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  1. #1

    Default Carry On Only - HELP

    My husband wants to do Carry On Luggage only for our next trip. It will be a 10 day trip!! how can I possible pack for 10 days with only a carry-on? From those who do this can you please tell me how you do it? What about the products you cant take on the plane? Do you purchase once you land? Would love to avoid the baggage pick up and avoid the wait...just dont know if its possible.
    Julie & Ric (Rhode Island)
    COR 1998, 2000, CN 2008, 2009, CSA 2013, CSA 2014, CTI 2015, CSS 2015, CSA 2016

  2. #2

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    I’m cutting and pasting a post I submitted years ago on traveling with carry-on luggage only. While you’ll likely get some negative response from people who are ardently opposed to carry-on luggage, they’re generally opposed to people traveling with large pieces of luggage that don’t meet the established size criteria for carry-ons. Our carry-ons can be stowed under the seat in front of us. Here’s the text of my previous post:

    We’ve been to Jamaica 19 times and have NEVER checked luggage. We prefer to stay at the resort and spend most of our time on the beach, so we spend most of our time in our swimsuits.

    Roll your clothes when you pack; you can fit more into your luggage. We each take a carry-on bag, and I carry a tote bag as well that I use instead of a purse. Once at the resort, I’ll use the tote bag to carry our stuff (books, iPods, sunblock) to the beach.

    When we travel in the winter, we each wear a pair of convertible pants (converts from long pants into shorts) from LLBean, ightweight tops, and down jackets from LLBean that compress to a small size and stow into a self-contained pocket. Before we purchased the jackets, we would wear a sweater or heavier top over the lightweight top. We also wear running shoes, which is important. They take up a lot of room in your luggage if you pack them, and we’ve had to run through airports before.

    Before the plane lands, we remove the lower leg portion from the pants and remove the jacket or heavier shirt, and we’re in shorts and a lightweight top without having left our seats, and we have little to stuff into our luggage. When we travel in the summer, we just wear shorts and a top and running shoes.

    Here’s what we pack for a week (tweak as necessary):

    For me:
    2 pairs of shorts
    2 tops that can be worn with either shorts
    3 sundresses
    4 swimsuits
    1 sarong
    1 or 2 dress-style cover-ups
    Running shorts
    Sports bra
    Yoga pants & top
    Socks
    Underwear
    1 pair of sandals with heels
    1 pair of flat sandals
    One pair pajamas
    Makeup (blush, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick – Skip eyeliner unless you have waterproof makeup b/c it will run, and skip foundation b/c it’s too heavy in the heat)
    Vacation jewelry

    For Kev:
    2 pairs of shorts
    1 pair long pants
    2 polo shirts
    2 Hawaiian-style shirts
    4 swimsuits
    1 pair running shorts
    2 t-shirts
    Socks & underwear
    1 pair of sandals
    1 pair of shoes appropriate for Otaheite
    Pajamas

    Other Stuff:
    Pens (for Immigration and Customs forms)
    Books – we both have Kindles, which save a lot of room
    Ipods & earphones
    Camera
    Cell phones
    iPhone and iPod chargers
    Hairbrush & comb
    Toothbrushes
    Travel size water pick
    Travel size sound machine
    Electric shaver
    Sunglasses
    Reading glasses (new this year – it sucks getting old)
    2 1-gallon Ziplock bags (for wet swimsuits when you pack up to return home) (they also have 2-gallon bags if you prefer)

    2 1-quart baggies of liquids:
    1 - Sunblock (six tubes of 3-ounce sunblock fit in one one-quart baggie)
    2 - Makeup remover, moisturizer, top coat nail polish, toothpaste, hair conditioner.

    We typically buy things like shampoo & conditioner, after-sun lotion, additional sunblock, and any other things we might need from the sundries store. It’s more expensive to buy it at the resort than at home (although with some airlines now charging for checked bags, maybe not), but it’s worth it to us. Always make sure you bring a few tubes of sunblock and at least a little hair conditioner with you. One year CN was out of all sunblock with an SPF higher than 8, and at CSS in August, 2009, they had NO hair conditioner.

    On our next trip, we’re going to try Lush shampoo and conditioner bars—non-liquid shampoo and conditioner (www.lushusa). I’ve tried them at home and think they’re the answer to taking a good quality shampoo and conditioner with you, avoiding airline limits on liquids, and avoiding an out-of-stock situation at the resort.

    We pack very little but have never needed more than this. We spend most of our time in our swimsuits, so we only wear an outfit for an hour or two at a time and don’t mind wearing shorts, tops, sundresses, etc., more than once.

    Most people tend to overpack and don’t wear half of what they bring. One woman on the MB packed an entire suitcase just with shoes. I bring flat sandals that will go with the daytime outfits I’ve packed and sandals for the evening that I can wear with all three sundresses. Sometimes it’s difficult to select exactly what to bring b/c I’m always buying things thinking, “Oh, this would be so great to wear in Jamaica,” but you’ll be glad if you’re able to pack only what you need.
    Last edited by Pamela; March 16th, 2015 at 08:10 AM.

  3. #3

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    The ones that do Carry On Luggage only are probably the ones that stuff a bag large enough to hold a baby elephant into the overhead bin. Then, when the rest of us need to put our normal-sized carry on bag into the overhead area, there is no room. We then have to look for room in the overhead area ten seats away from our seat.

  4. #4

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    We're trying this for the first time this year with our 14 day honeymoon as well. I'm packing 3 oz bottles of sunscreen in my liquids bag along with one bottle of bug lotion and one bottle of aloe vera. Then some meds like tylenol and pepto bismol in case one of us gets sick, enough underwear to last me 14 days, one pair of shorts, 3 sun dresses, 3 cover ups, 4 swimsuits, phone and camera chargers, and one pair of flip flops. In my personal bag, I'm putting one pair of dress shoes, a book or two for the beach, and my electronics (phone, camera, etc.). If we run out of sunscreen we're buying it at the resort using resort credits. I'm also wearing a hoodie, jeans, and tennis shoes on the plane so I don't have to pack those. I think it can be done you just have to be prepared to not over pack.

  5. #5

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    Men don't pack as much as women do so it won't be hard for husband.... but you?! I've down sized alot over the years and bring ONLY the necessities but still need a carry on bag. Maybe some can do it, hope someone can give you some ideas! Good luck!

    Helen & Paul, Fl.

    2002 CSA, 2006 CSA, 2010, CSA, 2011 CSA, 2012 CSA, 2013 CSA, 2014 CSA, 2015 CSA, 2016 CSA, 2017 CSS/CSA, 2018 CSA, 2019 CSA, 2020 ?????

  6. #6

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    Our biggest constraint is sunblock. We bring two to three bottles and after sun gel w/aloe (super pale). Can't afford to be caught without it. Then, once we've started packing a checked bag, we throw in shave gel, face wash, etc.

    This trip though, to save time at the airport on the way back, we're going to try to limit the >3oz items to just sunblock. Then we'll trash whatever is left (if any) at the end, and carry on for the return.

  7. #7

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    For more than 20 years, I traveled to Jamaica with only a carry-on bag - a Briggs & Riley that fits easily into the overhead bin. Yes, it was stuffed, but with exactly what I needed. I've now reached a point where I don't mind waiting for my bag to come off the plane as I've switched over to a bag that has wheels. This is for a 9 to 10-day trip to CSA.

    The reason most folk are afraid of checking a bag is the ongoing list of horror stories of bags getting lost. With the amount of automation now in place for air travel, that sort of thing is becoming extinct. Of course, it will still happen, but the chances of your bag going to Belgium instead of Mobay are slim. To solve the problem, pack a bathing suit, a coverup (for the women), any meds and your toothbrush in a small carry-on. This way, if you bag does indeed get lost, you are covered for at least the first day.

    Interesting story...

    A bunch of years ago I was on a 14-day cruise of the Greek Islands and the Italian coast. We ate dinner the second night in the fancy restaurant and listened as our anonymous table partners bemoaned the lack of storage space in their 1st class cabins for all the luggage they'd brought. When it came to my turn, I said we were both each traveling with a single carry-on bag (the Briggs). Everyone was amazed and the woman, bedecked in jewels and perfume, sitting next to me asked, "How can you possibly do that?" My reply was, "Simple. Start with underwear. Label in for even days, label out for odd."
    Ricky Ginsburg
    On the web, always open

    Boca Raton, Florida
    (just a 75 minute plane flight from paradise)


  8. #8

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    The first time we packed a large bag and ended up not wearing half the stuff we brought. Since then, we've always brought (normal size) carry-ons -- and my husband brings a relatively small one. Whether this works for you depends on whether you're willing to make a few "concessions."

    First, are you ok wearing the same thing to dinner more than once? IOW, can you wear the same pants and tops or sundresses or whatever two or three nights? Along those lines, are you okay not dressing up every night -- i.e., can you wear casual slacks/skirt to dinner most nights? Are you willing to mix & match such as, for example, bringing khaki, white and/or black bottoms and pairing them with colorful tops rather than bringing separate "outfits" for each day?

    Second (especially for the ladies), can you compromise on shoes? I typically bring a pair of flip flops, a pair of "boat shoes" -- e.g., TopSiders, a pair of dressy shoes/sandals, and a pair of athletic shoes (which I wear on the plane). Definitely don't look as "put together" as at home but if I choose the right outfits to go with the shoes, it looks fine. If you "need" the perfect shoes for each outfit or several pairs of heels . . . well, we all know how much room shoes take up.

    Third, are you willing to buy sunscreen at Couples? Hard to pack enough for even a week in a carry-on, so you have to pay more than you would at home for the convenience of not checking a bag. If you have resort credit, this works; if not, figure about $13 for cream and $16 for spray per bottle, more or less.

    Fourth, are you potentially willing to do your own laundry or pay to have it done if, for example, you spill on one of your "main" outfits or it rains and you end up wearing shorts/tops than you expected.

    I think most repeaters find that they need a LOT less than they brought the first time. We see people bringing enormous bags for a week and just smile. But, in all honesty, it really does depend on you. If this is your chance to dress up every night and wear all your summer clothes that have been languishing in the closet since September, then go for it! However, even then, cut back. In all the years reading these boards, I've yet to see someone who said he/she didn't bring enough clothes for their trip -- rather, almost everyone says they overpacked.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by fawnridge View Post
    My reply was, "Simple. Start with underwear. Label in for even days, label out for odd."
    Ha! Love it
    I did once pack one day of underwear less than days of the trip. I didn't resort to dirty (or reversible) undies, but I survived.

  10. #10

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    It is very easy if you stay away from cotton fabric. The athletic/golf "underarmor" type fabrics dry quickly, even in Jamaica, and can be packed very tightly. So you don't need multiple outfits as it is easy to clean and dry them yourself (or use the laundry service) and just a few shirt/bottom combos will cover you. I routinely would give my "day clothes" a wash while I was in the shower and hang them to dry, so every day I had fresh clothes. Add in a SINGLE pair of pants for dinner (if you only wear them for 3 hours during dinner, they are ok for 2-3 meals) and some nice shirts (again, easy to rotate them and wear more than once) and one person can use one carry-on with ease. Cotton stuff will always feel damp though, unless you have a balcony that gets direct sunlight and you lay them out.

    The wife has not committed to this, I think she feels that she needs a different outfit each day so that in photos she won't be seen to have the same clothes on :P

  11. #11

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    We also only pack (regular sized) carry-ons for 10 days.
    Like the others here, far as clothes, we mix and match and wear things more than once. You are only in them for a very short while.
    If we need sunscreen we buy a container there with our credits but we like to sit in the shade so we hardly need any. We also take "Off" bug wipes instead of liquid.
    I don't need hair stuff, we use what is provided. I also don't use makeup, even at home, so I don't need it there.
    We take books to read and when we're done, we just leave them in the little library.
    For me a couple pairs of flip flops and a pair of dressy sandals, that's it for shoes. Husband takes a pair of flip flops and a pair of light, closed toed shoes if we decide to eat "fancy".
    We even take our snorkel stuff just in case we decide to snorkel. (No fins)

    We decided long ago, if it doesn't fit in a carry-on, we don't need it.
    Ronda and Doug
    COR Dec. 2007
    CTI Dec. 2009
    CSS Dec. 2008, Dec. 2012, Dec. 2014
    CN Dec. 2011, Dec. 2013

  12. #12

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    The only time we have ever done this was to a destination in the US. It worked out great to just buy a lot of things there. Never tried it on a trip to Jamaica or out of the U.S. My husband goes through a bottle of sunscreen almost every day so it's pretty much impossible unless we want to pay the gift shop prices for Sunscreen. If it wasn't for that, I'm sure we would do carry on only.

    I will say rolling your clothes up does save a lot of room in your bags.

  13. #13

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    For a week, maybe, not 10 days. I was at CSA one time and a couple we met obviously did this as they wore the same swimsuits and clothing daily and they were there for 7 days.
    I would not be happy paying this much for a vacation and skimping on wardrobe options.

  14. #14

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    Pack three to five days of your favorite outfits. Discover that Couples is wonderful at doing laundry, and that getting it done even twice is still a much better deal than paying two checked bag fees. Pocket your savings.

  15. #15

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    The first all inclusive we went to we both carried on and checked 2 bags we had so much crap we didnt need! Ever since we have scaled down but just a carry on is tight

  16. #16

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    If it wasn't for the fact that we use, at minumum, 4 cans and two bottles of sunscreen, I'd be more tempted to try to go carry on only. However, by the time we get down to customs and immigration our bag is usually waiting for us off of the carouse - we scoop it up and away we gol. And we usually arrive one of the first flights of the day on a Thursday, with not much of a line to get through. Also, we usually fly Jet Blue and don't get charged a baggage fees for the first bag. (United just started charging $25...grrrrr). So, we check one bag between us and each take a carry on with enough clothes to sustain us for a day or two if something happened to the luggage. This also lets us have room in case we do any shopping and need the room in our checked bag to bring something home. If we are flying home on an airline that doesn't charge for checked bags, we usually check one of the carry ons on the way home, too, just so we don't have to carry it.

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    Good Luck. We travel a fair bit. I will do carry on for work travel. But for my precious winter vacation, not possible. I have curly hair that requires product including two bottles of conditioner for 1 week. Plus for me, dressing up for dinner in a new outfit each night is half the fun. I look forward to it all winter long (and Canadian winters are longgggggg, unless you live in Vancouver, which we don't). All winter we require seven layers just to leave the house. I won't be cheated out of my one week to wear all my light frilly favourites. Yes, I usually pack more than I need, but for me it's worth the little extra time to check luggage. Oh, and gotta have at east 4 books each, the old fashioned paper kind. I'll be the one arriving at CSA with full size bag, lol.

  18. #18

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    Personally, I don't understand why anyone would stress out over what to bring and what not to bring. Rolling clothes, avoiding cotton, leaving stuff behind, needing to wash your clothes so you can wear the same outfits multiple times, etc. Why? To save $50 luggage fee on your $5,000 vacation? To save the 10 minutes needed to claim your luggage? I bring everything I want for a stress-free vacation and still have room for souvenirs and I don't have to tightly roll all my clothes just to fit them in like sardines in a can and I don't have to worry about running out of sunscreen or decide which two pairs of shoes I can bring and I don't have to turn my underwear inside out! I'd rather err on the side of having too much than too little.

  19. #19

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    JulRic is only asking if it can be done.........plenty of us can...and do...without stressing over what to bring or not to bring. And we have everything we want and need. It might not work for everyone. To each their own.......but it can be done.
    Ronda and Doug
    COR Dec. 2007
    CTI Dec. 2009
    CSS Dec. 2008, Dec. 2012, Dec. 2014
    CN Dec. 2011, Dec. 2013

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamaican_junkie View Post
    Personally, I don't understand why anyone would stress out over what to bring and what not to bring. Rolling clothes, avoiding cotton, leaving stuff behind, needing to wash your clothes so you can wear the same outfits multiple times, etc. Why? To save $50 luggage fee on your $5,000 vacation? To save the 10 minutes needed to claim your luggage? I bring everything I want for a stress-free vacation and still have room for souvenirs and I don't have to tightly roll all my clothes just to fit them in like sardines in a can and I don't have to worry about running out of sunscreen or decide which two pairs of shoes I can bring and I don't have to turn my underwear inside out! I'd rather err on the side of having too much than too little.
    irie

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    Rolling clothes not only takes less space, but the clothes end up less wrinkled too. However, as long as we don't go overboard I agree with you. We take one rolling duffle and each have a carry-on (backpack for me, the beach bag for my wife). That rolling duffle can hold A LOT, so much so that the biggest question is usually whether we take snorkel fins (the masks and snorkel are givens) for this particular location (CTI, no; CSS, yes; CN, probably no).

    Since my wife prefers spray sunscreen the difference in price for the sunscreen cancels out the baggage fees.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamaican_junkie View Post
    Personally, I don't understand why anyone would stress out over what to bring and what not to bring. Rolling clothes, avoiding cotton, leaving stuff behind, needing to wash your clothes so you can wear the same outfits multiple times, etc. Why? To save $50 luggage fee on your $5,000 vacation? To save the 10 minutes needed to claim your luggage? I bring everything I want for a stress-free vacation and still have room for souvenirs and I don't have to tightly roll all my clothes just to fit them in like sardines in a can and I don't have to worry about running out of sunscreen or decide which two pairs of shoes I can bring and I don't have to turn my underwear inside out! I'd rather err on the side of having too much than too little.

    I'm with you, Dave!
    <font size=2>
    CN 2006, CSS 2009, CN 2009, CN 2010, CTI 2010, CN 2011, CSS 2012, CN 2012, CN 2013, CSA 2014, CN 2014, CSA 2015, CN 2015, CN 2016, CN 2018, CN2019

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by JulRic View Post
    My husband wants to do Carry On Luggage only for our next trip. It will be a 10 day trip!! how can I possible pack for 10 days with only a carry-on? From those who do this can you please tell me how you do it? What about the products you cant take on the plane? Do you purchase once you land? Would love to avoid the baggage pick up and avoid the wait...just dont know if its possible.
    Tell Hubby to quit being so cheap, pay the bag fee, and kepp his better half HAPPY!!!

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artie View Post
    Tell Hubby to quit being so cheap, pay the bag fee, and kepp his better half HAPPY!!!
    Atrie: I wish it was that. Our suitcases were lost 2 trips ago and mine showed up 2 days later his took 3 days. We went to Jamaica and our suit cases went to Guatemala. Ever since that trip I panic. His solution is to take carry-on only. We fly Southwest so at the moment no bag fees. I am going to try my best in November when we return home to try and pack in the carry-on only and see what happens. I have gotten alot of good ideas to reduce all the crap I take so we will see.
    Julie & Ric (Rhode Island)
    COR 1998, 2000, CN 2008, 2009, CSA 2013, CSA 2014, CTI 2015, CSS 2015, CSA 2016

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calm View Post
    Good Luck. We travel a fair bit. I will do carry on for work travel. But for my precious winter vacation, not possible. I have curly hair that requires product including two bottles of conditioner for 1 week. Plus for me, dressing up for dinner in a new outfit each night is half the fun. I look forward to it all winter long (and Canadian winters are longgggggg, unless you live in Vancouver, which we don't). All winter we require seven layers just to leave the house. I won't be cheated out of my one week to wear all my light frilly favourites. Yes, I usually pack more than I need, but for me it's worth the little extra time to check luggage. Oh, and gotta have at east 4 books each, the old fashioned paper kind. I'll be the one arriving at CSA with full size bag, lol.
    Calm: The hair products are what I am stressing over the most. I think I can easily do the cloths now that I have some new ideas, but the shampoo/conditioner the resort gives you just doesn't work on my hair. I know that you can put a 3-1-1 bag in each carry-on suitcase does anyone know if I can also put one in my beach bag?
    Julie & Ric (Rhode Island)
    COR 1998, 2000, CN 2008, 2009, CSA 2013, CSA 2014, CTI 2015, CSS 2015, CSA 2016

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