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How to travel with a carry-on: Traveller spends two weeks in Europe with one 7kg bag

An Aussie traveller has revealed her secrets to packing lightly after spending two weeks in Europe with only one seven kilogram carry-on bag.

Sally Wallace, the People Operations Manager at Rome2rio in Melbourne, resorted to doing her laundry in the sink to make her seven outfits stretch the whole two-weeks she spent in Germany and the United Kingdom.

Originally from New Zealand, the 42-year-old mum said travelling with only carry-on luggage was ‘extremely liberating’, and she only had to buy one thing during the entire trip.

However she admitted that she wished she had packed comfortable walking shoes, and hadn’t bothered include so many books.

Melbourne-based traveller, Sally Wallace, has revealed her secret packing tips. The mum spent two weeks in Europe using only one seven kilogram carry-on bag

Sally packed seven outfits, three pairs of shoes, a laptop, hair straightener and more in her carry-on pack

She washed her clothes in the sink every night, made her bag look smaller than it was and decanted her toiletries into small bottles and tubs

Sally packed seven outfits, three pairs of shoes, a laptop, hair straightener and more in her carry-on pack. She washed her clothes in the sink every night, made her bag look smaller than it was and decanted her toiletries into small bottles and tubs

Sally decided to test her packing limits when she found out she had a two-week business trip in Germany and England last September.

The mum-of-one told FEMAIL people were ‘surprised’ by her decision but she didn’t want to risk losing her luggage on the important trip.

She pared her wardrobe down to seven must-have outfits and made them all fit in her seven kilogram carry-on bag.

Sally planned her outfits according to her schedule, one of her top tips for packing lightly is to make sure you only include exactly what you plan to wear, and commit to outfits that you reach for all the time rather than packing ‘maybes.’

She also advised making sure everything goes together, and packing for the actual weather of your destination.

She said too many make-up items or heavy clothes for hot destinations is always a mistake as they don’t end up getting used.

The mum said her major regrets were not packing comfortable shoes, and bringing too many books

The mum said her major regrets were not packing comfortable shoes, and bringing too many books

Sally’s top tips for packing lightly 

* Downplay how much you have packed and make it look lighter than it is when you’re going through the airport

* Commit to the outfits you plan and don’t pack anymore

* Make sure your clothes go together

* Research the climate of your destination and pack for the actual weather

* If you’re going somewhere hot, don’t pack too much make-up or heavy clothes

* Bring a small foldable travel bag that you can check in on the way back in case you do some shopping

* Plan wearing clothes you wear all the time, don’t pack something you don’t reach for or you won’t wear it 

* Buy lots of 100ml, and 50ml bottles and tubs and decant all of your toiletries into them 

* Wash clothes in the hotel every night and dry them on the bathroom rails for 48 hours

* Decant laundry detergent into a 100ml bottle and use it to wash clothes instead of hand soap

* Buy toiletries like shower gel at your destination

* Always pack comfortable shoes

* Don’t pack too many books as they are very heavy, get digital versions instead

The one thing the mum says you must do to stretch your wardrobe is wash your clothes in the hotel sink ‘every night’ and she recommends using detergent instead of hand soap.


Would you survive two weeks of travelling with only one carry-on bag?

  • Definitely! 2 votes
  • No way! 3 votes

Stella divided her luggage into four packing cubes, and one day pack.

Her wardrobe for the trip included two jeans, one shorts, one dress, six tops, four singlets, and one jacket. She managed to fit three pairs of shoes in her bag.

She also packed her passport, work laptop, a small case filled with her chargers, a hair straightener and hair brush, two books, a reusable water bottle, a small tub of vegemite, and seven toiletries under 100ml.

The traveller always wore her heaviest items on the plane, her ultimate plane-outfit is heavy boots, jeans and a jacket. 

Sally said packing her toiletries was one of the hardest aspects of packing lightly, and she ended up bringing ‘heaps.’

Her ‘amazing’ secret packing weapon was cheap 100ml and 50ml tubs and bottles she bought before she left, she used them to decant her cleanser, toner, moisturiser, sunblock, and liquid makeup.

The only thing she bought for herself on her travels was shower-gel, which she didn’t include in her luggage as she knew she’d need more than 100ml.

She outlined that generally for two weeks you wouldn’t need more than 50mls of most of your liquids.

The mum admits the one thing she wished she had packed was ‘comfortable shoes not just work shoes,’ outlining that she dreamed of having thongs or sneakers for after work. 

‘It was a big thing I really missed, if I’m always in work shoes I don’t have that kind of downtime,’ she said.

Her other major regret was packing too many books, she advised only bringing a book if you’re certain you’ll read it, or else download a digital copy.

Sally advises packing a small foldable travel bag that you can check in on the way back in case you do some shopping, she brought a spare bag but didn’t need it as she managed to fit her presents, which were mostly tote bags and t-shirts, in her carry-on. 

How to stuff your neck pillow with extra clothes to save space:

Chelsea Dickenson, from North London, who runs took to TikTok to reveal her favourite travel tip. 

In the clip, Chelsea, 32, removed the foam from her neck pillow and proceeded to stuff it with numerous clothing items. 

Chelsea said her hack was more ‘lower risk’ than the one she’s seen on TikTok where users stuff clothes in a large pillowcase.

In a follow-up video, she revealed that her hack did indeed work. 

Sally really enjoyed the experience of travelling so lightly.

‘It’s actually quite liberating knowing you don’t have a lot off stuff with you,’ she said. 

The mum liked not having to worry about the airport losing your bag, paying extra if it’s over-weight and waiting for luggage, however what she loved most was that she didn’t have much outfit choice and couldn’t overthink her clothes.

‘What you have is what you have, you don’t have to track anything down. You’re just going to get dressed, there’s no options. It’s freeing,’ she said.

However she admitted that she wouldn’t pack so little if she was travelling for leisure or with her family. As she was travelling for work she had specific scheduled activities with designated length of times, whereas leisure holidays are more flexible.

She said that if she was travelling alone she things she could keep going with her carry-on luggage indefinitely as she could keep washing her clothes, but said ‘if you love clothes you get sick of it’.

What exactly Sally packed for two weeks in Europe: 

* Two pairs of jeans

* One pair of shorts

* One dress

* Six tops

* Four singlets

* One jacket

* Two pairs of boots

* Sandals

* Passport

* Work laptop

* Chargers

* A hair straightener

* Hair brush

* Two books

* A reusable water bottle

* A small tub of vegemite

* Cleanser

* Toner

* Moisturiser

* Sunblock

* Makeup



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