how to pack for Europe in a carry-on

I recently got back from a beautiful summer holiday in Italy. This was my first time traveling to Europe without checking a single piece of luggage. It was so liberating (fear of lost luggage, gone), that I told myself I'll never look back! I enjoyed the ease of moving from airport to train station to ferry without relying on my husband to help me — and, above all, landing at JFK after a 12 hour travel day (and not having to wait for luggage at baggage claim) was all worth the inconveniences of packing light.

 photographed by Arthur Elgort,  Vogue , December 1994

photographed by Arthur Elgort, Vogue, December 1994

1. folding method

Full disclosure, I tried a new packing technique by applying the “KonMari Method.” This folding method keep clothes as compact as possible and it has completely changed my view on travel and packing, and even at home organization (I am fully inspired by Marie Kondo's way of life but more on that later). When I first came up with the idea to carry-on I was not doubtful but with an afternoon of KonMari folding practice and a little help from YouTube, I did it. Two cities and twelve days worth of outfits, five pairs of shoes, three handbags, one very large straw hat and my travel steamer (that I can't leave home without).

2. invest in smart luggage

Not all luggage is created equal. This trip my husband and I used carry-ons by Rimowa. Rimowa is an iconic brand, best known for their durability, high-end materials and a sleek design. A splurge, yes, but a worthy investment. When it comes to the interior, inside consists of two compartments with a sturdy, flex-divider system that allows packed belongings to stay in place, even when the luggage is open. Smart luggage, plus the KonMari method makes packing enjoyable!

3. pack what you love and can re-wear

Traveling light means rewearing clothes, but in new and unexpected ways. Whenever I travel, more than half of my luggage is filled with clothing that I feel comfortable wearing and styling because I find it comforting. The remainder is filled with new purchases and my favorite accessories. I find my best travel outfits are made up of old and new. For example, one night I re-wore my favorite The Row black silk dress with a new vintage black crocodile belt (to cinch the billowy waist) and Loewe heels to dinner. Earlier in the day I wore it sans belt (a more daytime appropriate silhouette) with leather flip flops and my new The Row pouch bag. Two looks I would have never thought to wear — this type of thing is what happens when you are running low on outfits towards the end of vacation. Moral of this tip: have fun, be creative and don’t overpack.

— BK