How to Pack a Tiny Suitcase

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After my brief trip to Denver for the Ladybud Magazine Relaunch, I was asked to write a “how-to” on traveling lightly for short business trips. The only luggage I brought along was my rolling carry on and a small bag for my wallet and electronics. I did not sacrifice any style and I was comfortable round trip. Yes, you read that right, just a carry-on.

Let me start by saying I am no travel pro. I can never make up my mind when it comes to outfit decisions, often not deciding what I will wear until I walk out the door. I have so many “things” I need, but deep down I knew I could streamline my packed items to get the most out of my trip without being weighed down by heavy luggage.

Versatile Basics:

When it comes to clothing, pack with interchangeable basics. This allows you to get the most variety while away from home without sacrificing personal style. Below, I have listed a few essentials that provides 4-5 outfits with minimal items:
-1 pair of jeans
-1 pair leggings
-2-3 basic tops
-Intimates, socks
-Light pajamas (super-soft tee, boxer shorts)

Note: If wearing jewelry, try to wear what you want on you as you travel to avoid loss or breaking delicate items. If I need to stow away fancy items, I use old jewelry boxes to protect my purchases.

 Travel Size Everything:

If don’t want to end up throwing away your expensive shampoo at the security gate, invest in some travel size bottles. Store all liquids in bottles 3.4 ounces and under (shampoo, perfume, lotion) in a quart size zip-lock bag by TSA guidelines, for a smooth trip through security. Most retailers have an isle dedicated to travel items and I advise you to raid it. I put my shampoo and conditioner in small container and use bar soap to reduce liquids. Pack travel size toothpaste and compact toothbrushes, or you can just buy toiletries at your destination if your budget allows it.


This is usually the hardest part for me. Shoes are bulky and can be heavy. This problem increases when winter boots are required and you are trying to pack a tiny suitcase! In cold weather, wear sturdy comfortable boots to the airport and pack an additional pair of versatile flats or dress shoes depending on the occasion. If traveling to warmer places, wear comfortable sturdy shoes to the airport and pack 2 pairs of sandals to mix and match between outfits.

Beauty & Toiletries:

Like liquids, buy a travel-size hair dryer (with retractable cords) if needed. Combs or brushes that collapse are other great space savers. Put all cosmetics in that cute make-up bag you never use. Eco-friendly face wipes are a great way to stay fresh without added liquids.


I carry all electronic devises in my small carry-on bag (big enough for a laptop, iPad, phones) with chargers. Wallets, journals, medicine and chapstick are stored here. Any other miscellaneous items can be placed here.

If it is unreasonably chilly, be sure to wear a sweater on the plane along with your coat. This allows for variety and warmth during winter months. Take this into consideration while creating a packing list for working trips. Look to travel as light as possible without sacrificing style, comfort or variety. You can do it! I promise you.