How to pack for a 10 day trip to Italy – in a carry-on!


So, I went back and forth with this. Do I check a bag, or do I just bite the bullet and carry-on? I started thinking about myself and how I would handle having to carry a large bag to multiple places (we didn’t stay more than 2 nights in the same place), and I realized how annoyed I would become with having to lug a huge bag around. So, I decided I would pack 10 days worth of clothing in a 20 inch carry-on bag.

How did I do it? Easy (so I thought)! If anyone knows me, they know that I research and prepare and plan – almost to a fault. So, as you can imagine I read a number of travel blogs and endlessly searched Pinterest for tips and tricks.

I started with 4 basic items: 3 pairs of pants (1 camel denim, 1 black denim, and 1 dark blue denim) and one black cotton dress.

I then added one bulky, comfy sweater, a denim button-up I wore this as a layer on the plane – so it was not added to the carry-on, 2 long sleeved shirts (one striped, and one dusty pink for a little bit of color), one long gray hooded cardigan and one nice black blouse to wear out at night.

It may sound crazy, but with all of these items I was able to put together 9 outfits! See below for the different combinations:

I did however run into some problems. I didn’t pack enough underwear. I know, I know, how the heck did I organize everything else and not include that? Well, simple…I was doing laundry before the trip and forgot to add a few more pairs to my suitcase. Mistakes happen, but underwear are also very easy to purchase, which is what I did 🙂

In the end I had to purchase a small carry-on bag for 20 euros to pack all of my souvenirs – and ended up checking my suitcase on the flight back. I thought that worked out perfectly and I had breakables in the carry-on I had purchased so it was easier for me to control in that sense. Plus, it was super cute:


As for accessories, I purchased a really cute beanie with a pom pom at a store in downtown Livermore, adorable nicely lined gloves from Anthropologie, a beautiful blanket scarf I purchased from Etsy (and it doubled as a great blanket on the plane!), and I wore my rain coat from Banana Republic the entire trip. It was pretty lightweight, but I think it was the perfect coat since you needed to wear layers – cold outside, and then transitioning to blistering hot inside. I put together a collage of the accessories mentioned above – these are not exactly what I took but similar.


For shoes, I packed my Tom’s tennis shoes, my Ralph Lauren brown flat boots, and for a little bit of height – and for going out at night – I packed my over the knee suede boots made by Dolce Vita (purchased via Nordstrom Rack online).

Hopefully this was helpful information. I know that when I was looking for tips and tricks resources such as the one I’m providing were super helpful!

Until next time –