Thursday, 30 April 2015

Real Girl Travels - All Inclusive Vacation with only a Carry-On

Last month I took a vacation to the sunny destination of Cayo Coco, Cuba. I was going on an all inclusive resort with a great group of people for my brother in law's 40th birthday. This was my sixth time going to Cuba, but my first time going to Cayo Coco. We stayed at a fantastic resort, Memories Flamenco Beach Resort. Having a pretty good idea of what to expect, I knew exactly how to pack. I am one of those weird people who really enjoys packing, so I decided to challenge myself with this trip and pack using only a carry-on. My friend Lindsay told me I was crazy, but I committed and did it anyways, and I've decided to share my packing secrets.

This is also a response to some of the comments on Ed's post: Packing for a Vacation: Carry-On Suitcase Only that pondered if a "real women" could complete the carry-on only feat. Well, here it is!
(My cat Pickler decided to help as well)

First, I planned out my outfits for the week. I needed daytime and nighttime outfits, but obviously with a carry-on I was limited on space. I chose pieces that could mix and match with each other easily. I then tried them all on and played around with them as any normal human would do when outfit planning.

10 outfits with the potential for 15 combinations.

Now that my outfits were planned, the packing part began. Here's a list of things to consider while packing with just a carry-on:
  1. Roll your clothes, don't fold. You can fit more that way.
  2. Use space wisely. I used zip lock bags with my underwear and bathing suit bottoms rolled up small and put them in my shoes. No wasted space allowed.
  3. Liquids restriction. This is the only place I ran into problems. Dollar stores have great travel packs that include 100ml bottles so that you can fill it with your own shampoo and conditioner. Problem solved.
  4. Weight. My next problem. After packing I weighed my carry-on. We flew with Sunwing, who have restrictions on size and weight for carry-on luggage. Total allowable weight is 5kg. I was at 7.5kgs at my first weighing. I re-evaluated what I was bringing and took out the heaviest items. After I eliminated two pairs of shoes and took out my gifts for the hotel maids, I was sitting right at 5kg. Mission accomplished.  
Here's my step-by-step guide to packing your carry-on:

When travel day arrived I was ready to go. I brought a large purse that I could also use as a beach bag, since you're allowed to bring a purse along with your carry-on. I took advantage of this rule and used my purse to pack a couple heavier items to ensure my carry-on was under weight. It came in at 4.6kg. Again, mission accomplished. 

This wasn't my first trip with taking just a carry-on, but it was my first week-long trip. it's a great way to save time, stress and potential head aches (like if the airline lost your luggage). This trip I was particularly lucky as my roommate, the aforementioned Lindsey, is a huge over packer and literally brought everything a girl could ever need. While I was packed with everything I could need, I definitely took advantage of her curling iron. I admit, I cheated a little. 
I would definitely travel with just a carry-on again, it's easy, just takes a little extra planning.


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