Monday, June 13, 2016


Hi, friends. I'm glad you're here!
If you've been around awhile, you'll know that I love to travel. 
I try to travel once a month at a minimum, but I'm usually able to get in two trips per month.
Sometimes when I'm really lucky (read: overbooked), I'll even travel as frequently as twice a week.
As a seasoned traveler, I'll admit, even that can be a bit much for me. 
So by now, I've got my airport game plan on lock and travel carry-on only. 

If you told me a year ago that I'd ever fly carry-on only, much less regularly, I wouldn't have believed it for a second. How would I pack two weeks worth of clothes for a four day trip?!
Oh man, how times have changed. Since then I've definitely come a long way! 

I'm usually pretty modest, but I will brag a little here — I'm an excellent packer. 
Between a carry-on and personal item, I can pack for two weeks. 
Today I'm sharing how I typically pack my personal item for trips ranging a week or less in duration. 

Let me start out by discussing what I pack in my personal item and why. 
Everything of value goes in my personal item. This is for several reasons:
  • Damage: The risk of damage is lower for items packed in my personal item over things packed in my carry-on luggage. Have you tried to get a heavy piece of luggage up in those overhead bins? It can be tricky, especially if you're a weakling like me haha. Between flight attendants trying to close overpacked bins, in-flight turbulence other passengers rummaging around, items get smashed around up there. I minimize the risk of damage to my fragile and valuable items by keeping them secured in my personal item underneath the seat.
  • Control: While this generally doesn't happen often on short-haul domestic trips, airline passengers have been increasingly reporting thefts from items stowed in overhead bins. It happens, people! Like most passengers, I try to secure overhead space in the bin directly above my seat. But if you've been on a packed flight lately, you'll know that space is highly-coveted. Often times, the only space for your luggage to be stowed is in a bin away from your seat. By packing my valuables in my personal item stowed at my seat, I never have to worry about what the person rummaging around in the overhead bin is doing. 
  • Access: This is probably the most obvious reason. Ease of access to certain items is key. I typically want to be able to quickly and easily access certain items like my MacBook Pro and DSLR in-flight. Retrieving my laptop that's packed in my carry-on luggage which is stowed in the overhead bin can quickly turn into a mess. Did I mention that I'm a weakling?

Now that I've covered the basics, let's get into how I pack a personal item.
I'll generally use my Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM because it's huge and durable. 
In the past, I've used everything from a large Longchamp Le Pliage, to Northface backpack
to a Vera Bradley Weekender. The options are endless, and yes, you can fudge the size limits a touch. (Although, I wouldn't recommend doing that so much with actual carry-on luggage.)

I start by packing my larger and bulkier items first, in the bottom of my bag. This means that my Vera Bradley toiletry bag and make-up containers go in first. Next, I'll pack my laptop and monogrammed agenda "standing up" vertically alongside one of the walls of my bag. Then, inside a waterproof Vera Bradley cosmetic case,, I'll pack my headphones, phone charger, laptop charger, DSLR charger and a jewelry pouch. I pack my electronic accessories in a waterpoof bag in an effort to keep them safe from any potential spills in my tote. Finally, I'll stow my wallet and keys in a secure spot. So, there you have it! On shorter trips, I try not to overstuff my personal item. 

Occasionally, I travel with delicate shoes, like my Cole Haan pumps. If so, I stow them in a dustbag and place them at the top of my personal item. I do this because the leather is easily susceptible to scuffs and damage, so I don't want to crush them in my carry-on luggage. And sometimes, I'll pack a snack and an empty water bottle to take with me. (Although, I'll often just purchase these items at the airport to help lighten my load.)

Thanks for sticking with me through this heavy post! 
What tricks do you use to pack a personal item?



  1. I'm going on a trip to NYC in August and we are trying to pack extremely light. This is very helpful! Great tips. :)

    1. I'm glad you found the post useful!

  2. I always overpack like crazy so this post was extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    XO, Brooke

  3. I've been trying to get better about overpacking - this is very helpful!


    1. I'm glad you liked the post. Hopefully this will be helpful next time you're traveling!

  4. I am a super overpacker so I needed these tips! Thank you for this post.

    xoxo, Jenny

  5. I am so impressed at your packing abilities! I used to be able to do long weekend trips with two Longchamp bags, but now I have become the queen of overpacking. I'll have to remember these tips for my next flight!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

    1. That's impressive — doing a weekend trip in two longchamps would even be a stretch for me!

  6. I have some trips coming up later this summer so this was a great post! I'm jealous of your amazing packing skills!

    xoxo A

    1. Haha thanks, Annaliese! I'm usually flying on a bi-weekly basis, so I've definitely gotten my packing down pat!

  7. I really try and stick to only carry on as well! The one exception was on my recent study abroad trip... and my luggage ended up lost! Love the way you pack your personal item!


    1. Oh no! The last time I went to Europe my luggage was lost for three days... talk about devastating! I definitely would need to pack some full-sized luggage to study abroad, too.

  8. You and I are so similar to how we pack a carry on! I'm so particular about how my laptop and camera fit in to my bag. Do you usually pack your camera straight in to your bag, or do you keep it in a case?

  9. I always try to fit way to much in my purse, I'm trying not over pack my purse this time for my trip hehe will see how that goes!

  10. I have never flown before (or should I say yet?) But this is a great post to refer to when I do. Love how you packed your bag!

  11. Love this post! I'm SUCH an over packer and always end up buying the extra carry on option haha. But the LV Neverfull is literally THE perfect bag for carryons, I love it too!

  12. YESS!! This is great. I am all about carryons and I always make sure to pack them so strategically haha.

    Sara Kate Styling

  13. You have some really awesome tips in here! Your personal item is so neat and organized, I love it! Great post!!

    Stephanie |

  14. Great tips! I always use mini-bags inside my carry on to ensure organization while traveling and throughout my trip. Xoxo Mindy

  15. I'm a huge traveler and I absolutely loved these tips! I absolutely have to have my cosmetics with me in my carry on (made that mistake one time in my luggage, one time was more than enough for my pallets!) and always keep a smaller cross body to use as a smaller pouch/bag when I need something smaller.

    Pick Your Beau