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I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin & a best friend. I am a poet, a lawyer & a survivor. I've learned that God will give you a second chance.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Carry-On Vacation

My husband and I recently returned from a two-week Caribbean cruise. It was warm. It was sunny. It was luxurious. Last year we went on a one week cruise that visited some of the same islands, but we did not mind the repeat destinations. There is always lots to do, even if it is just reading a book.

Last year my husband proposed an experiment. We would only pack a carry-on travel bag. In a previous life I traveled a lot for work. And I mean a lot. I got so that I could pack for a one week trip in just a carry-on, so I knew I was up to my husband’s challenge. The following is my approach:
Think about what you really need for a week in the Caribbean (or anywhere you are headed). I know I’m particular to some of my toiletries, so I knew I had to pack those. I bought travel sized everything; toothpaste, shampoo, conditioners, moisturizers, etc. I made sure he also packed travel sized toothpaste so that we would have enough.
I then considered the evening dress code. On this particular cruise line there is only one formal night per week, so I packed one knit dress that was appropriate; the type that you can roll up in a ball and it hangs up with no wrinkles. I then packed a pair of black slacks and three sparkly dress tops. There is nothing that says you cannot repeat your evening wardrobe. Plus, who is going to notice that the top I wore on Sunday evening is the same one I’m wearing Thursday? I packed one pair of nicer, black flip-flops that I wore each evening.
For day-wear I thought about the fact that I was going to the Caribbean. I packed two bathing suits and one cover-all. I also made sure I had beach flip-flops. Those can also be worn around the ship during the day. I put in two pairs of shorts and a tee-shirt for each day. For my travel days I wore walking shoes that would be good for the shore excursions I intended to take. Of course I made sure I had a week’s worth of underwear. Done.
Having such success last year I thought about doing the same for this trip. After all, I knew the amenities of the cruise ship (they give you some wonderful soap that made me leave my shower gel at home). However, as I packed for this trip I realized that there were a few additional items that I would like to take if I were to be away for two weeks. So I broke out the bigger suitcase that would have to be checked. Our airline allowed for one free, checked bag so I thought I’d take advantage of that.
I still packed frugally, and ended up with room to spare. I also knew I could (and would) do a load of laundry on this trip. The good news about this approach was that I did not have to lug a carry-on into the passenger cabin of the plane. I just had a backpack filled with items I did not want lose as my one personal bag. It also doubled as a great beach/shore excursion bag. My husband also packed a checked-luggage suitcase this year.
As a result of these two lean excursions, my husband has come up with another experiment he wishes to try. Pack nothing and shop at each port for our necessities. I’m not sure I could do without my hair products, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.


  1. I love traveling light... glad to be getting back to that as Jordan gets older.

  2. A two week cruise with my husband…that would definitely be worth trying to pack lightly just to be able to go! LOVE THIS!

  3. As a P.S. - I came home with one clean t-shirt in my suitcase. It can be done! Happy traveling and safe journeys to all.