Tomorrow I'll be off for a 9 day trip to South Africa! I have a jam-packed itinerary for the trip and am excited about getting to experience the beautiful sights and rich culture of Johannesburg and Cape Town. Since I loathe to check luggage, especially when the journey has so many connections, I immediately decided this trip would be carry-on only, at least on my way there. Here are my tips for stylishly living off a 20 inch suitcase for over a week.
1. Plan your outfits
Since I know what my must-see sights are and have scheduled some activities, I already know what I'll be wearing for most of them in advance. I do pack a few extra separates, but I mostly avoid bringing pieces that don't make sense for what the day's plan is
2. Embrace Day to Night Dressing
Any New York woman knows she will have days that require her to go from the office to cocktails, and that dressing philosophy doesn't have to change on vacation. I packed 2 simple sundresses - 1 black, 1 white, that can easily be worn out in the city by day then for dinner, drinks, or nightlife just by swapping my sandals and tote for heels and a clutch.
3. Accessorize Smartly
Scarves, cheap and cheerful costume jewelry, and silky printed kimonos will lend visual interest to a look and take up virtually no space. I know I'll be wearing certain pieces more than once but when accessorized differently no one will be the wiser.
4. Space Bags Are Your Friend
Space Bags travel bags are absolutely amazing! They really are a hidden secret to increasing your luggage space by at least 30% I just like to cut a dryer sheet into 4 or 5 pieces and place a piece in each bag before rolling out the air to keep them fresh. Don't put the whole sheet in since the scent can be overwhelming!
5. Don't Skimp on Your Tech or Creature Comforts
Long flights can be absolutely miserable so one area I tend to pack heavy on is my in-flight necessities. In addition to my regular beauty products, makeup wipes, sleeping masks, facial mists, and a balmy hand cream are all essentials. I also pack an eye mask, and an oversized cashmere cardigan that doubles as a blanket, plus 2 inflatable pillows (1 for the neck and 1 small rectangle). They fold completely flat and can be blown up once you're on board so you don't look ridiculous walking through the airport with one hanging off your neck. Necessary gadgets are my phone, tablet (which is pre-loaded with books, offline articles and movies), 2 mobile chargers so I never have to worry about being stranded with no power, and my Frends Taylor headphones. I also packed a small pouch of basic first aid stuff, pain relievers, and period goods in case I get caught out there!
6. Plan to Shop in Your Destination
I know for a fact I will be bringing things back. Though my roller-board bag is pretty packed, I'm using a pretty big duffle bag as my personal item, and that will remain slightly less than halfway full. I also have an empty tote and an unused space bag so I'll have some space for souvenirs. In the event I do decide to check the roller-board on the way back (highly likely since I have a visit to wine country planned!) I'll still have extra space between the duffle and tote.
Follow my adventures on Instagram and stay tuned for the full travel diary when I'm back!