How to Pack for Carry-on Only International Travel: Paris!

How to Pack for Carry-on Only International Travel: Paris!

When I travel, I always tailor my clothing for the occasion. Work? Filming? Traveling? I want to be comfortable but I also want my clothing to be appropriate for what I’m up to. No matter how long the trip is, from a couple days to even a month long stay, I almost always opt to do a carry-on only situation.

Why Carry-On Only is Better Even When Traveling Internationally

1. I can carry everything myself. 

Especially when traveling solo, I want to make sure I can lift all my items myself into the overhead bin on the plane, tote it along to catch a train. It’s polite to not need some stranger to help you (and contrary to assumptions, the flight attendants aren’t there to specially help you carry your bags!)

Plus, I just don’t want to be caught in a situation where I’m alone, with three suitcases looking for a cart. It would make me a HUGE target for theft. (Trust me, I’ve personally witnessed a man steal an entire suitcase from a woman off a train in Cannes, France. Learn how to protect your belongings in this post.)

2. It forces me to ditch items I wouldn’t use 

It’s always easy to think that maybe I would use this-item-I-don’t-even-use-at-home-but-maybe-I-will-use-it-while-on-vacation. Because, well. Vacation!

While there are situations where this may be the case - such as sun products for a tropical getaway, or even a mini-safety kit for emergencies - if you’re not the type of person to use dry shampoo at home, you’re probably not going to miss it in Paris.

Be real with what you absolutely need and will actually use.  

3. Streamline your flight experience 

You don’t need to go to the desk to check in your bags. You don’t have to pay to check the bags. After the flight you don’t need to wait at the carousel to pick up the bags. You don’t need to worry if your bag got lost or missed the transfer.

It’s just less stress overall!


All I'm bringing to Paris: A carry on luggage and my mini black anti-theft waterproof crossbody.

All I'm bringing to Paris: A carry on luggage and my Mini Crossbody with Chain Strap

Here’s my top tips on how to keep your belongings light and carry-on friendly.

Photo by Paul Dufour on Unsplash

1. Check the weather & look at the activities you’ll be doing beforehand.

Keep an eye on the weather in the upcoming week, or google what the weather will be like in the area during that particular season.

This way, you don’t end up in a situation where you have only tshirts and shorts during rainy season. (A bag that's anti-theft AND waterproof may come in handy during unpredictable weather!) Also, look at the activities you’ll be doing.

If you’re mostly touring cities and walking a lot, bring sensible shoes. Maybe you can go swimming at the hotel, but unless it’s a beach trip, you probably don’t need 5 pairs of bikinis. This way, every piece you bring will be utilized.

2. Wear the heaviest clothing items onto the plane

This gives you more room in the bag and keep useful items close to you on the plane incase you need that jacket or scarf. This usually works out the best for me anyway because I’m always freezing on the plane.

3. If you’re not working, ditch the electronics!

  •  If you are working, of course you should bring your laptop, but if not, consider ditching it. A lot of people might worry that they’ll be bored, but if you’re out and about, you might not even miss it.
  • Most things that you might want to do can always be done on the phone, like looking up directions or researching where to eat. If you still want a screen around, consider bringing a smaller tablet or an e-reader instead.

    4. Remember you can always do laundry there

    Whether your trip is 6 weeks or 1 week, you can get away with the same about of clothing. Why? Because you can always wash your clothes there.

    Even if you can’t find a laundromat, even a little scrub in the shower can go a long way.

    5. Put toiletries in smaller containers

    Be aware of the size of any liquids, especially toiletries that you are packing, because of the 3 -1 -1 rule. Figure out what you can live without, and what you can repackage in smaller containers.

    • If you do wear makeup, look at the activities you’re doing, be realistic about what kind of make up look you want to do, and only bring items you want for those specific activities.
    • If you like changing up your makeup look a lot, challenge yourself to do more with less, with multipurpose items or being creative- like using a highlighter and bronzer as eyeshadow.
    • Keep in mind if you’re staying at a hotel, you can always use the stuff provided, like shower gel and shampoo.
    • If you need a LOT of something, like if you’re heading to somewhere sunny and want to make sure you have plenty of SPF, remember that you can always buy sunblock at your destination.

    6. Think about your routine and the activities of each day so you don’t forget anything important

    In order to not forget any items, I like to think through everything I’ll be doing from leaving my house, throughout the trip, to the flight back.

    During this, I think about what I want to wear, and what items I will bring for each step of the way and write them down in a list. This way, I don’t forget the headphones I want for the plane ride, the PJs to wear at night, or the little black bag I want to wear to dinner. 


    Karin is the co-founder of Arden Cove and co-creator of the Anti-Theft Waterproof Crossbodies - bags created for women who want all the practicality and safety features without compromising in style. Shop


    • Mona liza

      Perhaps more so than any other European city, the mere mention of Paris is synonymous with a wealth of world-famous features. With a abundance of landmarks, museums and cathedrals to visit, from the iconic Eiffel Tower, to the gothic Notre Dame to the Louvre and gardens galore.

      Dune Buggy Dubai

    • Gina L. Pogol

      “Anyway.” Not “anyways.” Sorry but I am an editor and if you want to be a writer it can’t hurt to use good grammar.

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