Fashion Outfits

My Carry-on Only Challenge to Europe

24 May 2018

luggage, carry on only, Europe trip, straw hat, cardigan, travel diary

When James and I were finalizing plans for our Europe trip we decided carry-on only would be best.

Between hoping from city to city over a period of 9 days it just seemed to make sense. We weren't too keen on hauling several large suitcases all over town. And not having to retrieve luggage from baggage claim is always nice. Needless to say it was still 9 days worth of outfits I was going to have to squeeze into a little suitcase. I have a hard time packing light for a weekend trip so the challenge was definitely intimidating to say the least.

After evaluating my pattern of styling lately (a bit more minimalist and neutral) I started to feel pretty confident I could pull it off. Plus it didn't hurt that Europe was our destination where simple and classic is the norm and preferred. Now I did go through a brief panic on whether this was really going to be doable. But after a few editing tweaks the job got done. Whew!

packing, luggage, packing tips, how to pack a carry on, what to pack

Here are the items that made the final cut:

paris, teal doors, wrap duster, straight jeans, chelsea boots, striped shirt, casual style






Old Navy

Michael Kors

floral top, black capri pants, basket bag, target sandals, brussels, belguim,





olive green swing dress, white sweater, chelsea boots, handle bar handbag, Amsterdam, Europe, vacation outfit ideas




Old Navy


silk cami, olive green cardigan, straight jeans, basket bag, white mules, vacation outfit, Europe

Nordstrom Rack

The Outnet

Old Navy



white jeans, black button up shirt outfits, cream cross-body, black sandals, revere shoes, cardigan, black sunglasses, Gent, floral stand

New York & Company



Black House White Market

Revere Shoes


luggage, penguin luggage, straw hat, cardigan, tote bag, packing essentials





Here are a few more pieces that came along as well:

*The last row are items that never got worn.

Our luggage ended up exceeded the weight limit so we had to check in our carry-on suitcases anyway. Ha!

Be on the lookout for a full recap of our trip soon! Until then incased you missed it, some of our adventures are on my Instagram-stories 'Highlights".

AnnetteΒ β™₯

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  • Reply Laura 24 May 2018 at 6:37 PM

    I β€˜m so impressed with your packing skills and totally love all of the outfits that you wore in Europe. It is kind of funny that you ended up having to check your carry-on bag though. Great effort!

    xo, Laura

    • Reply Annette 24 May 2018 at 7:07 PM

      Thank you Laura. Lol yes, I was like “what? I could have brought more?” But it worked out…I didn’t even wear everything I packed. Thank you for reading. xo

  • Reply Kimberly Burke 24 May 2018 at 7:25 PM

    When I first read the title of this post, I gasped! I don’t think I have the self control to pack everything on a carry on. You picked so many versatile pieces though! Hope you had a great time!

    • Reply Annette 24 May 2018 at 7:28 PM

      Yes, totally gaspable! πŸ™‚ I didn’t think I had it in me either. I have to give props to my husband…his speech was very convincible. πŸ™‚ Thank you Kimberly, we had a great time.

  • Reply Helena Marz 24 May 2018 at 9:28 PM

    That’s amazing how you packed for a carry on! I definitely need to figure it out how to pack more for my carry on without the extra weight lol l tend to need to take more with me on a trip! Thanks for this post❀️

    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 8:12 AM

      I am notorious for overpacking. I even over packed in my carry-on. lol Thank you for reading Helena. xo

  • Reply Nataly 25 May 2018 at 7:17 AM

    I am so impressed that you only packed a carry on! I am not so sure I would be able to do this! LOL

    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 8:11 AM

      It was tricky, but it turned out easier than I expected.

  • Reply Lily 25 May 2018 at 10:11 AM

    Wow! There’s NO way I could have packed like this. No way!

    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 4:16 PM

      lol…don’t underestimate yourself. I felt the same way at first. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Taylor Mobley 25 May 2018 at 10:13 AM

    Omg I am so impressed that you only packed a carry on! Teach me your ways!

    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 4:17 PM

      Thanks! It was tricky, but doable. πŸ™‚

  • Reply lydia 25 May 2018 at 10:25 AM

    SO much fun, can’t wait to read all about your trip to Europe! And wow, super impressed with only packing a carry-on! I always try to pack lightly and then end up with WAY too much haha! Thanks for sharing all of your outfits!

    xo, Lydia

    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 4:17 PM

      Yes, I tend to way over pack too. Thank you for reading.

  • Reply Anna English 25 May 2018 at 11:07 AM

    I’m loving all the outfits from your trip. So cute!

    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 4:18 PM


  • Reply Lauren 25 May 2018 at 12:24 PM

    You look amazing in all of these pictures! I need to try and pack more cohesively so I don’t bring as many things when I go on longer trips!

    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 4:18 PM

      Thank you Lauren.

  • Reply Gita 25 May 2018 at 1:28 PM

    Wow a carry on for a 9-day trip. Thats super impressive!

    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 4:19 PM

      Lol thank you. I was a bit surprised myself.

  • Reply Kim 25 May 2018 at 2:02 PM

    I’m so impressed! I am not a light packer so there is no way I could have done this, but you made it look so easy!!


    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 4:20 PM

      Thank you Kim. It’s takes some focus, but yes very challenging.

  • Reply Helen 25 May 2018 at 3:36 PM

    I really enjoyed reading your post. And the pictures that you post are all beautiful! Thanks for sharing this.

    • Reply Annette 25 May 2018 at 4:20 PM

      Thank you Helen.

  • Reply Stephanie 25 May 2018 at 5:19 PM

    I’m not sure I’d ever be skilled enough to pack everything in a carry-on! Primarily because I use a TON of cosmetic products and haircare items that would take up too much space and wouldn’t adhere to the rules. But you sure nailed this challenge!

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:27 AM

      I’m definitely not a big product person, but I can see how that could be challenging.

  • Reply Katie 25 May 2018 at 6:48 PM

    You did really well to fit it on in a carry on case… even if it did weigh too much lol! Great versatile choices, well done!

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:20 AM

      Thank you Katie.

  • Reply Sandy 25 May 2018 at 10:05 PM

    I always dream about travelling light yet feeling confident I have everything I need as well as looking stylish. You’ve accomplished all of these!

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:21 AM

      Don’t give up, I felt the same way. πŸ™‚ Thank you for reading Sandy.

  • Reply Kileen 26 May 2018 at 2:57 AM

    Wow that is so impressive!! SO many great items you packed too!

    cute & little

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:21 AM

      Thank you Kileen.

  • Reply Cathy 27 May 2018 at 10:26 AM

    I am so impressed that you managed to fit everyone in a carry-on for Europe! I did giggle that you had to check it anyways though. That has definitely happened to me before too!!

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:21 AM

      lol Thanks Cathy. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Theresa Bailey 27 May 2018 at 11:46 AM

    Funny because this is the same exact challenge I’m about to have when I go to Amsterdam / Greece for two weeks! It just sucks that they charge so much for bags.

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:22 AM

      How fun! Yes, we enjoyed Amsterdam. Have a great time on your trip. Maybe your airline won’t charge for bags…ours didn’t.

  • Reply Kelsey 27 May 2018 at 10:04 PM

    SO IMPRESSED! One of my biggest weaknesses is my packing abilities hahah. xo

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:22 AM

      Thank you!

  • Reply Megan 28 May 2018 at 12:23 AM

    This is amazing. I don’t think I could do it myself but I also hate carrying around a ton of bags!

    Megan |

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:23 AM

      Thank you. Yes, it was nice only having one bag.

  • Reply Megan Elliott 28 May 2018 at 7:31 AM

    I always bring only a carry-on!! SO much better. You did an amazing job!! All of the pieces you brought are perfect.

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:23 AM

      Thank you Megan.

  • Reply Kristina 28 May 2018 at 8:16 AM

    That’s awesome that you squeezed everything into a carry-on but that stinks about the weight limit!! I can’t ever remember them weighing my carry-ons so thats strange!

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:24 AM

      They are pretty strict on weight for international flights apparently.

  • Reply Deborah 28 May 2018 at 6:15 PM

    This is a great capsule wardrobe for your trip! The items are all so versatile!

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 7:24 AM

      Thank you Deborah.

  • Reply Laura Leigh 30 May 2018 at 8:02 AM

    You are a total rockstar for doing this! Super impressed. And you had so many great looks!

    xo Laura Leigh

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 4:24 PM

      Thank you!

  • Reply Nailil Ivaldi 30 May 2018 at 9:33 AM

    Packing a carry-on only is such a challenge blood looking at your outfits you did a great job.

    Xx, Nailil

    • Reply Annette 30 May 2018 at 4:24 PM

      Thank you!

  • Reply Jasmine Vargas 31 May 2018 at 8:28 PM

    WOW! I’m impressed, to be honest. I couldn’t think anyone can go across seas with just a carryon.

    • Reply Annette 1 June 2018 at 8:58 AM

      I felt the same way. It was a fun challenge. πŸ™‚

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