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Can I do a month long trip with just a carry-on?

Can I do a month long trip with just a carry-on?

Old May 1, 18, 4:44 pm
  #1  
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Can I do a month long trip with just a carry-on?

Hi everyone,

Trip details

I am starting a month-long trip at the end of the week hitting five continents over a span of four weeks - mainly hitting corporate meetings & conferences. Because I will be taking 18 flights during that time, I am trying to avoid checking bags (30 min wait * 18, no thank you).

The coldest part of the trip will be 49F (9C) and the hottest part of the trip will be 80F (27C).

What I am packing (for a carry-on)
- 7 work dresses
- 3 casual dresses
- 1 black blazer for a more formal occasion
- 2 neutral color cardigans
- 2 t-shirts
- 1 jeans
- 2 flats - one black, one nude color
- 1 sandals
- 1 gym outfit (mainly hotel gyms)
- 1 sneakers
- 1 bathing suit (mainly hotel pools)
- 5 bras & underwear
- 4 socks
- 1 crossbody
- 1 clutch
- makeup bag that fits in 3-1-1
- 1 large kate spade tote that can be used to move stuffs in between cities, and used as a day-to-day purse.
- 1 surface pro

Plan of action
- laundry once a week
- stick with dresses when possible to minimize space
.......

Any advice on my list of items / how to pack for a long trip in a most effective way?
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Old May 2, 18, 4:40 am
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It should definitely be do-able. I have done this before without any problems and what has helped me the most is using compression packing cubes. I tend to have to change hotels very often, so it also helps with the constant packing/unpacking (in addition to saving space). I would also suggest taking lightweight skirts/blouses instead of all dresses, as it allows for more variety (mix and match), so you wouldnít need as many.
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Old May 2, 18, 8:34 am
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I would add 2 scarves and cut down on 2-3 dresses. Scarves for variety AND warmth as needed, I tend to wear bland neutrals and accessorize with scarves (also one of the few souvenirs I'll shop for when traveling ;-)

My personal choice would also be a slim black pant over a jean - more flexible to dress up or down, depending on fabric, usually dry more quickly than denim if it rains or you do hotel sink laundry.

Also, while I sleep naked at home, I hate to do that when I'm in a hotel traveling alone. I usually bring 2 sets of gym clothes and alternate them as lounge/sleepwear and gym wear, washing each on alternate nights. You might not want lounge/sleepwear, but I like to have something flexible. Another alternative would be a comfortable knit pant I could fly in (but still look nicer than "sweatpants") and lounge/sleep in hotel in. I don't like traveling in jeans or dresses, though.

Have fun!
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Old May 2, 18, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by samwise6222 View Post
Hi everyone,

Trip details

I am starting a month-long trip at the end of the week hitting five continents over a span of four weeks - mainly hitting corporate meetings & conferences. Because I will be taking 18 flights during that time, I am trying to avoid checking bags (30 min wait * 18, no thank you).

The coldest part of the trip will be 49F (9C) and the hottest part of the trip will be 80F (27C).

What I am packing (for a carry-on)
- 7 work dresses
- 3 casual dresses
- 1 black blazer for a more formal occasion
- 2 neutral color cardigans
- 2 t-shirts
- 1 jeans
- 2 flats - one black, one nude color
- 1 sandals
- 1 gym outfit (mainly hotel gyms)
- 1 sneakers
- 1 bathing suit (mainly hotel pools)
- 5 bras & underwear
- 4 socks
- 1 crossbody
- 1 clutch
- makeup bag that fits in 3-1-1
- 1 large kate spade tote that can be used to move stuffs in between cities, and used as a day-to-day purse.
- 1 surface pro

Plan of action
- laundry once a week
- stick with dresses when possible to minimize space
.......

Any advice on my list of items / how to pack for a long trip in a most effective way?
I'm having trouble imaging 10 dresses fitting a bag small enough to be a carry-on, let alone the rest of the stuff. Unfortunately I can imagine what that 1 set of gym clothes would smell like, I do laundry for a teenage boy. And only 5 sets of underwear when you're doing laundry once a week?
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Old May 2, 18, 9:36 am
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Thank you everyone for your feedback

I am
1) cutting down # of dresses to 5 total
2) increasing # of undies
3) bring a pencil skirt + 3 tops that would go with it
4) added 1 scarf.
5) added one sleep shirt
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Old May 2, 18, 11:25 am
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When I was working and used to do this sort of thing, I never checked bags and did a lot of (hotel) laundry on the road. To cut my packing list down to the absolute bare minimum, I would plan out an outfit for every single day of the trip and also plan precisely when I was going to do laundry. In this planning I'd consider likely weather on each day, what I'd be doing on each day (meetings? flight? weekend sightseeing? long car ride? etc.), whom I would be with so they wouldn't necessarily see me wearing the same clothes over and over, and when I could send in some laundry. Hotels charge by the piece, so if you want to get one item cleaned at a time, you can do that--although you can only do laundry if you're in a hotel for two nights in a row, and some hotels don't have laundry service on Sundays.

Your updated packing list seems good to me although I would cut down on the bras...on a trip like this I'd bring two and just wear them more than once. I'd also think about your outfits for non-work days when you may be sightseeing or whatever. For meetings, my standard M.O. was to bring work clothes that would all match with each other and then bring just one pair of pumps that would go with everything--I had a "brown shoe" ensemble, a "navy shoe" ensemble, a "black shoe" ensemble, and a "bone shoe" ensemble The absolute hardest thing was jamming my sneakers in the bag, because they're bulky...I am one of those people that never wears sneakers except for running/working out, so I wouldn't wear them for the flight.
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Old May 2, 18, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
When I was working and used to do this sort of thing, I never checked bags and did a lot of (hotel) laundry on the road. To cut my packing list down to the absolute bare minimum, I would plan out an outfit for every single day of the trip and also plan precisely when I was going to do laundry.
What happened when the unexpected happens, like your colleague knocking over his coffee cup and it ending up in your lap?

When I have to pack the bare minimum, usually because I'm on Amtrak and will be carrying/rolling the bag long distances, I always include the outfits for the schedule + 1 "just in case" extra.

Also, only 2 bras for a month wouldn't work for me. Mine are hand wash, air dry, so sending them out for laundering them isn't a problem, but they do need at least 24 hours to air dry, especially the all cotton ones.
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Old May 2, 18, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
What happened when the unexpected happens, like your colleague knocking over his coffee cup and it ending up in your lap?
In 18 years of constant international travel, nothing like that ever happened. YMMV.
Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
Also, only 2 bras for a month wouldn't work for me. Mine are hand wash, air dry, so sending them out for laundering them isn't a problem, but they do need at least 24 hours to air dry, especially the all cotton ones.
Yes, mine are hand wash, air dry too but I donít need wash my bras after every wearing. Two is plenty for me.
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Old May 2, 18, 7:36 pm
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Travel lint roller & small fine mist spray bottle to extend the time between laundering separates which you aren't wearing to the gym. The temperature range is mostly cool enough to avoid sweating so you could re-wear items if you need to go more than 7/8 days between laundry.
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Old May 3, 18, 12:44 am
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
In 18 years of constant international travel, nothing like that ever happened. YMMV.
You've never once had a spill, smudge or stain while traveling? Brushed up against something dirty or sticky?

It must be some bargain with the devil for that kind of luck.
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Old May 3, 18, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
You've never once had a spill, smudge or stain while traveling? Brushed up against something dirty or sticky?

It must be some bargain with the devil for that kind of luck.
Sure I have, but never anything that I couldnít deal with while still adhering to my bare-minimum packing policy! Just donít bring white clothing
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Old May 3, 18, 12:16 pm
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2 years ago, I went to a conference in Orlando - was gone 4 nights. I packed 2 bras. One BROKE on the first day of the conference. Fortunately, the other bra was nude so I could wear it with all the tops I had packed (I usually pack one nude, one black). I am not an easy-to-find size, even had I been close to one of the shopping malls in Orlando, there's no certainty I would have been able to find a new bra. So I'm a little paranoid about bras. Esp if I'm overseas. I can't find ANYTHING in my size in Asia except a scarf ;-)

I try to pack light, I plan to do laundry when I travel - but for certain necessities I cannot replace while traveling, I might insist on a little redundancy. Also I don't tend to bring white shirts...... :-)
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Old May 6, 18, 3:05 am
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5 Weeks, 4 Continents

I did five weeks, four continents carry-on a few years back. It included a five day conference where I presented twice, a banquet and a formal dinner. As I'm 5'8", size 24 and take a size 10 shoe you should be able to do it

The answer for me was the choice of fabrics, they had to wash in the room and dry overnight - wicking supplex or nylon mesh for most tops and bottoms, a fine merino long sleeve jumper and cardigan for the colder bit, two unstructured jackets, one reversible, with a reversible skirt to match and for the banquet one long jersey dress that afterwards took me to restaurants if clean, or became my nightdress for the couple of days after I had worn it. Silky narrow black slacks and top with discreet sparkles served for the dinner, as well as for more formal restaurants and theatre. Strappy purple sandals that I can walk miles in went with them.

I also had a short black dress that could double as a jacket or tunic over pants, straight and wide-leg pants, half a dozen tops (4 short sleeves, 2 with 3/4 sleeves), light leather slip on flats that did for sightseeing, travelling and the gym, leggings that did triple value for layering in the cold, gym and sleepwear and three camisoles for layering, sleeping and gym. Jewelled thongs (flip-flops) rounded out my footwear.

I also had a purple pashmina and a gauzy print sarong, that serves as a wrap, scarf or to go to the pool. Six pairs of light microfibre knickers, two wired but not moulded or padded bras ( plus the pull on nylon I travelled and exercised in) and one pair of fine merino and one pair nylon sox were sufficient undies.

Temps were 4C to 38C (40F to 100F), but it was mostly temperate to hot. For a similar trip with much cool weather I added a pair of ankle boots and swapped in a second merino long sleeve, t-shirt and cami.
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Last edited by OzBarb; May 6, 18 at 3:22 am Reason: adding US translations
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Old May 6, 18, 11:39 pm
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Originally Posted by OzBarb View Post
I did five weeks, four continents carry-on a few years back. It included a five day conference where I presented twice, a banquet and a formal dinner. As I'm 5'8", size 24 and take a size 10 shoe you should be able to do it

The answer for me was the choice of fabrics, they had to wash in the room and dry overnight - wicking supplex or nylon mesh for most tops and bottoms, a fine merino long sleeve jumper and cardigan for the colder bit, two unstructured jackets, one reversible, with a reversible skirt to match and for the banquet one long jersey dress that afterwards took me to restaurants if clean, or became my nightdress for the couple of days after I had worn it. Silky narrow black slacks and top with discreet sparkles served for the dinner, as well as for more formal restaurants and theatre. Strappy purple sandals that I can walk miles in went with them.

I also had a short black dress that could double as a jacket or tunic over pants, straight and wide-leg pants, half a dozen tops (4 short sleeves, 2 with 3/4 sleeves), light leather slip on flats that did for sightseeing, travelling and the gym, leggings that did triple value for layering in the cold, gym and sleepwear and three camisoles for layering, sleeping and gym. Jewelled thongs (flip-flops) rounded out my footwear.

I also had a purple pashmina and a gauzy print sarong, that serves as a wrap, scarf or to go to the pool. Six pairs of light microfibre knickers, two wired but not moulded or padded bras ( plus the pull on nylon I travelled and exercised in) and one pair of fine merino and one pair nylon sox were sufficient undies.

Temps were 4C to 38C (40F to 100F), but it was mostly temperate to hot. For a similar trip with much cool weather I added a pair of ankle boots and swapped in a second merino long sleeve, t-shirt and cami.
Spend maybe 10, maybe 30 minutes waiting for a bag, or hours repeatedly doing hand laundry and wondering how long it will take to dry? Sleep in a dirty dress for a couple nights?

There has never been a time when I've regretted checking a bag. It really isn't that a big a deal, and you don't get an express pass to heaven for traveling carry-on only.
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Old May 7, 18, 12:07 am
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Stuff to consider.. will you be in a place more than 2 nights so you can get laundry back before you leave. If you are doing it yourself will it dry in time?

after a month you're going to hate everything in your case.
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