When I travel I stick with carry-on sized luggage. This rule applies to short 7 days trips and longer 21 day trips as well. One carry-on roller bag and a personal bag, usually a backpack or bag that I can slip on to the roller bag.
I have two "go-to" bags - my blue one above that measures 22 x 14 x 9, and my red one that is slightly smaller at 14 x 14 x 9. Blue for longer trips, red for one week trips or trips where I can easily wash clothes. Believe me, the smaller red one has been very handy as it fits into tighter spaces in the overhead!
I have gone on several 2-3 week international trips (including 16 days on a cruise) with only my blue bag and personal bag. Yes - it can be done! Here's how:
Whether you are traveling for a week or three, the trick is to pack for one week. Do you remember what you wore last week? Neither will anyone else! Wear your items ultiple times. Bring 3 tops for every bottom. Wear your jeans 4-5 times. One good pair of walking shoes, a pair of sandals/flip flops - maybe a 3rd pair of shoes (choose wisely as shoes take up a lot of valuable packing space). Wear your "clunkiest" shoes - pack the small ones.
Another trick is to choose one basic color scheme and make sure everything can be mixed and matched with each other. Its amazing how many different combinations you can create.
Here is what I packed in my roller bag for a 3 week trip:
Believe it or not, there were a number of items worn only once (or never). Duly noted which means they will be taken off of future packing lists. Less weight in the bag in always good!
Travel documents, toiletries, camera, travel laptop, reading material and a few snacks went into my personal bag.
How long do travel toiletries last? Check out this article for guidelines.
Of course some of these rules change a bit based on where you are going, dress requirements (formal, casual, etc.), weather, etc. But in general, if go by the rule of packing for a week, you'll do just fine!
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Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder