Thursday, June 30, 2016

(Over) packing for a 7 day Caribbean cruise using just a carry on

If you would like to see all my travel posts, including recaps, tips & recommendations and packing guides, please visit my travel page.

You know I love my packing posts. Planning what I am going to pack is one of my favourite things about planning a holiday, whether it is for a week or a month. Regardless of how long I am gone, I will most likely bring the same amount of clothes. Because I am still an overpacker at heart.

Some people do the carry on only thing to bring less crap. I am not one of those people. I like my crap. I do not like checking a bag, having them lose or damage my bag, but I really don't like baggage claim. Seriously. Nothing makes me want to stab my fellow humans more.

So you might think I am being a bit ridiculous with the amount I packed for this cruise, because it is not the 'point' of only using a carry on, well I'm here to say there is no point to only using a carry on. Sure, it could be to be a minimalist and wear less crap, or it could be to plan every outfit so you're not stumped on what to wear on holiday, or it could be a way to force yourself not to shop and buy a bunch of useless stuff. But for me, it's so I can avoid baggage claim. High five.

My motto is - if it fits in a carry on, surely it is not overpacking, right?

(Over) packing for a 7 day Caribbean cruise using just a carry on - this could be used for any beach or summer vacation though!
So here is everything I packed:

(Over) packing for a 7 day Caribbean cruise using just a carry on
// polka dot bikini top // coral bikini top // floral bikini top // black bikini bottoms // pink bikini bottoms (mine were actually reversible, but I never ended up wearing them the other way) // one piece (actual was topshop, sold out) // nikes // flip flops (I don't own these exact ones but I wish I did!) // nude pumps // sandals //

The above links are affiliate links which means if you click, I make like 2 cents, so thanks!

6 dresses for dinners - there were 7 dinners but I ended up wearing 1 of the dresses twice. On a 7 night cruise you 'need' 2 formal outfits, I decided to dress up every night because I just wanted to!
3 cover up / round the pool dresses or rompers - 2 rompers and a throw on dress, this made me feel slightly put together when walking around or grabbing lunch.
2 pairs of shorts - one denim pair and one pair of nike active shorts.
Tanks and tees - grabbed a couple of tank tops and tees for shore excursions, lounging around and sleeping.
Swimsuits - a one piece, 3 bikini tops (actual are from Victoria Secret) and 2 bikini bottoms.

I also bought a super awesome floppy hat for the cruise..... and left it at home. So. Not included. Probably for the best, I don't think hats suit me but still. Womp womp.

As usual, things packed but not shown: hair & makeup stuff, underwear and sleep clothes - although, I slept in some of the tank tops shown above. Also, everything is under $50, or it was when I found it.

Here are the 'outfit' photos I took. I didn't take too many, so some things are missing or not shown properly.

Outfits from my Caribbean cruise - all this from a carry on!

So there you have it. I absolutely over packed. But I don't mind - I love over packing but still fitting everything in a carry on, it's like I'm beating the system or something. I wore everything I brought and I don't regret anything or wish I'd changed anything. So, winner winner buffet dinner.

(Over) packing for a 7 day Caribbean cruise using just a carry on - we use the weekender bags from ebags and LOVE them!

And there you have a super awesome picture of us and our ebags weekender bags - I've mentioned it before, this isn't sponsored in any way shape or form, but these bags are amazing. We took them to NYC, Europe, Disney and now this cruise. They are super comfy (as comfy as an extremely full heavy backpack can be) and they fit in all the overhead bins of all the planes and airlines we've flown with. They are not true backpacker backpacks, so if you want to head off around Europe for 6 months I'd probably suggest something with more support for your back, but because we only carry these around airports and whatnot, no biggie.

They are super sturdy and have lots of pockets and they extend (which I try and avoid, because then it encourages me to take more stuff and they are harder to fit in the overhead bins). Anyway, no kidding, we love them. Mine is always more full than KC's which is super not fair, he thinks I pack too much, I say it's because I carry all the things that we both use, like toiletries and.. a collapsible water bottle.. and other stuff.

Have I convinced you that you can use just a carry on now? Of course, you don't have to. But you can!

47 comments:

  1. i only bring carryons with me; in fact, i've become a total ninja packer that i can fit both my AND kayla's stuff in a single carryon. that's what i did for our cruise last year.

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  2. Your packing posts are always my favorite! I don't know how you manage to fit all of that stuff into a carry on... I struggle to use a carry on for a weekend trip!

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  3. Ah so awesome! I'm such an over-packer too. KC and I have pretty much made our system of two carry on rollers and packing a fabric duffel just in case. I love shopping for others while we travel, and often times I get breakable things, or books or something heavy... so it's good to be able to then check one of the rollers (if needed) and carry on the duffel. Sometimes we end up doing this, other times we just re-pack it. It's working pretty well. Still working on minimizing what I pack, but I'm feeling like I'm in an OK place for right now! You guys always amaze me with your bags and your packing lists. Love all the photos, glad you had a fun time! :) - this is silly, but I did a bridal shower weekend with a friend and a lot of new acquaintances (a little overwhelming) but I seriously packed SO little things. I obviously didn't need much, but still. I was like WOOHOO! Go me. :) A few girls had roller bags and I felt awesome with my overnight duffel bag, which was not anywhere near full! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  4. I am just like you when it comes to packing.. I still over pack in a carry on and I have no shame! I also can not stand going through baggage claim! They drive me bonkers! I love everything you packed! Looks like a great trip... And I need to check out those bags you use! Always looking for something better than what I have to travel with!

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  5. I like these packing posts! On a cruise shop I think it's essential to (over)pack/be prepared because it's not like you can just run to a Walmart or something! We're going on vacation in just over a week and I can't WAIT to start packing this weekend!!

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  6. YOU are the packing QUEEN! People are still amazing I made it 30 days in JUST a carry on and lady, it was the BEST DECISION WE EVER MADE! So much easier rolling a carryon through France, Italy and Greece. I 100% with you that if it fits in a carry on, it's not over packing. You had some fabulous outfits!

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  7. I am seriously trying to do the carry on only for Europe. Carrying the weekender bags kills my body though, like I need a massage and a chiro after the trip.

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  8. You are the master packer! I have gotten much better over the years, but still can't seem to fit everything into a carry on for a week long vacay. But we've consolidated down to 1 carry on each and then we share a bigger suitcase whereas we used to each bring a bigger suitcase. And YES to dressing up every night on a cruise, because when else do we get to go to a nice dinner and a show every night? <3
    Green Fashionista

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  9. I'm a sucker for packing posts and I loved reading this! I've brought just a carry-on before but my family always checks bags when we travel so I'm used to doing that. But the anxiety of waiting for your bag and getting more and more nervous every time you don't see it is a feeling I could do without:)

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  10. Wowza - I haven't flown in a decade but when I did fly, I was known for overpacking AND having to pay extra in baggage fees for overweight bags. IF I ever get to fly again, I will remember your tips!

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  11. hahaha good reasoning! I'm trying very hard not to over pack for Alaska, because I keep wanting to bring layers.

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  12. Your packing posts are the BEST. I seriously need to up my packing game and start using only a carry on. I just chicken out because I'm terrified of forgetting something. Love all the clothes/dresses that you brought on the trip!

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  13. Ok I'm so bookmarking this for future reference! I'm such an overpacker too! We're honeymooning in Riviera Maya for a week and I'm totally gonna use this as a packing guide. Also cruising early next year so keeping it in mind for then too :)!

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  14. It is so not over packing if you wear everything you bring! So I call this perfect! I am so with you on why I pack in a carry on only when we fly. If we are driving somewhere for a trip (even if it's just a couple of days) then I am likely to take a carry on size bag, a separate bag for my hair/makeup/toiletries/etc, a separate bag for my laptop & books, and a separate bag for my camera & lenses. I totally pack all the things if we're driving because I love to have options! But if we're flying... it's carry on only. Even if we're gone for multiple weeks. I am so like you with hating to wait on baggage claim. Plus, if someone's bag is going to get lost... it will definitely be mine, ha! Love your choices, friend!

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  15. When I start going on actual vacations again I am going to be stalking your packing posts for ideas. I have a really hard time packing properly. The nice thing about a warm weather destination is shorts and tank tops and dresses take up so much less room than sweaters and boots. Love your fancy blue dress!

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  16. HAha. I'm a total overpacker too! I like your motto about it fitting in the bag. That's the way I operate! <3

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  17. Seriously you're such an inspiration for packing for an extended period of time for a trips in just a carry on! I feel like I've slowly been doing better and better about packing for longer trips in just a carry on so I think that I'm almost ready for Europe! I also finally have my packing cubes which has helped so much!

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  18. Wow ok. I am so impressed! With your ability to only use a carry on. With your graphic! With your price points! Well done! I'm amazed it all fits in that bag so go you!! I overpack like a crazy person. Especially now that I pack for five. We go away for a weekend and I need an enormous suitcase and about five other bags.

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  19. I'm an over-packer, too! But, I tend to need more than a carry on, ha ha. Love all your dresses:)

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  20. I am TOTALLY impressed that you packed all that in a carry on! You go, girl!

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  21. I am 100% with you. If it fits in a carry on I think it is JUST the right amount of things and if you wore everything then it was all necessary!

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  22. Wow you've mastered the art that I continue to fail at. I think it's easier to accomplish for warmer destinations where light clothing and shoes are needed. So many cute outfits you mixed and matched with a few essential shoe options. I need to cut down on the shoes I pack.

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  23. Ahaha, I am the same way!! But for a cruise, it's totally justified because you do have so many outfit changes!! Admittedly, I have gotten slightly better, not much, about packing now that I'm older.

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  24. Can you come here and pack for me for 12 days in Greece?? Pretty please??? :) I'm in awe of your super power!

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  25. i am a HUGE proponent of only using carry ons for all things. i broke that record when i went to louisville the other week bc of all the bourbon, but oh well. otherwise yes to only carry ons. and stuffing it full is the only way to live :)

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  26. I always love your packing posts--sending this to my sis and saving it for myself!!

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  27. I ALWAYS overpack too! For our trip last week, I fit all my crap in a carryon (and that included three pairs of jeans, three pairs of shoes, and a ton more stuff) and Michael was like, "I can't pack for a week in a carry on" so he packed this MASSIVE duffel bag and brought like six pairs of shoes and I have no idea what else. That did mean I didn't have to bring travel size toiletries in my carry on, so that was nice. But anyway...I STILL overpacked in my carry on and he's over here rolling this MASSIVE duffel around. Also dang girl you are rockin' those swimsuits!

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  28. First. All those dresses look so good on you! I love the super fitted black one, especially!
    Second. Yes, to overpacking in a carry-on. People think I'm nuts, but so often I still have so much I don't wear. I'm working on getting better, but I haven't quite broken the habit yet.
    Third. I am actually impressed by how much those bags hold. That's quite the chunk of stuff.
    Fourth. I just went to Milwaukee for the weekend & was laughing so hard because my bag was just as full as when I went to Europe for 2 weeks. I think we probably all just fill up whatever bag we give ourselves permission to use, however much stuff that may mean! And I wore probably 25% of what I packed!

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  29. You looked great, Kristen! I really loved the formal dresses too. :) I used to be a big-time over-packer, mostly because I was too lazy to really plan. But after I got a job where I traveled a lot, I changed my ways. Now I'm typically at risk of under-packing! LOL! I try to avoid checking luggage whenever I can. I like those weekender bags and need to take a look at them.

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  30. Wow you fit so much in a carry-on. I have never done that before. I love your packing lists, they are so helpful. Maybe one day I will do just a carry-on. The makeup and hair products alone that I take...hahah maybe I need to leave some of them at home. haha

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  31. I already told you I have the same one piece... but also all those VS tops as well :) They are my absolute favorite and I buy 2-3 overtime VS has a swim sale. My hubs wants to know why I need the same top in every color, I told him that way they will never wear out!

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  32. I'm pretty sure I need SEVERAL of those dresses. I'm glad you had a good trip! If it fits in a carry on - there's no way it's overpacking. ;) I agree.

    Now excuse me while I go shop these dresses and attempt not to purchase.

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  33. Alright you are officially the queen of packing and I'm definitely going to need your packing expertise for my trip this autumn. It includes a cruise but also other things and my puny brain just can't cope with the permutations. I'm sending you an email!

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  34. I used to overpack like crazy but after college I converted to the carry-on only motto and I'll never look back! You do such a great job packing, I love seeing the outfits you put together!

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  35. I love to avoid checking baggage myself and like you, it's kind of a game how much I can pack and still only take a carry on!! Ha! You do win!!!!

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  36. Great article. I love the info-graphic. I like to travel light but it never actually happens.
    I'm pinning this to come back to when I'm planing my next trip.
    http://runwright.net

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  37. If it fits, it's totally not overpacking!

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  38. That's amazing how much you got in there! If you wore everything, than I definitely don't think you overpacked! I'm the queen of overpacking (although I have gotten better), but when you end up not wearing half the things you bring, THAT'S overpacking! ;) Like why do I suddenly think that top I never like will be the one I want to wear when on holiday?! Footwear is where I struggle though - I have such a hard time narrowing it down and I'm always worried I'll regret not having that extra pair of casual sneakers, etc.

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  39. I tend to overpack, too. I mean, vacation time is when I am in the most pictures, so I want to have a variety of outfits with me.

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  40. Like you said - if it fits in your carry on it's cant be over packing!! You rocked it once again and I love that black and white one piece bathing suit you wore!! I have tried and failed to be as prepared as you! xo, biana -BlovedBoston

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  41. loved that black and white one piece!! I have that polka dot top too, love the way it fits.

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  42. How on earth did all of this fit into a carry on?? Did you not take any toiletries?! I've never been able to do a carry-on only trip because I have way too many liquids! Even if I reduced them all to travel sized containers. LOVE seeing all the things you packed and then the actual pics of when you wore them!

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  43. I'm so impressed with what you can squeeze into a carry on! And the fact that you do it to avoid the baggage claim... HAHAHAHA! I feel you on that. When we flew with the kids two weeks ago, a woman nearly tramped Henry to get to her bag. By nearly I mean she knocked him down. Then she took out a couple waiting for their bags just to get the bag that she could have either waited for on the next go around of the thingy orrrrrrr just walked a tad further to not bother anyone. Long story long, I hate baggage claims too.

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  44. Look at those hot bikini pics...*whistles*

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  45. I love all of your outfits, and I don't think you overpacked at all! You need lots of good clothing options while on vacation :P It's impressive that you were able to fit everything in a carry on, I'm jealous of those packing skills.

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  46. Love it! I'd definitely pack like you, but maybe an extra pair of shorts (white) and maybe only a couple plain dresses in solid colors but adding a light kimono cardigan that can double as a bikini cover-up and statement jewelry so that it's not obvious I'm wearing the same dresses over and over. Lol.

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  47. We almost always check bags because they're free with southwest and I'm a horrible packer, but oh my gosh yes to baggage claim being the worst thing ever! I'm so impressed you could fit so much in your bag though and as always I basically just want your entire wardrobe!

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