The Struggle with the Carry On.

Travelling might be one of the most exciting and most emotionally and visually rewarding things one could occupy themselves with but it is equally as challenging and exhausting. I am not referring to the exhaustion one experiences after three days of fitting as much cultural input into a 24 hour window as possible, challenge already starts with the packing. 

I am not lying when saying that suitcases indeed are one of my very own personal nightmares but after four years of travelling back and forth between the UK, my parents’ home and my home in Graz you are definitely forced by life to get used to it. As many of you might be aware of, I travelled to Amsterdam last week as I had never been to the Netherlands before and wanted to cross another European capital of my bucket list. Done that. Check. 

Travelling was different this time, not only because my best friend and I decided to stay at an AirBnB for the first time in our lives, it was also different in terms of how we handled our luggage. Generally, I am a person who never travels light as I always struggle with completely unsubstantiated anxiety that I might forget something or might not have packed something I desperately need in three days of being abroad. You can almost taste the sarcasm in the previous sentence because I wish I understood how my own mind works sometimes. Before drifting off into an entirely different sphere I want to get to the point. Normally, I always book my flights with luggage included. This time, as we were on a budget, we decided we would only travel with carry-ons. I expected my unpredictable self to start stressing over such an unimportant detail but surprisingly I didn’t. Maybe I have finally started to do adulting correctly, even though I am still not entirely convinced. 

As you might have already figured out, this post is not entirely going to be about fashion but it is supposed to be a guide for everyone who struggles with travelling with nothing but a carry-on or has never done it before because they were too scared to try. I am adding one thing in advance: Learning to travel with nothing but a carry on is going to change your life in a positive way. It will save you tons of money and it will also make travelling a lot easier for you. 


Travelling Light?

It is common knowledge that carry-ons are not allowed to exceed a certain size and weight. In terms of the size you should definitely stick to the rules as you might end up having to check in your luggage late and believe me, cash-strapped people do not want to put such a heavy burden on their credit card. In terms of weight though, airlines and airports have become very generous as long as they don’t witness you sitting on your carry-on trying to close it. Our carry-ons had about 9.5kg when we flew back home and everyone was completely fine with it. So don’t panic whenever your carry-on has one or two kilos too much. 

Planning and choosing wisely.

The magic of combination is the key to not only travel lightly but also still look good during your days abroad. Basic tshirts, jeans, cardigans and a leather jacket are life savers to take on city trips. Basic white and black tshirts can easily be worn up and down and can be combined with either leather jacket or a cardigan, which means by taking two tshirts you already have four outfits to choose from. Light jackets don’t take up much weight or space and can be used to layer underneath the leather jacket whenever the wind, which was omnipresent in Amsterdam, gets unbearable. My carry-on contained a pair of jeans, a skirt, two tshirts and a bomber and a pair of loafers for a warm day. The rest I had with me I was wearing and I was perfectly fine. The trick is to really plan your outfits and take things which look good with multiple items in your wardrobe.

Beauty Bags.

Beauty bags are generally the heaviest items in a girl’s suitcase but half of the things one takes with them on holiday, doesn’t get used anyway. No one needs three eyeshadow palettes for a three day stay. Choose one palette of which you think the colours match your outfits most and leave the rest at home. Do not forget that you also aren’t allowed to take bottles with you that contain more than 100ml. Drugstores usually sell tiny travel bottles of literally everything, which saves time, space and weight and you can use them up the next time you travel. 


Don’t take jewellery with you at all or again choose the items you take wisely. Again, choose pieces that match the majority of your clothes and you might even be fine with one bracelet and a small set of ear rings. If you’re doing a city trip every piece of unnecessary jewellery will annoy you anyway. This also applies to handbags. Best to take on city trips are small rucksacks, as they look cute, are available in every shape and colour and you can fit a lot of items in them. Don’t even try to bring an additional bag, it’s very unlikely you will use it and it is just gonna take another 0.5kg off your 8-10kg limit. 

I will definitely continue travelling with only a carry-on as it simply makes the journey from the airport to your home and back so much more relaxed and enjoyable as you basically avoid struggling with a huge, heavy suitcase in public areas. Obviously, this strategy only applies on short city trips that don’t last longer that five days as it might get difficult to handle a full on beach holiday with nothing but a carry-on but you can always give it a shot I guess.

Dungarees: Monki; Shirt: H&M; Shoes: Topshop, Cardigan: Mango

Shirt: H&M; Bomber: H&M; Jeans: Zara

Jeans: Topshop; Shirt: Hollister, Shoes: Vagabond; Jacket: Zara

(pictures are ©TheStylePolaroid 2017, the brands are mentioned beneath the pictures, credits to the designers)

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