spruced by marlene

How to travel with a carry-on only (and why I’ve taken to wearing a bum bag)

By Marlene | Published: 1. August 2019

Paid partnership with Maison Héroïne

My parents still like telling the story of the time I almost missed the train to holiday camp in Denmark, because I was dragging a heavy suitcase behind me. Things didn’t really improve after that. I have gone travelling with idiotic amounts of beauty products, dresses that I didn’t even want to wear at home and at least three more pairs of shoes than were strictly necessary.

Three things happened that converted me to a carry-on only traveller.

  1. For the past five years I have mostly travelled with a smal child, so when I’m on my own, I like to have as little stuff with me as possible.
  2. I’ve been going to Munich on business for a week every few moths for quite a while now and even though I take the train more often than the plane these days: Having only hand luggage with me makes the journey so much more relaxed, uncomplicated and quicker.
  3. I’ve never missed anything upon arrival that I thought of as possibly indispensable at home (apart from a phone charger, which I forget regularly).

For this post I packed a carry-on just as I would pack it for a business trip, but I apply the same rules on city trips or even a beach holiday.

• I always start with a handwritten packing list that has even the most obvious things on it like underwear, chargers or passport. For one, because I like ticking things of lists and secondly because I really forget bringing chargers often. The list (and laying out clothes to plan the different outfits) might take more time than throwing everything haphazardly into the suitcase, but saves a lot of stress later.

• Not a challenge when it comes to my wardrobe, but I try to stick to one colour scheme. Limiting yourself to pieces that are versatile and have multiple purposes also works when your wardrobe is a little more colourful than blackwhitebluegrey.

• I don’t take anything that falls under the categorie of „You should/could/must wear that one day“. That one day will not occur on this trip, I promise.

• No materials that crease easily. Because: Has it ever worked getting creases out of silk blouses by hanging them in hot shower steam? Not for me.

• I might bring a dress that I haven’t worn yet and want to debut in a new place but generally, I add interest to the looks with jewelry, a scarf or fancy shoes (fancy doesn’t have to mean heeels, it could also be a kick-ass pair of trainers).

• In my book Woher hat sie das travel pro Karolin Langfeldt says: „The ideal travelling outfit is one that doesn’t beep. That means: No block heels, no belts, no jeans, just cotton that will enable me to just glide though the metal detectors.“ My variation of the no-beep outfit is a knitted dress like this one from Totême, that is incredibly comfortable while also makes you feel put together and can by styled in a ton of different ways.

• The knitted dress DOES count as an outfit to be worn at your destination. The only time a „just for the journey“ outfit makes sense is when you’re on a private jet.

• What I hadn’t yet learned was not bringing along a massive handbag that wasn’t necessary, yet still filled with stuff. So when bag label Maison Héroïne asked me, what I thought of as my Perfect Summer Bag, I immediately thought: One that travels easily, whether you’re in your own city or going far away. One like the Carrie. You really can’t fit a lot into it, but it still has enough room for all that you might need in the plane, on a city walk or a tour through the night: Small wallet for coins and cards, earphones, phone, keys, lipbalm, gum, done.

A bigger wallet, calendar and a book fit into the carry-on, as well as a foldable leather tote. I pretty much always take my Nora from James Castle.

What I really like about the Carrie a lot besides the chic gold hardware is that you can wear it three different ways – as a shoulder bag, as a clutch and as a bum bag, which might make it the least touristy looking, yet practical travelling handbag of all time.

Multipurpose also applies to cosmetics. I’m a big fan of the Charlotte Tilbury Beach Sticks that I use as blush and on my lips (my colour is Moon Beach and it’s one of those products that I use until there isn’t a smidgen of it left). I fill liquids like day cream, lotions and shampoons, even washing detergent for those quick hand washes in the hotelroom sink, into small containers that I bought from Muji, take them in travel sizes or simply use up samples that I’ve collected.

• Life-changing not just for travelling: a menstruation cup instead of tampons. I recently started using one from Einhorn, the Papperlacup, and have been converted from highly doubtful whether it would work for me to completely convinced.

• For longer journeys: comfy socks, a cashmere scarf and a sleep mask.

• Now to the business of packing: Heavy things go in the bottom, lighter things on top. I fold my jeans and trousers. Sweaters, t-shirts, pyjamas, underwear and work-out clothes I roll. Blouses and delicate dresses are folded on top, as well as a „goes with everything“ blazer (I don’t even need to put it on my packing list anymore, because I never forget it: my Luxat Blazer from James Castle x Ohhhmhhh).

• By the way: My suitcase is from Away. I really wanted to find it wholly unnecessary to have a suitecase with a charging station, separate compartments and a wash bag, but it has become completely indispensable to me since I got it.

• Even if you can’t see all of them in the pictures, I limited myself to 12 pieces for this trip: light jeans, dark jeans, black trousers; black blazer; white shirt; Midi skirt in beige, polka dot dress, knitted dress; white t-shirt and tank top, black camisol, plus work-out clothes, pyjama, underwear and socks, as well as three pairs of shoes. For a summer trip, I would change the smarter dresses for something easier and the dark jeans for white ones. In the winter I would add thicker jumpers and sturdier shoes.

• And if there’s any room left: Take something you don’t need for anything other than putting you in a good mood – a small scented candle that reminds you of home, a dress that you might not have the occasion for, but will wear anyway or a face mask that you never have the time to do at home.

Paid partnership with Maison Héroïne. However, it was my idea how to present the topic and bag; everything within the text and pictures is my personal choice and editorial voice. The post also contains affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission every time you click through to buy.

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