Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On

As children, we use playing as a way to learn. So we pretend to drive, practice parenting skills with baby dolls, stand before imaginary classrooms as the teacher. I have often used playing as a trial run for an upcoming event. When I worked in my uncle’s firework stand as a young teen, I first set up a mock store to role play waiting on customers and making change.

Tonight, I played. Exactly one month from today, my daughter Elissa, grandson Dayan and I will be aboard a plane, heading to Italy. I practiced packing for the 11 day trip.

Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On
My daughter, grandson and I all agreed…we want to travel light. When I visited Scotland in 2014, I made a mistake. I took a huge suitcase for that 10 day trip. I immediately regretted it. The monstrous piece of luggage was cumbersome, difficult to navigate with through crowded airports and train stations, and impossible to lug up flights of stairs. I hurt my back dragging the thing behind me. I vowed to travel with a carry on next time.

It is the “next time”, as I prepare to take my grandson to his dream destination for his graduation gift.

But could I really get 11 days of clothing plus toiletries and a couple of extra items in a suitcase that measures 22x14x9? I decided to find out.

Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On
First problem…my old carry on is 1/2″ too big! The airline we are flying on specifies carry ons cannot exceed 22″, including the wheels and handles. Mine is slightly too tall with the handle included. I’ll be purchasing a new carry on. This is why I play ahead of time! For tonight’s experiment, I used the suitcase I have to practice packing.

Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On
All of these clothes….

Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On
…need to fit in here. Everything I’ve read suggested rolling clothes, rather than folding. Let’s see if it wotks.

Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On
I layered PJ top and bottoms together and rolled them up.

Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On

I’m only taking one extra pair of shoes. Those went on the bottom, against the side. Heavier or bulkier clothes such as jackets, a cardigan and capris formed the bottom layer.

Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On
I used underwear and socks to fill in the gaps on the bottom layer. They all found a place to tuck into.

Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On
I worked on the tops next. Short sleeved shirts rolled up quite small. I rolled as tightly as I could, starting at the bottom of each shirt.

Packing for 11 Days in a Carry On
All of my tops formed the second layer. There was plenty of room left for toiletries, a journal and a map. And I hadn’t even used the many pockets or the mesh section. I can easily stash a hair straightener, phone charger, and electrical adapters in my suitcase’s pockets.

In my carry on I was able to pack one pair of shoes, one pair of PJs, a pair of capris, a lightweight jacket, a long cardigan sweater, 11 tops, and 11 days worth of underwear and socks. Of course, I’ll be wearing clothes too…jeans, a top, walking shoes and perhaps a long sleeved jacket in case the plane is chilly.

I am thrilled with my play time! I discovered I need to purchase a slightly smaller carry on. And that it is possible to pack for an extended trip in a carry on.

One month, and what I pretended doing tonight will be reality. Four months and one week from today, I’ll do this again as I travel to Ireland, Scotland and England with my mom, sisters and niece.

Can you tell I am scratching an itch, having been bitten by the travel bug? I am so excited to see new places!

This is the carry on I will be ordering!

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