Living Out of A Carry-On for Two Months

Megan Wilson
March 24, 2018

It all started with a realization that I would not, under any circumstances, be hauling my full-sized international suitcase through the cobblestone streets of Europe after my program ended.

Now, it is completely possible to travel after your study abroad program. One good option is to leave your big suitcase in your study abroad city in a storage unit, go traveling, and then pick it back up when you’re done and fly home. However, I had already bought my return ticket from Greece, not Paris, so I needed a way to downsize my luggage. Drastically. My plan was simple: send my big suitcase and the majority of my belongings back to the U.S. with my parents when they came to visit and live out of a carry on for the next two months. I’m not going to lie, downsizing was difficult, especially as a woman with countless shoes, blouses, and makeup products. However, it is possible. And here’s how I did it.

First, realize that you're going to be leaving all your notebooks and textbooks behind. Sell them, give them away, burn them-- whatever you choose, you won't have room for them.

My only area of luxury is my bullet journal supplies; I just couldn't send them all home, but I really limited myself to the bare minimum for stationery color choices.

These are all travel necessities, but the book is purposely not very thick, the purse is pretty small, and I sent my iPad home so I only have my computer now. 

I limited myself to five long-sleeve shirts, two cardigans, a thicker sweater, and a light rain coat. Sayonara bulky parka.

These are all my tanks and t-shirts, which work double duty as casual tops or pajama shirts.

For bottoms I have a pair of black pants, jeans, leggings, pajama bottoms, and a pair of shorts. That's it.

A few cute summery tops and bottoms, for nice weather or a night out.

Three dresses, mostly becasue I love dresses, but also incase I needed something more formal to wear.

High tops for everyday and weekend trips. Flats for school and going out to eat. Flip flops for showering and beach wear.

My accessories/miscellaneous clothing were limited to a neck scarf, two swim suits, a pair of thick tights, and a pair of thin tights. I also had four bras and a week and a half worth of socks and underwear.

Pro tip: keep any souvenirs you buy small. Here's what I picked up in Rome and Venice. And since I'm traveling after my program, I have to save room for the souvenirs I'll pick up along the way.

In my home stay, I have full-sized toiletries, but travel-sized everything is necessary for after I leave Paris.

Rock the natural makeup look and keep your makeup bag as basic as possible.

Here are my random travel necessities. Wallet, sunglasses with case, Polaroid camera, headphones, chap stick, hand sanatizer, and a portable phone charger. But seriously, don't travel (especially solo) without a portable phone charger.

Like makeup, keep jewelry simple. Only keep items that can all fit in a snack-sized plastic bag.

Here's the proof folks! All these items in just two small bags. This post may be a break from my usual picturesque travel posts, but I hope that this one is the most helpful. Happy traveling!

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Megan Wilson

<p>I was born in Melbourne, Australia and moved to the United States&nbsp;eight months later, and I've loved to travel every since. My favorite way to document my travels is through something called a bullet journal, which is like a combination of an agenda, a journal, and a scrapbook.</p>

2018 Spring
Home University:
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Pulaski, WI
International Business
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