More and more people are travelling, whether on holiday or for business for a few days, with carry-on luggage only, and i’m one of them. I travel super light!

But what to pack!? Here are a few guidelines to help you pack when you only have a carry on.

Most people at the end of a trip realise they only needed half of what they packed.

I want you to be that person that uses nearly everything you brought because you spent time thinking it through!

Ask yourself how many levels of dress you need outfits for?

If you're in warm weather, you might want street wear for shopping the outdoor markets, something smarter for dinner in a nice restaurant and of course, items for the beach or poolside. If you're in cold weather, you may be hitting the slopes for some winter sports activities, visiting friends or family, taking in museums or historical sites. 

Picture yourself in those places. Now go to your wardrobe and start building your travel wardrobe with only these functions in mind. Lay out some choices on your bed. See if some pieces could work in more than one setting. If something works in only one way, start substituting other items for it.

The idea is to have pieces that can work in multiple settings.

These wardrobe puzzle pieces will start fitting together. Taking the time to do this exercise will make traveling with just a carry-on possible. If you spend no time thinking it through, you’re definitely not going to just have a carry-on!

I'm not encouraging a dull, limited travel wardrobe.

There is a way to get variety without the extra baggage. Variety is easy to manage when you pack things that are either small or can be rolled up. Some easy pieces to add for variety are print scarves, costume jewellery (leave the expensive stuff at home for peace of mind), and tops or blouses in a few different colours. 

Curb your enthusiasm for shoes and keep choices to a minimum.

I suggest trying to keep it to three pairs of shoes. Chances are you’ll need a great walking shoe, a going out shoe and a casual shoe. If it’s comfy enough, sometimes your casual shoe can double as your walking shoe but know the comfort of your shoe before relying on it to play both roles. A way to really hone in on your shoe limit is to work backwards and build your outfits around the shoes you've decided to bring. 

Work out outfits around a core colour or two.

Choose one or two base colours to start with, to have your basic items in, and make sure everything else you pack works with those items. If something doesn’t work and means youll need to pack an additional bottom or top to make it work, leave it out.

Assistance Needed?

We are here to help, and have had lots of experience helping clients plan their wardrobes for all sorts of trips, business and pleasure. Outfit and packing sessions are a really useful past of a styling package. This is one of the hardest things to do on your own so don’t hesitate in asking for assistance. We can help you with those wardrobe pieces. You’ll start out your trip with peace of mind and the assurance that you have everything you need. 

Lizzie Edwards is a Personal Stylist, Image Consultant and Executive Presence trainer in London, UK.