Packing for Long Term Travel in a Carry On

Nomadic Female Traveler

After more than a decade of traveling internationally, I opted to go fully nomadic in the summer of 2015. That nomadism lasted about 3.5 years and included spending anywhere from 1 night to 3 months at a time in any given place. Those “places” included more than 20 countries and every climate across the world.

Throughout all of this long-term travel, I carried only a 55L backpack and one personal item.

In this post, I share my best packing tips, resources, and a complete list of what I pack in my bags.

If you have questions, ask me in the comments below! I personally respond to each one.

This post contains affiliate links.

Check this out for a quick, categorized list of the products in this post.

First, Why Carry On?

Be smart, don’t skip this part.

I do get tired of carrying on; it’s hard on my body, my brain, and my desire to have options in my wardrobe. I was recently thinking about how nice it would be to upgrade to a 70L and start checking my pack again for the “convenience and space.”

Then I flew down to Patagonia.

One of my travel mates arrived for our 10-day trek, but his checked bag did not. The bag, with all of his carefully selected trekking gear, was somewhere in Brazil (so helpful!). He would not see it again for six days.

I traveled on 31 planes during my last RTW (Round-The-World) trip.

That is precisely 31 chances for an airline to have misplaced my bag had I not had it with me.

While traveling with all of your luggage can be exhausting, it is not nearly as frustrating and stressful as traveling without any of your luggage, and having to file reports, follow up with airlines, file claims to insurance (if you have it), and, of course, replace an entire wardrobe at retail price (ahem, Patagonia retail prices) at the last minute.

This refreshing perspective was just what I needed to stick to my guns about carrying on.

Related: What to Do When an Airline Loses Your Luggage

More importantly: What You Need to Know About Travel Insurance

How to Choose Your Carry-On Luggage

First lesson: Whatever you do, choose your luggage according to your body size and strength, not the length of your trip. Re-read that. Then, pack it according to what fits, not the other way around.

Watch this short video on How to Choose the Perfect Travel Backpack for help with this:

I started my RTW trip last year with an Osprey Kyte 46, accompanied by an REI Traverse (an awesome pack). I was “double-turtling” it. I quickly learned how much I disliked that setup. I don’t like being weighed down by packs on both sides, and I was constantly questioned by airline personnel about their size, even though they were both within size restrictions for carry-on and personal items.

A blue Osprey backpack and a black-and-white patterned travel bag sit side by side on a carpeted floor in front of a bed with a geometric-patterned cover. These bags are packed and ready for an upcoming journey.

See last year’s packing list here: The Ultimate Travel Packing List: A Year in a Carry On Backpack

After three months with those two packs, instead of continuing to slowly die inside, I switched to an Osprey Farpoint 55 and a large purse, which I traded out this year for this shoulder bag:

How did I logistically make the backpack switch? My brother came to travel with me to Europe over Christmas. I had the new pack sent to him in the US, and he brought it to me, along with one of my purses from my boxes of stuff, which is all stored at his house.

This post comparing the Osprey Kyte 46 and the Farpoint 55 explains why this was such a good move for me.

In short, I prefer having a pack and a shoulder bag rather than two packs, and I also prefer the zip-open suitcase style front of the Farpoint, as opposed to the traditional top-loading Kyte. As a long-term traveler, I am constantly in and out of my pack, and I’ve decided that top-loading is no longer an option. I have discovered better, and I’m never going back.

For long-term travel, on the go with carry-on luggage, I highly recommend packs that zip open like a suitcase, like these:

For this round, I have graduated from the large purse to a weekender handbag, having decided the purse didn’t give me quite enough space (the struggle is real). This sturdy bag cost me about $35 at Target, and a year later, I still really like it. It has both hand and shoulder straps and just barely fits under the seat on a plane, and the bottom is sturdy leather. Note: This particular bag is no longer available online. I’ve upgraded to a more sturdy Pendleton Tote that zips closed.

Related: Best Crossbody Bags for Travel

A woman wearing a bright green jacket and a blue Osprey backpack stands on a hillside, overlooking a town nestled in a valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The scene captures the serenity and beauty of a mountain landscape at dusk.

Know Your Travel Style, Understand the Sacrifice

Before you start packing, consider what sort of activities you expect to do on your travels. If you are an urban explorer, perhaps your wardrobe will include more fashion and less technical gear, and you might choose a roller suitcase over a backpack.

If you are an outdoor adventurer like me, you must understand that if you plan to pack light and carry on, you will need to sacrifice some of the casual, fashionable clothing you might “normally” wear in order to have the technical gear you’ll need.

In this post specifically, while many of the light packing tips are applicable to anyone, many of the clothing tips will directly help female adventure travelers who still like to look decent every now and then. That’s my style.

I am an outdoor enthusiast, and I love adventure. You might see me running a race in Switzerland, hiking for days on end in Patagonia, practicing Muay Thai in Thailand, or kayaking in Mexico. It is more important for me to be prepared for adventure and able to say yes to these opportunities than it is to be dressed to impress on a daily basis.

I trade pea coats for a rain jacket, down vest, scarves, and boots for running clothes.

I do miss these things, but when you pack in a carry-on, you just can’t have it all.

For this specific packing job, I knew I would be starting out with two weeks in Patagonian spring, which would certainly mean exposure to winter conditions. Beyond that, I would be heading to Mexico for a few months, which is where I am now, and I still don’t know exactly where my travels are taking me from here, so I had to prepare for anything. Here’s what I brought:

An assortment of travel gear and essentials laid out on the floor, including a passport, various cables and chargers, a GoPro camera, a laptop, a tripod, a microphone, a mouse, a small green bag, and other miscellaneous items, showcasing the equipment needed for a travel blogger or digital nomad.

Travel Electronics and Accessories (Packing for Digital Nomads)

I work from my laptop and phone, so I most likely need more electronics than the average Jane. Only bring these digital nomad items if you must because they quickly add weight.

From left to right, top to bottom:

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A selection of outdoor and travel clothing neatly laid out on the floor, featuring various items including a pink quilted vest, black pants, a red jacket, a blue knit hat, a gray cap, a light blue jacket, a green rain jacket, gloves, and a green puffy jacket, ideal for layering in different weather conditions.

Versatile Adventure Gear for Packing Light

I stick to a lot of the same brands as I travel because I know and trust them by now.

  • Packable down vest (Marmot Jena) – this was one of the 7 things I wished I brought last year
  • Running tights (Brooks Running)
  • Running capris (Brooks Running Greenlight Capri) – these also have sweat-proof waistband pockets; black is the safest color, not just for dirt, but for considering dress codes worldwide
  • Waterproof hiking pants (I now use Arcteryx) – super lightweight, great outer layer for the elements
  • Rain jacket (Marmot Starfire) – this is an absolute must for adventure travel. Read more for help choosing between a rain jacket or umbrella
  • Beanie – specifically for my two weeks in Patagonia, sent this home afterward to save space
  • Running hat (Brooks Running) – super lightweight, quick-dry hat with a brim to protect from sun and rain
  • Gloves – one pair of “smart” gloves to cut the chill but still allow me to use my cell phone, and one pair of batting gloves to protect my hands during certain adventure activities (why batting gloves? Because they allow for dexterity and grip, plus the leather is waterproof)
  • Buff (x2) – perfect for keeping ears warm and hair back on the trail
  • Lightweight running jacket (I now use Arcteryx Atom) – this piece is specifically to protect from the sun in warm conditions, I wear it running on the beach in Mexico all the time
  • Medium weight running jacket (Brooks Running) – I have loved this piece for years, a great layering jacket; can’t leave it behind
  • Packable down jacket (Marmot Quasar) – packs into its own pocket and adds that final layer of warmth when I need it. Also, one of the 7 things I wish I packed last year

Not pictured:

  • My favorite scarf is an absolute must – this can be used as an eye mask, warm layer, blanket, pillowcase, towel, sun protection, and more.
  • Sarong – this can be used as all of the above, plus a beach towel, skirt, dress, and more.
A collection of lightweight, activewear clothing arranged on the floor, including a pair of blue shorts, a gray tank top, a navy zip-up jacket, a light blue striped tank top, a pink and purple striped tank top, and light green leggings, ideal for various workout and travel scenarios.
  • Running skort – my preference over shorts; these can be tricky to find the right fit – my new favorite is by Athleta
  • Cotton athletic tank – for soft adventure, yoga, and the like
  • Long-sleeved merino wool (Smartwool) – a brilliant layering piece that you can wear for days without needing to wash
  • Wide-strapped tank (Carve Designs) – great for hiking with a backpack
  • Running tank – the go-to sweaty activity tank
  • Running tee – also great for hiking or running with a backpack, lightweight, dries quickly
A collection of swimwear and activewear arranged on the floor, including a blue and green leaf-patterned tank top, a black sports bra, a tropical-print bikini set, and a black swim skirt, ideal for beach outings and water activities.

Adventure Swimwear

I always recommend packing at least two swimsuits, with the idea that no matter how much you use them, you should always have a dry one. All of these pieces are from Carve Designs.

  • Skort bottoms (Playa) – perfect for water sports
  • Sports bra style tops (x2) (Sanitas Reversible Top and Hana) – no painful halter straps, no ties to come undone, perfect for water sports
  • Criss-cross strap bikini without halter (ouch!) (Tamarindo) – for “normal” swimsuit activities
A selection of casual and comfortable clothing laid out on the floor, featuring a variety of tops in different colors and styles, including tank tops, shirts, a patterned dress, and a hoodie, perfect for a range of activities and weather conditions.

Essential Everyday Clothing

  • 2 cotton t-shirts
  • 1 nice button-up t-shirt (ExOfficio Air Space) – this is a super breathable collared shirt with a hidden pocket on the side that fits an iPhone 6. It’s got professional adventurer written all over it.
  • Variety of 4 cotton tank tops
  • 3 “nice” shirts/tank tops – I did not end up bringing the teal one; it was too bulky to justify. The other three are lightweight, versatile, and packable. And the best part? I feel like I look nice when I wear them! Big improvement from last year’s lack of nice clothes in my pack.
  • 1 layer-able, lightweight dress that packs down to nearly nothing (thank you, Thailand) – 2017 update: I’ve switched this one out for my first Prana dress (which has a built-in bra) and am SUPER happy with it
  • 1 lightweight, long-sleeved hoodie (ExOfficio Lumen Bugsaway) – this special material that works to keep the mosquitos off me – I wear this constantly in my house in Mexico.
A variety of pants and shorts laid out on the floor, including jeans, leggings, and casual shorts, alongside some long-sleeve tops and hoodies in different colors, suitable for diverse weather conditions and casual activities.
  • 1 zip hoodie – 2017 update: I’m now using this one from Carve Designs, and I LOVE it
  • Black cotton leggings (2017 purchase from Amazon – success!) – for dressing up or being comfy, these are non-negotiable, super versatile
  • Colorful capris – I debated these but have used them a lot with the in-between season weather I’ve experienced so far.
  • Travel sweatpants – These are narrow and tapered at the ankle, so they are made up of a lot less material than regular sweats and naturally take up less space. They allow me to have cozy sweatpants while I travel, which is one of those little but important things that makes me feel at home around the world.
  • 1 pair of skinny jeans – that’s it, one pair
  • Hooded sweater from Carve Designs – this is the largest clothing item I packed, but it is a brilliant piece for three reasons: 1: it has a huge hood which is great to hide under on airplanes; 2: it is a nice outer layer to wear when I want to look decent (instead of wearing running jackets); 3: it is warm, AND it’s a neutral color which can go with anything.
  • Jean shorts, just one pair
  • 2 long-sleeved cotton shirts

Not pictured: Underwear! Underwear gets its own small packing cube. I recommend bringing as much underwear as you can afford to fit in because the more underwear you have, the longer you can go without doing your laundry! Branwyn performance innerwear is my fave.

Laundry Overseas

Speaking of laundry, you can get it done on the road all over the world at laundromats. Sometimes it takes 24 hours, sometimes it takes 3, and it usually costs between $2-10 for washing and drying. Many places will also offer ironing services (but if you’re packing clothes that need to be ironed, you probably aren’t reading this post).

The most I’ve paid is about 15 euros at a nice hotel in Spain, and the least I’ve paid is about 25 cents for a do-it-yourself washing machine in Thailand. Most hostels provide laundry services for cheap. If you aren’t sure where to get your laundry done, just ask a local.

Tips for doing your laundry overseas:

  • Always ask for a receipt when you drop off your clothes.
  • Try not to pay until after you get your clothes back and double-check that it’s all there (I’ve never had an issue with missing clothing).
  • Make sure you know the laundromat’s hours and when you can expect to get your clothes back before you drop them off.
A selection of footwear arranged on a carpet, including brown ankle boots, blue and pink running shoes, grey slip-on canvas shoes, brown strappy sandals, and red flip-flops, showcasing a range of options for different activities and climates.

What Shoes to Pack

Choosing which shoes to pack will vary depending on your lifestyle. I usually travel with five pairs, all of which, for my travel style, is essential.

Check this out: Best Travel Shoes According to the Experts

Nice Boots: One thing I learned last year is to never not bring nice boots, ever again. I didn’t pack any last year, and I missed them sorely. A good pair of travel boots are harder to find than you might think. I look for lightweight, super packable, nearly collapsible, comfortable, versatile, neutral color boots. I’ve used BareTraps in the past, and my new favorites are by Dr. Scholl’s; win-win because they are SUPER comfortable to walk all day.

Non-Toms: These are my favorite go-to travel shoes. I call them non-Toms because they are nearly identical to Toms, but they came from Target, which has many fun designs and options. This is my second pair, and I can attest to their quality even though they were only $20. They are great travel shoes because they pack down, they’re lightweight, comfortable, and easy to walk in. These are great everyday go-to travel shoes for women.

Gladiator Sandals: A flat pair of dress-up-able sandals is a must. They pack easily yet can be great for a night out dancing or dressing up in a warm climate. The ones pictured here are also from Target.

Flip Flops: Even if you don’t plan to hit the beach, bring them for the showers, hot springs, and lounging around. They pack small, these are non-negotiable. I am partial to Havaiianas.

Running Shoes (trail runners): As a trail runner and avid hiker, I can’t leave home without these. I’m on my second generation of Brooks Cascadias and they’ve been great for me.

Hiking Boots: I sprained my ankle in the summer of 2016, and as part of my recovery, I had to hike with boots for the first time in my life. I found a pair of super low profile, lightweight boots, almost like running shoes but with stability around the ankles, which is exactly what I needed.

They are called Litewave Explore by The North Face and are available on I definitely recommend them for travel hiking boots.

2017 update: I did not pack these this time and regretted it – the Patagonia weather tested my trail runners greatly!

When packing up your shoes, use thick rubber bands to help collapse them, hold them together, and pack them inside plastic grocery bags. Alternatively, pack socks, electronics, or other items inside them.

A clear plastic bag containing various travel-sized toiletries, including bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and a Dove body wash, neatly organized for easy access.

Carry On Toiletries

Travel toiletries must be 100mL or less (that’s just over 3 oz). The 4 oz rule doesn’t cut it outside the US. Technically this plastic bag is too big; make sure your bottles can fit in a quart-sized bag in case you are asked so at security. These do fit, but I prefer the bigger bag. Favorites and notables from this bunch:

  • Squeezable, silicone travel bottles – These are worth it because they do NOT leak! Here is another size option. Mine are filled with lotion and hair gel.
  • Travel-sized sunscreen (Target) – Of all products, sunscreen is often ridiculously expensive overseas – bring it with you.
  • Travel shampoo/conditioner – Get bottles you can refill or even replace as you go – conditioner can double for shaving cream. Word to the wise, the Pantene bottles pictured here are NOT good bottles, turns out they leak, make sure you get screw tops or put them in the silicone bottles.

Travel hair products: Check out this post for recommendations on the best travel hair products and to find out how I take care of my wild mane on the road.

Toiletries/personal items not pictured:

  • Silk eye mask, the best ear plugs – never without them
  • Small pouch containing earrings, tweezers, mascara, nail clippers, nail file, tiny scissors (yes, they are allowed on planes again and can come in very handy), safety pins, mirror, and tester vials of perfume (great for saving space and smelling good!)
  • Tampons – bring the compact ones to take up less space, and remember you can purchase these abroad so don’t go too crazy stashing them everywhere. Personally, I have an IUD and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made for my traveling lifestyle.

Related: 3 Things to Help You Sleep on the Road

A collection of travel medication supplies on a table, including bottles of Zicam, Airborne, and Equate pain reliever, along with labeled plastic bags containing various pills and chewable tablets for easy organization.

How to Travel with Pills and Medicine

One more way to save space: pack your pills in plastic bags and throw out the original bottles (just make sure they are labeled!). My favorite pills to pack for travel:

  • Melatonin: A natural sleep hormone that I take whenever I’m in a new place where I fear I won’t sleep well. I never leave home without it. I take either 3 or 6mg at bedtime.
  • Airborne: These chewable tablets replace packets of EmergenC that must be taken with water. Great for travel days (airplanes, etc.).
  • Tylenol: Painkillers should never be abused, but should always be in stock.
  • Zicam: If you feel you are getting sick, start taking these, they are magic.
  • NutriBiotic DefensePlus: A natural herb supplement to give the immune system a boost.
  • Optional for preventing/treating stomach issues: digestive enzymes for sensitive stomachs, digestive enzymes for gluten and dairy, shelf-stable probiotics (all of these are specifically recommended by my Naturopath), and anti-diahrreal pills.

Traveling with Prescriptions

If you have a prescription, try to request enough for the entire time you’ll be gone. If you can’t, see if you can get friends or family to bring it if they come to visit. Lastly, pharmacies overseas are your friends!

Don’t be afraid to get what you need overseas.

Related: How to Navigate Pharmacies Overseas

Are you wondering yet how all of this FITS???

Two blue Eagle Creek packing cubes and three green pouches, arranged neatly on a beige carpet next to a tennis ball, showcasing organized travel gear.

Packing Cubes

I never used to use these, but now I am a believer. In that larger packing cube pictured above (tennis ball is included for size), I fit all of the following:

  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 1 down vest
  • 2 hats, gloves, buffs, and bikinis
  • 3 hiking shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved Smartwool

Not only does a packing cube put all of these things in a convenient place for me (you can organize by type of clothing if you want to), but it also compresses them, making them take up less space than they otherwise would. I know some travelers who use bigger packing cubes, which they pull out and use similar to dresser drawers in their accommodations. I use the big packing cubes for clothing and toiletries and the small packing cubes for electronics and accessories.

When you’re trying to pack light, every bit of saved space matters.

General Packing Tips for Carry On

  • Trust me on the packing cubes.
  • Try not to pack your bags all the way full. Give yourself space so that when you pack messy, you’ll still be able to zip them closed.
  • Wear your bulkiest shoes and clothes in transit so you don’t have to carry them, but allow space for them in your pack anyway for those times when you just can’t wear them.
  • If friends or family come to visit you, take advantage of that opportunity to replace items, send things home, or restock on specific toiletries.
  • Bring safety pins; they are a backpacker’s fix-all.
  • Make sure your personal item zips closed; don’t bring something that is open, or even buckled on the top.
  • Versatility is key, both in clothing and gadgets.
  • If it’s not absolutely essential, leave it behind.

Getting it perfectly right is next to impossible, no matter how skilled we are with packing. Just remember that you can almost always buy whatever provisions you will need overseas, even if you have to buy brands you haven’t heard of. Good luck and have fun!

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What did I forget? Ask me in the comments, I will do my best to answer your questions and edit this post going forward.

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33 replies on “Packing for Long Term Travel in a Carry On”

This list is great! Thank you, especially, for the boot recommendation! I just got my Baretraps today! They are unbelievably light and compact. I was pretty bummed thinking about not having boots for a year when they are what I wear for months on end. So excited to pack them for our long-await rtw trip this summer. These are perfect!
Your podcast, blog, and course are helping to keep me grounded as we approach our departure date! Thank you so much!

Hi Jackie, love your podcast! My husband and I leave for SE Asia for three weeks in April. I’m panicking a bit because I just bought a Farpoint 70 (for him) and Fairview 70 (for me) and am worried that we won’t be able to carry them on. Gah! Should I have gotten 55’s instead? So hard to find a straight answer on this. The sucky part is that I can’t return them because I got them with the REI pro discount…ugh. I guess worst case scenario we could sell them and buy the 55’s instead. Help!

Yay this is so great! I’m so happy to help and to hear how it’s working for you, and I’m sure you’ll get used to packing a little lighter. You may even learn to love it! 😉 Let me know how it ends up for you, safe and happy travels!!

Hi Holly! This is a great point. My Farpoint 55 is a S/M and it fits the carry on size restrictions. Even still, on some of the smaller airlines I have to check it because the overhead bins are tiny. 25″ is technically too big for carry on, but as backpacks can squeeze into tight places, airlines often don’t pay as much attention to them as roller bags. It’s a risk and a personal preference whether you want to take it or not, although I definitely know guys who have carried the Farpoint 55 as carry on (larger size than mine) and been fine. Choosing the right backpack and packing it smartly is super tricky, and you probably won’t get it perfect on the first round, but just try to use your best judgment! A lot about bag checking has to do with the mood of the airline personnel as well, so… it’s a gamble in many ways. I’d go for it if I were you.

Hi Jackie, thanks so much for your quick response!
Good point about backpacks being able to be compacted a bit if needed. Especially if I don’t pack it to full capacity (which I realized from your posts is never a good idea, and I’m totally guilty of doing that) there would be better potential to squeeze it into those containers they use at the airport to check your carry-on size.
I feel pretty set on either getting the Osprey Porter 46 or the Farpoint 55. And I think we are about the same size, so I would probably only need the S/M too.
Also, I really like the handbag as seen in your pic in this post and I was about to buy one on the spot with the link you provide (the “weekender handbag” link), but when I follow the link to the Target page, it says “product not available”. Maybe target is out of stock of that particular bag. If you could provide another link to that bag or a similar one, I’m def hoping to purchase it through your blog so you are able to get the commission on that!

Hey Holly! Thanks so much for trying with that link, I appreciate it! It looks like Target doesn’t even carry weekender bags from that brand anymore, at least not online. You could check your local Target, or if you want to order online for ease – I replaced the link with one that looks similar in sturdiness, size, and style from Amazon. It’s the one I would try if I were ordering online. Good luck! Finding just the right combo of bags is super tricky, you just have to give it a try to learn what you like!

OK thanks!! I like the new handbag that you switched out for the old target one in this post. And if I decide to go with the Farpoint 55, I’ll order it through your page. I was at the airport yesterday in Dallas and saw a woman with the Farpoint (not sure if it was 55 or the bigger one) and I asked her a million questions about it. She had no trouble getting on a Southwest flight with it as carry on.
Thanks again!

Hi Jackie,
I’m preparing for a trip now and was planning to pack my prescription meds in individual ziploc bags as your post shows, but I’ve since heard some things that make me question if this is a good idea. I’ve read that you must carry prescriptions in their original bottles and have a letter from your doctor when traveling to certain places. I’m wondering if you’ve ever had a problem with this? From what I’ve read, it can be hit or miss as to whether you will be questioned or not, but I am especially concerned about SE Asia & S. Korea. I have enough prescriptions to last me for the time that I’m gone, so I don’t need to or really want to have to visit a pharmacy overseas, but I also don’t want to carry a bunch of big plastic bottles around with me. Any advice would be appreciated – thanks!

Hi Mallory! Good question – and you’ll be taking a risk if you take them out of the bottles, but you could always just put the labels in the ziploc bags with them so at least you can attempt to explain what they are if you get questioned. The other thing is, if you do get stopped, the worst that could happen is that they make you throw them out (I think), then you’ll have your answer and just need to visit a pharmacy and restock. You shouldn’t run into worse than that. I’d just go for it if I were you. I’ve never had a problem with it ever.

Glad to help! You will always be able to find other travelers when you’re solo, it’s super easy to meet people. If you absolutely must work camping into your travels because of budget, then bring your gear, just make sure it’s super packable! I just stay in the refugios where bedding is provided, I travel for too long to use space for camping gear, I need all the clothes I can fit in my pack.

Hi Kelly! How exciting!
Noooooo, I definitely do not carry anything extra while trekking. On most treks, I would say it’s very very common for local hotels and hostels to have the option of baggage storage. I did this for Machupicchu (left everything I didn’t need in my hostel in Cusco) and in Patagonia multiple times. You want to go as light as possible on the trail, otherwise you will regret it! Especially when you see how much you don’t use.
Regarding camping gear – if you want to carry on, you can probably forget bringing camping gear. That stuff requires more space and weight. If I were you, I’d pack just like I did, so you’re ready for any adventure without carrying anything extra 😉
Have the best time!

Hi Jackie, I am traveling through Europe for 2 1/2 months this summer and was looking into the Osprey Porter 46 until I came across your post. It’s important to me that I can carry-on my backpack, however the dimensions for the Osprey Fairpoint 55 do not seem to meet most carry-on requirements. Have you flown any budget airlines in Europe such as Ryanair, EasyJet, or Veuling using your Fairpoint 55? I’m just concerned that I would have to check my bag. Thank you!!!

If you carry it with the small daypack attached, it might be too big for small airlines, especially if you have another carry on as well, but this is a gamble, because technically it is inside carry on requirements, it just depends how full you stuff it and wide it sticks out with the daypack!

That shelf liner provided me with the grip I needed for yoga and it packed small, but it’s not ideal for a long trip because it started to fall apart. It lasted me a few months and it did the trick though!

What is your thoughts on travel jackets? I found this one on amazon Women Travel Jacket Hoodie 10 Pockets Travel Pillow Eye Mask Face Mask Gloves

I do put one pair of shoes in the shoulder bag, either the flats or I squish the brown boots into it, both are light and packable. But besides one pair of shoes and a sweatshirt and scarf, all of the rest of the clothes and shoes go in the big pack!

Amazing that all that fits, We are going to spend a year traveling in different climates. I am going to have to get my stuff out and see. What do you take to sleep in? Also, it looks like a fair amount of cotton. I have always heard it is best not to travel with cotton because it takes so long to dry. But the synthetics get so stinky!

I love cotton, I have to do laundry about every two weeks no matter what. I sleep in the cotton leggings and a long sleeved cotton shirt. In hot climates I have a tiny pair of cotton shorts, and I sleep in whatever tank top or cotton t-shirt is clean!

Hi Jackie,
A few questions for you in regards to the Farpoint 55.
1. Am I correct in thinking that you don’t use the 15L daypack and use the purse instead? If you do use it, how do you make it onto the stricter airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, Alitalia, etc? Last international trip I took, my carryon was weighed and I was forced to check it.
2. If you do use the daypack, does that count as your personal item or do you attach it to the top of the 40L part and it is allowed on?
I ask because I am planning a trip to Italy for my honeymoon and I definitely want to carryon as opposed to checking bags. I was burned last time by lost luggage that took a day to get back to me.
As an aside, any information you can provide on Alitalia vs. Air France or possibly other carriers you have taken to Europe would be greatly appreciated. My fiancee, after Googling, is concerned with Alitalia given the bad reviews, but it is our only nonstop option and it is the cheapest.
P.S. We love your show and listen to it together. Glad you’re coming out with new episodes.

Hey Josh!
1. I use the whole thing, I keep the 15L attached to the main compartment during travel, and carry the shoulder bag as my personal item. I have not flown with it on Ryanair specifically, but on other small airlines, I have either detached it once I’m on the plane to be able to stuff it into the smaller overhead compartments, or I have gate checked it where they give it right back to you when you get off the plane.
I can’t personally comment on those two airlines, as I don’t normally fly them! I’m sorry I can’t help with that part! I usually fly Star Alliance, not because they are the best, but because that’s where my loyalty and miles are.
Hope that’s somewhat helpful. Have a wonderful trip!!! Happy honeymoon!

Hi Jackie,
Thank you so much for your response. Immediately after I hit “send” it hit me that you are a Star Alliance regular. Thank you for clarifying on the Farpoint. I think I’m going to take the plunge on it.
My fiancee and I are listening to your “results” podcast with Angie as I type this. We have listened to it a few times and we are so excited to go. I told my fiancee that you responded to my comment and she burst out “really!?!?! Jackie responded?!?!?” We’re so glad you’re back and the most recent Bensons podcast was awesome. We are planning a little over two weeks in Europe, the grand majority in Europe and my fiancee wants to stop in France for a couple of days just to see the Eiffel Tower.

We are being gypped 2 liters! No wonder it feels so small 😉 Cheers to packing light, it’s hard, but it’s worth it.
(And for clarity to anyone confused by this – the detachable day pack adds the other 15L while the main compartment holds 40L)

Great list! I recently did my very first trip for 10 days in a only a carryon. So hard when you have film equipment. Packing cubes are on my list to get and one of my favorite things to have on my bag is Melatonin. Thanks for sharing!

That is precisely why I stopped carrying around a digital SLR, it’s one of those sacrifices I have chosen to make, even though it’s tough! And a huge YES to the packing cubes, I think you can’t truly understand how much they help until you try them.

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