier. The other tips are really good as well 🙂

  4. Good advises specially the “be a little bit gross”. I totally live by that advice while traveling 😀 I haven’t heard about packing cubes but maybe I should buy them…

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

We believe luxurious travel can be affordable and isn't just for the rich. Follow along with our worldwide adventures as we share our trips and tips for incredible travel experiences on a modest budget.