A Note on Style: Summer Travel in a Carry-On

Greetings from Paris! While I am away, my very stylish friend, Karima Hunter from the super chic blog, A Note on Style is here today sharing her tips for packing tons of style into a small carry-on just in time for your summer travel. Enjoy! XO, Paloma

When it comes to packing, I am always amazed at how much fits into a carry-on. My biggest achievement, several years ago, was packing for a three-week summer trip to Italy, bouncing between cities and beach resorts, all with only a carry-on and tote. I realized how efficient travelling can be with one small suitcase and it has since been my goal for every trip to find a way to make it work. My long-time readers have often said they save my “packing posts” as inspiration to do the same. There are a few rules I adhere to which make the process easy. I admit it takes some planning and I overthink the details before I even start, but once I’m packed and at my destination, I let it go.

Stick to a simple color palette. I tend to build off a black, white and denim color story, usually adding one pop of color or a neutral.

Each piece must be versatile. Before an item makes it in the suitcase, I make sure I can wear it with several other items.

No bulky items. Every item must pass the test that it can be rolled or folded flat. If it can’t, it doesn’t make the cut. If the weather is cool, I’d rather layer than have one thick sweater. A hat, for summer or winter, must be packable (either rolled or flat).

Wear the bulkiest shoes on the flight. They’re usually a sneaker, which I always like to bring with me anyway, no matter what kind of trip. They’re essential to have on hand for any last-minute excursions or relief from unexpected discomfort from another shoe. The other shoes I pack, mostly flats, are somewhat soft so they can be compacted.

Thoughtfully choose accessories. Pick ones that change the look of an outfit, like scarves, earrings or a small bag. This is usually where I’ll toss in color or pattern. I always have scarves on hand that can double as a belt or protect my chest from sun exposure.

Consider day to night options. Almost all the pieces packed should be multi-purpose and have the option to go from day to night. I often resort to a head-to-toe look here which always looks appropriate in dressier situations. And, a black blazer always comes in handy to look pulled together and polished.

A large tote. This is the key companion to the success of a carry-on. All toiletries go here. My cross-body bag must also be able to fit inside the tote. I’ve had situations where a flight attendant will consider it a third bag.

Comfort is key. Every single piece must pass the test of all day comfort. I don’t budge on this ever.

 With these rules in mind, I have tons of options with the items above. The key pieces, that will ground most looks, are in black and white. I have a variety of tops, from short sleeve and long sleeve shirts to both solid and striped tees. My denim choices vary from dark or light denim to a black frayed or clean white pair. I’ve got four dresses that will see me both touring around during the day as easily as dining at night. A super casual option is here too, with easy drawstring shorts. I’m beach ready with a swimsuit, cover up, straw bag, and hat. The bag will also serve as a day/shopping tote when I don’t want to carry a cross body. I’ll toss the white clutch inside to corral my loose things. I also have the option of a small wallet-on-a-chain for day or night. Simple sandals, in black or white, go with everything, but if I want something close-toed, I’ll slip on a pretty little flat. Lastly, the colorful scarves add a finishing touch, plus protect my chest from the sun.

It really is easier than you might imagine. I must add that I’m fine with the occasional hotel laundry, which is essential for longer trips. If you’re interested and looking at a couple of my other posts on packing, you can check them out here:

I Can’t Believe How Much I Fit in A Carry-On


Packing A Carry-On for A Week in Cold Weather


The Summer Carry-On Guide


Winter Travel – The Carry-On



Shop The Post
You May Also Like...
In the Mood: January 2021
 {Bunny Mellon’s Townhouse} Happy New Year! With a new year, comes opportunity– a clean...
A Note on Style: Dressing for the Holidays
Hello LDV readers. It’s Karima from A Note on Style. This year will be...
In the Mood: December 2020
Red isn’t a color I use all that often. Very rarely do I wear...
A Different Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving! 2020 has been filled with challenges and sadness for so many. It’s...
A Note on Style: It’s The Little Things
Hello LDV readers. It’s Karima from A Note on Style with the November installment...
In the Mood: November 2020
{My Living Room | Photography by Kerry Kirk} I just love green! I especially...

Tell Me What You Think! leave a comment...

  1. I’m amazed how much you fit too! I would wear all those clothes so I appreciate the suggestions and explanations very much.