16 Days in a Carry-on: Confessions of an Over-Packer

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It all started a few months ago…

Steve and I had just booked out flights to Europe. Then he turned to me and said, "I want to do this trip in a carry-on". I laughed. "No way in hell", I responded. We had just booked a 16 day trip and he thought our luggage would fit in an overhead compartment? Our honeymoon, just eight day trip, required a checked bag, plus carry-ons. So how could a trip twice as long be condensed to a carry-on each? Also, I am a textbook over-packer.

Steve started to pull up articles and YouTube videos about packing for a multi-week trip in a carry-on. We spent a couple hours watching and reading. After some time, not only did I start to believe we could do this, but I also saw the benefits. Currently, the plan is to hit 3 countries, (maybe 4! stay tuned) and I liked the idea of not checking a bag. It would make things a lot easier, especially in a foreign country, to always have our luggage with us. Laundry wouldn’t be difficult to do either because we are visiting friends during the second leg of our trip. It all started to seem conceivable.

Today, we are flying out to our first stop, and I am pleased to report, we both have one suitcase and one backpack. How did I do it? Well for Steve it was easy, but for me, it took quite a bit of planning and some lessons learned along the way.

Here is how a classic over-packer condensed her suitcase and curbed her need to pack EVERYTHING!

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1. Get used to the idea early.

If Steve had approached me with this idea last week, rather than several months ago, it would have been a hard no. I would have been mentally packed and not prepared to take on the task. But over the months, I've had time to plan accordingly and do proper research.

2. Get real with your plans.

The reason our honeymoon required a checked bag, was because I over-packed. I had 9 pairs of shoes and at least 2 outfits for each day, including eight dresses. (I would like to note, I did, wear all eight.) Realistically, I did not need all of that. But the purpose of the trip was to relax and enjoy our vacation. I had the luxury of changing outfits midday and wearing high heels to dinner. This trip however, is a different story. We will be on the move from sunrise to way beyond sunset. For this trip, I need comfortable footwear and an outfit that would work all day.  Once I realized this, half of what I would have brought in a checked bag was cut.

3. Check the weather.

In the week leading up to the trip, I monitored the weather in each city we'd be visiting. I was using this to help plan the clothes I would bring. Paying attention to the weather allowed me to make smarter choices in the clothes I was bringing on the trip.

4. Remember you can always buy something there.

Assuming your traveling to a developed country, you'll be able to get anything you need in the hotel lobby or a local drugstore.

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5. Don't skimp on what's important to you

When carry-ons were first discussed, Steve told me I shouldn't bring my hairdryer because it's bulky. I said no, because I use a hairdryer everyday to style my bangs and I don’t like using hotel dryers.

6. Only pack for one week

Let's be honestly, you cannot pack 16 outfits in a carry-on suitcase. You can, however, back for about a week. So do just that and toss in a few detergent pods.

7. Do you wear it at home?

If you don't wear it at home, you won't wear it when you travel. Pick clothing items you know you are comfortable wearing out.

8. Don't go shopping!

I resolved to do this early. I knew if I bought something, I would feel obligated to bring it on the trip. I decided it would be best to save money leading up to the trip. We have a lot of actives planned, but I wouldn't mind doing a little shopping over there as well. I would much rather purchase something while I'm in Europe and bring it back to the states, than the other way around. 

9. If you're worried, do a practice pack.

A week before we left, I did a quick practice pack to make sure everything I was planning on taking would fit. It was worth it because it assured me that I didn’t have too much.

Below I have put together an abridge list of what I am packing for clothing and accessories.

• 8 tops

• 2 pairs of jeans

• 2 pairs of shorts

• 8-10 pairs of underwear

• 8-10 pairs of socks

• 2 pair of shoes

• 2 bras

• 2 jackets

• Leggings

• 1 sports bra

• 1 of each beauty item (ie: 1 eye shadow palette, 1 concealer, 1 blush, etc.)

• Minimal jewelry

• 1 Hair dryer

• 1 Curling wand

 All of this is currently packed in my carry-on suitcase with room to spare!

To keep up with our travels for the next two weeks, make sure you're following me on Instagram and check out the hashtag #KSpinningTravels to stay up-to-date! 

 As always, thank you for reading,

XOXO Helen

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Little Rock, AR KSxLR

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As you may have noticed on my Instagram, a few weeks ago Steve and I traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas for a quick trip to visit some college friends. We had a wonderful time and spent the majority of the trip outside.

The trip started with different travel plans. Steve was already in Dallas for a work trip, so he flew directly to Little Rock. He got in few hours before me. I left Kansas City after work and took on the six hour drive. By the time I got there, it was late so we spent the rest of the evening drinking beers and catching up.

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Day 1

We woke up and drove out to Petit Jean State Park. We hiked through forests and meadows and hoped over streams until we made it to a gorgeous waterfall. Every step brought a new beautiful view to see.

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Afterwards, we headed home, got cleaned up and ready for the rest of the day. We went into downtown Little Rock for some dinner and then to a baseball game. The Arkansas Travelers are a Minor League team with a huge following. The game was packed and afterwards there was a huge fireworks show! While we were at the game, we tried a local beer called Lost Forty; and then drank it for the rest of the weekend!

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Day 2

Another early start as we headed out to go zip lining. I haven't gone zip lining since my honeymoon; I forgotten how much fun it is! The view continued to be spectacular as we climbed higher and higher. It was so much fun, but there was so much more hiking than we expected.

Exhausted, we drove into Hot Springs to get a late lunch at Deluca's Pizzeria Napoletana. The food was delicious! We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling through Hot Springs. It was such a sweet little town.

We concluded our day with an evening at their home to watch the Mayweather v. McGregor fight. Now I am not one for boxing, however I did find the fight so interesting! I was cheering for Mayweather the whole time!

We woke up the next day, backed our bags and headed home. It was a fantastic trip. We left with some great memories and a lot of mosquito bites!

As always, thank you for reading,

XOXO Helen

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Charleston, SC: KSxSC

A tad late on this one, but I am (finally) sharing a recap of our trip to Charleston, South Carolina.

Day 1

We landed in Charleston in the late afternoon. Once we got to the hotel, we were able to freshen up and then head to a dinner. We went to the Tattooed Moose which I found on Diners, Dives, and Drive-ins. It was a hole-in-the-wall bar with unbelievable food. The roasted garlic + blue cheese fries are an absolute must!

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Day 2

Took an Uber to Folly Beach which ended up being the cutest town. Think if Stars Hallow was a beach town. We spent a couple hours soaking in the sun and walking into the water. Afterwards we headed to lunch at a place just off the ocean called Rita's Seaside Grill. We ended up meeting an old college friend there as well, who lives a tad more inland.

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Before we said out goodbyes, she took us to see this massive tree called The Angel Oak Tree, which is 400-500 years old!

We ended the day with dinner in the city and drinks at a gin bar; but not before I got my hands on a glass of rose!

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Day 3

We started our day with a walk through the city market. Hundreds of local vendors set up in this designated area everyday to sell their products.

Steven found what I dubbed "The Most Amazing Sandwich Shop in Charleston" for lunch. Brown Dog Deli had amazing food and décor.

After lunch, we continued to stroll through the city and finally found out why we were seeing pineapples everywhere!

A staple for any "Harm Trip" is to see something historical. So we took a boat trip out to Fort Sumter. While I usually smile along and indulge Steven with this part of our trips, I truly enjoyed this one!

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With some time to kill before dinner, we took a walk through Battery Park. We saw some of the most beautiful homes and the famous Rainbow Road.

As our evening started to wind down, we found a rooftop bar for a quick happy hour and follow it up at a brewery for dinner. 

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

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Saturdaze: February '17 Update

Despite February being the shortest month, it actually moved slowly. We were just incredibly busy. Every day felt like there was something new to do. Of course the highlight of the month was our trip down to Texas.

In February, I…
Watched: Some random season of Friends and finished Friday Night Lights.

Wore: Shorts and sundresses. And not just in Texas! It's been 60s and 70s in Kansas City!

Heard: Matt and Doree's Egg-celent Adventure.

Read: I finally, finally finished rereading the Harry Potter series! I followed that up with Lauren Grahams's Talking As Fast As I Can and started What Remains by Carole Radziwill.

Traveled: Alamo, TX. Read and see more about that here.

Saw: Hidden Figures (Amazing!) and Fifty Shades Darker. We also saw Jeff Dunham live at the Spring Center with some friends.

As always, thank you for reading! XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like Saturdaze: September Update and Saturdaze: August Update

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