Last month I took off for Europe and visited four countries with very different climates and only took a carry on. Here’s how I did it:

1. Start by packing bottoms

Bottoms are the items that you will wear the most and can wash the least, so if you don’t see yourself wearing 3–4 outfits with one bottom, leave it at home. Build your wardrobe from there.

2. It’s about growth

If you’re traveling somewhere warm, buy a compressed towel that grows when you put it in water. That way you’re ready to go with a quality towel that won’t weigh your luggage down.

3a. Makeup

Powders and lipsticks don’t follow the 3–1–1 rule, so take as many of those as you’d like. This way the essential liquid product will all fit in your quart sized bag. But also, keep in mind that you probably don’t need four palettes on your trip honey boo boo. Find a simple compact that has both eyeshadow and highlighter/blush. (Hot tip: Tarte has some great ones.)

3b. Makeup Part 2

I never bring full sized products with me and the stuff I do take is usually half used up because then I can just dump it at the end of my trip and free up some weight for gifts.

4. No wrinkles

Only pack durable fabrics. Anything that wrinkles is not worth your time, especially if you don’t think you’ll have an iron handy. You can wear that in your own country, you fascist.

5. Gain some weight

If you’re worried about your carry on weight, wear the heaviest items in your suitcase to the airport. Once you’re past security, you can always stuff it into your carry on.

6. Solid suds

If you need more room for liquids, pack bar soap instead as that does not need to follow the 3–1–1 rule.

7. Dual functionality

If you’re planning on going out, you don’t want to hit the bars or go dancing with a clunky purse, but you may also not want to pack a separate small purse. A great solution are those wallets that come with detachable chains so that it can function as your wallet during the day in your bigger tote and then as your going our purse later. Voilà!

8. Layers

You probably already know this, but you should be an onion, ripe with layers. Pack pieces that you can mix and match. Something you think you *might wear or will *only wear once, you will likely never wear.

9. Don’t pack heels

Just please trust me on this. Especially if you’re going to Europe. Those cobblestones and your ankles are not in a healthy relationship. It’s toxic and you’re slipping under.

10. Bring a reusable bag

The real life hack here is using this virtually weightless bag as your personal item when you’re in a jam. Every airline has such different policies on what max weight and size of carry on items are that I’ve gotten into situations where I’ll stuff my purse and some of my heavier items in my reusable bag/“personal item” in order for my carry on to not be over weight. #scamming

Arijana Ramic is a Seattle based standup comedian. You can find her musings on twitter (@arijanaramic) and short videos on the Aisha and Arijana FB page.

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