17 Days in Europe….with a Carry-On! (It is possible!!)

I recently boasted on social media how I managed to travel through Europe for 17 days with just a carry-on and a back-pack!  I was met with many responses to share how / what I packed to achieve this!

The Luggage:

After some research - I settled on the IT "World's lightest" Carry-on.  I accidentally ordered a slightly larger one for Julles - which worked out in our favour in the end!  Here's what I loved about this luggage:

  • It really is L I G H T !!  Starting with a heavy carry-on before filling it is asking for trouble trying to hoist it into overhead compartments on airplanes and trains.
  • The colour!  Teal / turquoise is my favourite, and it stands out in a crowd!!
  • It fit within the tight constraints of airline cabin luggage restrictions that we were flying with!  (Easyjet & TAP Air)
  • The inside space was better than most spinner options out there!

Click on any of the images to order yours now!

First - disclaimers:  I researched temperatures and pre-planned most of our activities before we left so I had a better idea of what we would need.  I purchased a new carry-on for each of us.  I researched the lightest carry-on that was within our airline dimensions - and had the most available interior space!

First...  The Packing List!

Since we were traveling by planes, trains, boats (ahem..ships), taxis, and our own feet - through 4 different countries and 2 different climates - Mix&Match was a MUST!

It was planned to be warm (a little hot) in Spain & Italy, Cooler in France and Cool & Rainy in Belgium.  We had some nicer restaurants on the Carnival Horizon, a LOT of walking, a little bit of pool / hot tub time, and a bit of 'lounging' time.  (Ha!  Who was I kidding?  We ended up spending ZERO time in the hot tub, and lounging around was a pipe dream!)

Here's what I packed!


  • Essential make-up
  • Travel sized Pro-Active skin care
  • Travel sized Shampoo / Conditioner
  • Travel sized Leave-in Conditioning Spray
  • Travel sized deodarant
  • Travel sized mouthwash
  • Travel sized toothpaste
  • Flossers
  • Just-a-Drop (for those tiny bathrooms you must share with your spouse after some local awesome food!!)
  • Do-TERRA travel essential oils (Peppermint, On-Guard, Serenity, Melaleuca, Breathe, Lavender)
  • 3 disposable razors
  • Hairbrush
  • Night retainer
  • Toothbrush
  • Small pack of liners, pads, tampons
  • Travel Bottle Advil & Cold/Sinus pills
  • Bandaids
  • Q-Tips
  • Coin Purse
  • Travel Laundry Bag
  • SPI Belt (to be used as a money belt under my shirt!)


CUBE 1 -


  • 9 - Underwear
  • 2 - Bras
  • 9 - Socks
  • 2 - scarfs
  • 2 - skinny belts
  • 1 - 2 piece swimsuit
  • 2 - nightshirts

CUBE 2 -


  • 1 - Maxi Skirt
  • 1 - Yoga Pants
  • 1 - Skinny Jeans
  • 2 - Skorts
  • 3 - Dresses
  • 8 - Tops (dressy and casual)
  • 3 - Sleeveless tops



  • Light Jacket
  • Casual Flats
  • Light sweater
  • Toiletries (liquids)
  • Small fleece blanket
  • Phone, charger & cables
  • Earbuds

The Packing Process!

If possible, wear your bulkier items on the airplane to avoid packing them.  I wore my long jacket, jeans, shirt and sweater on the plane.  I packed a small fleece blanket for the flight - but could have easily left it at home as the airline provided pillows and blankets for the overnight flight!

Note:  Pack ESSENTIALS (medications, etc.) in your back pack.  Some airlines will fill up their overhead space quickly and ask you to check your carry-on (free of charge).  This means you will not have access to it during your flight.  

Lay out all your clothing on a bed or table.  Make sure all items can be mixed and matched and you can dress in layers for the cooler weather!

Group small items and accessories together (socks, belts, scarfs, etc.).

ROLL EVERYTHING!  For some items, it helps to roll it, then secure it with a rubber band.  Pack the rolls in your packing cubes like you are mastering a game of Jenga and zip it up!

Tuck it in!

Tuck the packing cubes into your Carry-On.  There will be space around them to add in the following items:

  • High heels
  • Flip Flops
  • Power Inverter
  • Curling Iron

Your luggage will likely have a couple straps you can secure it all with (so if airport security needs to open your luggage - it doesn't explode all over the belt!!)

Laundry - Day 8

We did a full load of laundry on day 8 of our trip.  We packed these handy Purex 3 in 1 sheets to avoid the high cost of laundry detergent in the laundromat!

There you have it!

The ONE item I forgot was a travel sized hairspray.  Not having this meant my curling iron was useless.  I attempted to find a travel sized bottle in Europe but was not successful.  (I also didn't fret over it either!)

I came home with 1 full outfit clean in my luggage and didn't regret not bringing anything in particular!

Having just a back-pack and a small Carry-On was beyond convenient for all the modes of travel we were doing!  We flew to Spain, sailed a 7 day Mediterranean cruise, flew to  Paris, spent 3 awesome nights in Disneyland Paris, took a train to Belgium and visited family for 4 nights, then flew back home to Canada!  We saved HUNDREDS in checked luggage fees!!!!!  We also saved HUNDREDS in souvenir costs!  Having little room to pack souvenirs meant we were very selective on what we brought home for the kids and our family!  Italian leather purses for my sister and Mom also doubled as my purse in Belgium (they didn't mind that they were slightly used - they still smelled like a brand new car!!).  Pins and small flags for the kids.  A sweater for my son (that I wore home...because it was FREEZING in Belgium!!) and a bottle of port for my Momma!

We packed a collapsible duffel bag in the event we would need to check a bag coming home - but we never needed it.  It stayed neatly folded up in the bottom of my husband's Carry-On.  I felt better knowing I had it on hand - and felt even better when I got home and never needed it!  lol!

This has COMPLETELY CHANGED THE WAY I PACK!  I don't know that we will ever require a checked bag again!  If 17 days of mixed weather is possible, then 7 days of Caribbean weather will be easy-peasy!

Go ahead!  Try it!  You will be amazed!

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