I am an overpacker.  I am the girl who brings two suitcase for a weekend trip while everyone else brings a small duffle bag.  This way I lessen my travel anxiety by ensuring I have MORE than enough for my trip.  Southwest is also my go to cause I ALWAYS need to check a bag.  Before I went to Rome I decided to make a change.  My Rome trip required three flights each way and I worried that my bag would get lost in the shuffle.  So I set out on a mission, to pack everything in a carry on suitcase and small bag.   Here is How to “Overpack” like a PRO,  a rough count of all that I brought and I how I managed to do it!

The Rules

Select your smallest suitcase and keep your big suitcase in the closet.  Tell yourself that EVERYTHING you need can fit in this suitcase.  See this as a logic puzzle that you must solve, fitting everything you need in this suitcase.  But here is the best part, you can cheat!  You can take “puzzle pieces” out if they do not fit.  I received this adorable Traveler’s Club carry-on suitcase for Christmas.  It is my favorite color and I was determined to use it!

  • Hair products and tools really fill up my suitcase when I travel.  For my natural haired sisters, go for a low maintenance protective style like braids for a trip.  That way all you need is oil and a scarf!
  • I managed with two pairs of shoes for the week, black boots and tennis shoes.   I fought the urge to throw in a pair that matched just one outfit better.  The trick here is to go for shoes that match several outfits.  If an outfit requires an incompatible pair of shoes, consider dumping that outfit!
  • I did not believe in the magic of this until I did it, rolling clothes works! I rolled the bottom layer and put items flat on time.
  • Stuff small things like socks and t-shirts into your shoes especially if they are winter boots.
  • Resist the urge to throw your undies in the suitcase without any thought.  Neatly fold them and surprisingly they take up less room!
  • Stock up on travel sized items because they save space and ensure you will make it through security.
  • Go with a minimum makeup routine! I did foundation, mascara and blush for my trip to cut down on stuff and time.
  • Wear your heaviest and bulkiest stuff on the plane to save room in your bag.
  • Go for simple outfits that require just two pieces.  Since I was traveling in the winter this was important. I went for thick standalone sweaters versus thin shirts that required a jacket or sweater.
  • Remember, you can buy things when you arrive, so there is no need to take your whole closet!

What I Brought

How to Overpack like a PRO-3

Like I said earlier, overpacking is my thing so I was thrilled to learn that I could fit all this crap in my suitcase and still have room for souvenirs.  I was gone for like seven nights and had about three travel days with the time changes.  Add in there the fact that it was winter, I had to be strategic about what I packed.  Here is a rough count of what I managed to fit in my two bags.

  • I packed about 7-8 pairs of leggings/jeggings.  I went for leggings because they are easier to pack then jeans. My jeggings are a stretchy denim allowing me to wear them twice during the trip.  Typical cotton leggings, in my opinion do not wear well without washing.  I did reuse my denim jeggings though!
  • Two dresses, including a sweatshirt dress and a maxi dress. I threw in a pair of tights to pair with the dresses.
  • My rule for undies is count out as many as you need for the trip and then add 10 more! LOL you can never have enough undies.   Bras on the other hand, you can pack less of those.
  • I packed two sets of pajamas because a week just seemed like a long time to be stuck with one set.  See travel anxiety!
  • I included one jacket to layer with the few t-shirts I brought.
  • In terms of shirts/blouses.  I brought about seven and did not wear a few.

The Takeaway

How to Overpack like a PRO-1

Here is how I maneuvered through the airport. Suitcase plus a small carry-on!

If I, the queen of overpacking, can manage this then anyone else can.  I did have to check it on the way back though because I picked up a bottle of wine from a winery tour, but without that wine I would have been good!