Pack your carry-on like a pro with Matalan: What to pack & What to leave at home

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I do love a challenge and when it comes to packing there’s no better way to travel than to travel light. But don’t let me fool you: I don’t always travel light. I sure do prefer it when I do, but sometimes my trips will require taking heavy tripods, extra camera lenses and oodles of tech-y-gear that leaves me bogged down in extra baggage charges. But if I’m going on a short trip of up to a week, you won’t find me taking any more than necessary. In fact, I’d say I have it down to some sort of art form by now.

Matalan gave me the challenge of seeing how much I could pack in a lightweight carry-on case they sent me. The aim was to pack everything I would need and leave anything I didn’t need at home. As my airline only allowed seven kilograms for carry-on luggage, it was quite a stretch! But alas I managed to squeeze in enough outfits and tech gear for a week-long trip to the beach. Here’s the result!

How to pack your carry-on Packing GIF Everything you do need

Lets cut straight to the point: here are all the items you do need to take in your carry-on for a week long trip away, not including any essentials that will get you buzzing and beeping at the security check point (because really, you can do without a pair of nail clippers or tweezers for a week anyway).

Clothes – an obvious choice but a mandatory one all the same! Keep it light with thinner fabrics and just one jumper/sweater/jacket to keep you warm in the evenings.

Shoes – two pairs will do the trick. One for adventurous activities and another pair to wear to dinners, etc.

Skincare regime – don’t let your skin suffer when you’re away from home! Keep up all your regimes whilst away or you’ll return home feeling a little worse for wear. This is my favourite way to combat jetlag by doing all the things you still do at home.

Tech gear – I’m talking camera(s), chargers, phones, etc. Sometimes it is however nice to switch off so you could do without!

Accessories – for a beachy getaway I never travel without a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and a light scarf to transition a day outfit > night.

How to pack your carry-on like a pro Packing GIF - World of Wanderlust

Items you will want to take but do not need

And now to the fun stuff (I know, I know… how do I find pleasure in such things!?) If you’re aiming to pack carry-on only, leave the following items at home:

Choices – remember you can only ever wear one pair of trousers or a jacket at the one time. Pack one of everything and leave the rest at home (unless you like to wear different outfits depending on your mood, then pack a few choices for the main garment).

Books – I’m always tempted to take books on trips but I almost always end up gifting them instead of keeping them for my bookshelf, in an effort to shed a little weight from my case during my trip. If you’re like me and you like to hang on to your books, try purchasing Ebooks or Kindle books to read for your holidays.

Anything you don’t use daily at home – the idea is to pack everything you do use daily at home and leave any extras at home. If you don’t wash your hair on a daily basis then there’s no need to bring your whole haircare regime along with you. To the contrary if you’re protective of your skin and like to look after it well, be sure to pack your usual regime.

Everything I Packed:

Lightweight Suitcase by MatalanConverse shoesCountry Road Jumper, Zara Jeans, Gigi New York HandbagApple Macbook Air 13″, Lack of Color HatTularosa Dress 1 2 3Lily Pulitzer Dress + ScarfVictoria’s Secret Bikini, Olympus PEN EPL7Olympus OMD Mark II (filmed on), Nike Gym Gear, Ray Bans SunglassesDry ShampooGoPro Camera, CleanserNail Polish.

Pack your carry-on like a pro! This post contains sponsored content in the form of a suitcase so light I can lift it with my left pinky… which is understandably weaker than my right. So yeah, it’s pretty light. Thanks Matalan!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!




    Lynn Cohen (the male spelling)

    May 30, 2016

    You have some really great info on this blog. I especially liked the video on packing. MMMM oh dear. That’s always real tuff for me as I am the one who likes to be prepared for anything. The Boy Scout in me I guess. You show some really amazing places to see. While I love to travel, shortage of means has kept by bucket list still quite long. To that end, I am creating a blog showing people some very informative and creative ways to save money on a vacation and, hopefully, make the unaffordable, more possible. I would appreciate your review of my site and any ideas you may have. Maybe we can work together. I would love to refer people to your site for ideas on where to go. You may also be interested in send people to my blog to possibly show your readers how to get the best prices and vacations deals to get to the locations you have lured them to. My initial posts are on cruising, but I am currently expanding to other types of vacations and you would be a great addition.



    May 27, 2016

    Hii, I really liked the sandals too, tried to check the website but couldnt find them, theres so many, do you maybe happen to know what name they go under? Or even have a link?
    Thanks a lot, Linda



    May 26, 2016

    Aw, thanks. That sounds like a good idea. Didn´t think about that – I´m such a chaot sometimes 🙂



    May 24, 2016

    Never mind! I see you posted a list of your items. Don’t mind me….



    May 24, 2016

    Great tips! And great hat! Do you remember where you got it? 🙂


    Jil Diamante

    May 24, 2016

    Very helpful post! Especially on the space saving tip!




    May 23, 2016

    Carina, I suggest you buy your hiking or approach shoes right now and wear them often so that they are •vey• well broken-in, and if they have laces, bring an extra pair.



    May 23, 2016

    I have recently been thinking about traveling more, especially after my San Francisco trip… And trying to figure out how to pack light! I managed with just a suitcase and backpack for my weeklong trip, but would love to shave off more… Thanks for the tips. 🙂



    May 23, 2016

    Great post! I’m fanatic about packing light and almost never check a bag. I’m curious. Your sunscreen and dry shampoo are quite large and I’m used to the 4oz. rule. Is that not a thing where you’re travelling? I’m in Asia but I travel in the US a lot. I usually check a bag if I’m bringing sunscreen because I’ve seen sunscreen “flushed” by screeners a few times.

  10. Brooke Saward

    May 21, 2016

    Charles and Keith .com 🙂 I believe they ship worldwide! xx



    May 21, 2016

    Those sandals on the top two photo’s are just to cute! What kind are they? Would love to know!



    May 19, 2016

    Nice Post and Good Work i’like your blog i m a dealy visiter for your blog. Thanks



    May 17, 2016

    What a cute challenge! I feel like I struggle with this every week, since I travel for work every week.


    Diana Maria

    May 16, 2016

    I loved watching your video and am so impressed by your packing abilities! I definitely need to learn how to pack my carry on’s more efficiently as I tend to over pack and pack things I just don’t need!


    Bethany Sara Kaye

    May 15, 2016

    yes this is so helpful! I’m always travelling but I have not yet mastered the art of packing. Overpacking I am excellent at though


    Ali May

    May 15, 2016

    Great advice! It’s ridiculous how every tie I go away, I always seem to over-pack, and totally overlook the prospect of wearing the same clothes twice. Your tips are awesome, and I will put them to the test this week when packing for a 5 night trip.



    May 15, 2016

    Great article !

    So hard to only pick the essential things ….

    Kenza from



    May 15, 2016

    Love this! I find it so hard to travel light. This helps a lot!



    May 14, 2016

    Thanks for the tips! I really suck at packing and always take to much stuff with me.



    May 14, 2016

    Such a helpful post


    Golden Triangle Tour with khajuraho

    May 14, 2016

    Bag packing is art, I always prefer necessary things, I am good bag packer, But I always prefer only important thinks.



    May 14, 2016

    My Kindle is the biggest saviour when it comes to packing! When travelling between the UK and Italy, I always have the problem of preparing for both climates – I leave the UK bundled up in jumpers and coats but then have no room to squeeze them in my suitcase when I get off the plane in the lovely mediterranean air! xxx
    Lucy @



    May 14, 2016

    I do the same when packing! I recently went to Europe for two weeks and only took a carry on! I was so proud of myself. But you really do have to ask yourself the important questions. I almost wanted to bring this one pair of shoes ‘just in case’, but they would have put me over the edge. So I had to toss em! It really makes you think about the things you NEED.



    Brittany Thiessen

    May 13, 2016

    Thanks for the great packing tips! What’s always a challenge for me, is leaving behind the “just in case” items. I am a planner and I like to be prepared for all potential scenarios/weather/situations, so narrowing down my clothing choices is difficult. But with each trip, I am getting better and better at being more ruthless with my packing and only taking what I need. I hope to keep improving!

    Thanks for sharing this article.


    jo silverman

    May 13, 2016

    One thing that always gets me about packing is how the shoes are packed; they’re always pictured as being right in there with all the clothes. Does no one ever think about where those shoes have been? What they’ve been walked through? City (Paris, NYC – dogs), or country (pastures – with cows!). One can buy shoes bags specifically for carrying shoes or what I do – plastic carry bags from the market. Much more sanitary, especially today.

  26. Triiin@gmail.con'


    May 13, 2016

    Lovely tips, travelling light is one of favourite things too. I discovered that on beach holidays the best beauty treatments are to buy local coconut, olive oil for the skin and hair mask. And silk is great as it takes so little space and looks great.



    May 13, 2016

    Haha LOVE that little sponsored disclaimer. And thanks for this post! Going on a 1 week trip in July, and these packing tips would definitely help 😉




    May 13, 2016

    Great tips! I always pack too much 🙂 I will try to pack less the next time according to your tips!



    May 13, 2016

    Great tips!

    Kate |



    May 13, 2016

    You´re so sympathetic! Love your videos. And your blog of course. I used to overpack all the time, before I really started to travel more regularly, but now it´s become such a routine (obviously not nearly as much as for you, but still) that everyone´s always asking me: Is that all you´re taking? I love to challenge myself.
    But this summer I´ll have to pack for a long backpacking trip, so that´s going to be a whole new pair of shoes. Any tips on that?
    Thanks for all the inspiration every day! Hugs from Madrid,


    the adventurer

    May 13, 2016

    Great tips! So nice to read before I pack for a weekend trip to Miami next week. I need to learn to pack more lightly =o)



    May 13, 2016

    This was so helpful! I always over pack lol


    Charlotte Buckle

    May 13, 2016

    This is just what I needed! When I go to pack for a short trip, I pack quick and believe that I have everything I need… but I look around the place and suddenly my bag is pack to the brim with nonsense items! Haha! Thank you so much for the advice!

    C |


    Aoife Marie

    May 13, 2016

    I love this! I am such an over-packer, but this year I’m going for more of a minimal theme… Thanks for the advice!

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