But first, a brief lesson on packing

Y'all. I'm really good at packing. I've always thought this was a skill that no one ever cared about - like being able to recite Canterbury Tales in the original Old English or being really good at shoe-tying while balancing on once foot. But several people have asked me about how I maintain my anti-bag check policy, so here we are. These are some rules I live by:

 
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  • Be informed about situation you need to pack for - weather, occasion, etc - and plan accordingly. No throwing things in willy-nilly.
  • Don't bring 'what if' items. I know, I know - what if you get invited to a cat-themed rave in Copenhagen and you'll neeeeeed your neon-green Grumpy Cat tank top. Except you won't, so save the luggage space to bring home the useless things you buy abroad.
  • Only bring clothes that you actually like, wear often, and feel confident in. It's silly to waste time and luggage space on an item that you'll put on, stare in the mirror for 10 minutes, and ultimately decide you're not pulling it off. 
  • Always wear bulky items in transit. I will always have my favorite boots on vacation, but those boots will NEVER see the inside of my luggage.
  • Speaking of shoes, they take up far more room than they're worth. Narrow it down to 2, maaaaybe 3 options depending on the trip.
  • You really don't need more than one pair of pants and one pair of shorts. Bring a versatile styles, think in layers, and wear items multiple times. No one will notice, I promise.
  • SERIOUSLY it's okay to wear things multiple times. People wash clothes all over the world.

For Switzerland, I'll be traveling for 18 days, spending a good amount of time exploring cities and hiking in cool (40s/60s) and warm (80s/90s) weather. So a lot of bases to cover. Here's a not-so-pretty snapshot of everything I'm bringing:

  • 1 pair dark jeans
  • 1 pair shorts
  • Assortment of shirts
  • 2 sweaters
  • 4 dresses
  • Boots (& socks)
  • Sandals
  • Hiking shoes
  • 1 rain shell
  • 1 pair hiking pants (quick-dry)
  • 1 pair hiking shorts (quick-dry)
  • 3 hiking tops (quick-dry)
  • 9 pair underwear
  • 2 sports bras
  • 1 swimsuit

All of my clothes fit into 2 packing cubes (the best thing that ever happened to travel), except for my outfit for the plane. Note that I'll be wearing my bulkiest items - jeans, a tank, a sweater because I'm a baby and freeze to death on planes, and boots. Also added to the packing pile are :

  • Any paper docs, tickets, & passport
  • Computer
  • Chargers & cords - I use a Grid-it to keep everything organized
  • Toiletries (only take what you absolutely need) 
  • An empty cross-body bag (to fill at destination)
  • Camera, 18mm lens (not pictured. duh.) & 50mm lens

Et Voila. Everything fits very comfortably in my two allotted carry-ons. I'd say that both bags are only at about 70% capacity, so I have plenty of space to bring home a year's supply of chocolate and an assortment of totally unnecessary souvenirs.