Take Only What You Need To Survive

Or, is an industrial strength hair dryer TSA approved

Look, I know there are people out there who swear by carry-on only.

They will show up for a two week vacation continents away from home and proudly tell you how much easier it is this way. And how much time they saved by not having to wait to for luggage in arrivals. Seriously, the cult of “carry-on only” people will act like those 15 minutes are all they needed to be able to squeeze that last can’t-miss-thing into the trip.

They will then lose all this time by needing to pop to a pharmacy because they couldn’t fit enough toiletries into their ziplock. They will lose 30 minutes or more if English is not the primary language at their destination, thus actually losing more time than the originally saved.

I don’t like these people.

I don’t trust them.

And frankly you can pry my borderline-over-the-weight-limit checked bag out of my cold dead hands.

But I’m not a total Princess Vespa* over here, any trip under 5 days I will go carry-on only.

I actually don’t use a hairdryer, so this is hardly relevant to my situation. (she says desperately jamming one last facial serum into a bursting clear plastic bag)

I’m not thrilled about it, but I make do. It’s not even the clothing that’s the problem, it’s the skincare and beauty.

Packing that TSA-approved clear plastic bag becomes a real Sophie’s Choice for me. I know I will not be able to fit it all in, so I have to decide what gets sacrificed. But over the years I like to think I have perfected a pretty good system.

The first rule is get rid of that godforsaken plastic ziplock bag. The requirements are for a clear, plastic, sealable, 1 quart or under bag. It doesn’t actually have to be something you stole from your kid’s lunch box. You’re an adult, if you go on a plane more than once a year get yourself a proper bag. Muji has one for £6.95 that is perfect.

And then I edit and condense. I drop products that are not entirely necessary and look for places where one product can pull double duty. I streamline my routine so I’m using the same products morning and night instead of switching it up. I also always travel with a few sheet masks because they pack a pretty good punch, and are flat. I try to bring a few for different issues that might come up so I’m ready for anything.

As for makeup I use solid products wherever possible. Anything I can get in a stick format I do, it just makes everything so easy. And since it’s not a liquid it doesn’t need to go in the plastic bag. Again look for things that can be two things at once; lips and cheeks, bronzer and eyeshadow, lip gloss and highlighter. Its taken me a long time to learn this lesson, so take it from me, if you don’t normally rotate between 8 different lipsticks, or use 3 products to do your brows, you are not going to on holiday. Stick with what you know you’ll use.

Please do not think this is everything, as you can see there is still some space.

It works, I’ve got a system. And I have to admit that nothing terrible has ever happened by going carry-on only.

However when I check that bag, all bets are off! You better believe I’m bringing a retinol product and an AHA or BHA product as well. I’m bringing a full sized toner, 10 lipsticks, and eye palette that I use maybe once every two months. The world is mine for the taking when I check a bag!

*Also can we all please take a moment to acknowledge Bill Pullman as a total babe? He is so overlooked it’s criminal.

Major Babe!
I am prepared to fight you on this.

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