How I packed with carry-ons for a week at the beach.

I believe getting away from your normal life from time to time is healthy. I have been fortunate to be apart of a bi-yearly girls week at the beach.  No men, no kids.  Just goofy life-long friends spending a week in beauty remembering who we are.  It is life-giving.  

This year I couldn't find as good of a flight deal as I needed so I decided to not check luggage for the first time ever.  I knew I'd save $50 by challenging myself to pack lightly.  So I did and these are the little bags I used.  
I was gone eight days. The fact that we went in March this year - the longest winter ever - made packing exceptionally difficult.  Swimsuits and shorts take very little space, as do sandals, but this rainy, chilly week called for layers of clothing and more than just sandals.

The key to my success was a lot of thought and two compression bags.  I got mine from Clever Container and I can order them for you (they are great for camping! and now come in teal polka-dot) *UPDATE* My International Student traveled back home to Pakistan and his suitcases were small but he was able to get everything in thanks to three of these bags! ***
In each bag I had a few outfits and a swimsuit.  I chose clothing that worked well together.  Once I decided between a black base vs. a brown base of clothing my choices became easier for me.

I brought my favorite sandals, a pair of plaid tennis shoes, and I wore a pair of BOBs that are easy to travel in and kept my toes from freezing on the plane.  They were also easy to take on and off through security.

As for jewelry, I wore one pair of earrings that would match everything and I wore my favorite "all purpose" bracelet.
I put one compression bag inside each carry-on.

I had to have travel sized liquids (toiletries) so those were small.  I put them all in 3 ziptop quart sized bags and kept them at the front of the bags to get through security easily.  I borrowed hairspray and a hair dryer from one of my friends who checked her luggage.

I shopped while I was there.  I bought a few shirts and chose small gifts for my family.  I went to the post office and bought the medium sized Priority Mail box and filled it with the gifts and a few articles of clothing (swimsuit included) and had it shipped home.  That was cheaper than checking luggage.
Packing lightly took a lot of thought but I didn't miss oodles of choices.  Living with less was best.  We had a small washer/dryer at our condo so I could have gotten by with even less but I did wear everything...except my swimsuit.  It was too cold.

So that's how I packed lightly and had a great time with my girlfriends.  I feel relaxed and rejuvenated even though so much has happened since I returned home.

How about you?  Do you have tricks to packing lightly?  Compression bags and planning were the key to me.  What about getting away? Do you do it? Where do you go and for how long?

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