August 2

3 weeks vacation with only handluggage

handluggage travel capsule wardrobe

It is so relaxing to travel with only handluggage. 

And it's very possible, with just a little planning. 

Here are my personal tips for smooth travels with only handluggage:

Use a soft bag, not a hard wheelie carry-on suitcase

If you are strong enough to carry a bag, opt for a soft bag that fits under the seat in front of you instead. This has two clear advantages. One is that you're always 100% guaranteed that they won't make you check in your handluggage if the plane is very full. The other advantage is that in a soft bag with handles and/or shoulder strap, there's more precious room for the items you're packing. When switching from a wheelie carry-on suitcase to a soft carry-on bag, I noticed that there was a lot more space for what I was bringing in the soft, lightweight bag. This is obviously because the construction with wheels and retractable handles on the carry-on suitcase adds weight and took up room.

I recommend something like The Pakt One. I have a Pakt bag, and it fits under the seat in front of me if there isn't room in the overhead lockers, so I always get to bring it on board, and am able to squish it into the overhead compartment or worst case scenario, under the seat in front of me.

Travel in your heavier clothes

That means you don't have to carry them in your bag. Besides, airports and flights are often cold, so it's nice to have layers and not feel chilly.

Think comfort

Choose comfortable shoes and clothes. Bringing a minimal amount of items means each item must earn its space in your bag. Leave your high heels at home, and bring only shoes that you've worn in, traveling is no time to break in new shoes.

Bring multi-purpose items

The sarong that can be used as a scarf, the dress that can be worn under a T-shirt and look like a skirt, the camisole that can be layered or used alone. Everything that can be used in more ways than one is great. And think how you can change things up using layers.

Choose colours and items that go together

Every top you bring should ideally look good with any of the bottoms that you've packed. This goes for colour and style.

Solid colours

Mostly solid colours, but make it spiffy by bringing one or two items in fun prints. After all, it is vacay time!

Get used to the fact that nobody cares what you're wearing

You are the one who cares what you're wearing. If you are happy and at ease with what you're wearing, the people around you will feel that and not mind one bit that you wore that same dress to the restaurant last night.

Always bring a book

There will be delays. There will be a long time to wait before the meal is served on the flight. If you bring a book, you'll never be bored. Look, I've made the Nordic Simplicity Bookshop which seemed like a good place to curate a bundle of books that I love, to share with you. 

Bonus tip: If you're a knitter, bring knitting. If you bring both knitting and a book and only handluggage, you're all set for a relaxed trip. 

For more details about this small travel capsule wardrobe, watch the video!

About the author 

Jorunn Hernes

Jorunn is a Certified Personal Colour Analyst and reveals complex colour and style in a straightforward way, because it really doesn't have to be that difficult. She believes that colour is the most direct communication, will help you build a wardrobe that is less, but better, and can come up with 57 reasons to keep your natural hair colour. She is hopelessly in love with Dr. Martens and has a sourdough named S├ębastien.

  • Totally agree about the soft bag – I think they also hold more because you can squish things into the corners better using the give in the fabric! ;-). I would ditch two or three of the tops, one dress, the cover-up thingy (a dress works fine) and the skirt to make room for the underwear, books, knitting, toiletries, handbag, tablet, chargers, snacks… And I would take hand-wash and a washing line and pegs because 21 pairs of knickers waste a LOT of space: I’d take a week’s worth and wash twice. Love the colour scheme and you’ve really nailed it with the travel outfit.

    • Thanks Fiona! Great tips, I love the clothesline idea! I would also like to add that for an avid reader (as it sounds like both you and I are), a Kindle or other reading tablet is ideal for bringing loads of books without the added weight.

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