Yes, You Can Travel With Just a Carry-On—Here's How

Each time I prepare for a trip abroad, things go something like this: I plan to pack sensibly, wait too long to really get organized, panic, and then throw basically my entire wardrobe into my suitcase (which I then have to sit on in order to zip up). Inevitably my bag—full of stuff I’ll never actually end up wearing—is too big to hide anywhere in my Airbnb, and I’m confronted with a visual reminder of just how bad I am at packing for the duration of my trip. Clearly an intervention is in order.

Luckily globe-trotting NYC-based blogger Jenny Cipoletti of Margo and Me is my total opposite on this matter; in fact, she’s unsurprisingly (and slightly annoyingly) hyper-skilled when it comes to packing. “I always plan all of my outfits to a T before leaving,” she tells me when I ask for her packing M.O. “I also document the looks in photos so I can quickly reference styled outfits.” You can imagine the look that flashed across my face when she told me this, but she swears it cuts down on overpacking (particularly important when traveling to Paris, as she recently did).

I went poking around for more of Cipoletti’s best tricks for being an efficient packer in an effort to get ahead of my problem before my holiday travels; see her top three travel tips below.

1. Pack a Versatile Skirt and Top

To get the most out of your luggage space, you want to pack elevated, comfortable statement pieces that naturally mix in with your basics but also make for a major outfit when worn together. A printed skirt and bold chunky sweater go a long way—the skirt rolls up to require next to zero space in your bag, and that knit is perfect with leggings on the plane. Cipoletti said she wore this combo all day long as she roamed the museums in Paris, and could bank on it being elevated enough to see her through to dinner without having to pop back to the hotel and change.

2. Bring Your Signature Perfume

For Cipoletti, taking a signature scent along is meant for memories. “Fragrances become extremely nostalgic of certain trips to me. I only ever travel with one scent, and I will wear it the entire time.” You want to remember your travels, and nothing ignites your memory quite like catching a note of the beautiful scent you wore along the way.

Cipoletti swears by keeping a TSA-friendly rollerball fragrance on you at all times, both for the flight and for when you’re on the go. No one loves that gross I’ve-been-walking-all-day feeling, so your classic Tory Burch signature fragrance will be a saving grace for a quick refresh when you end up on an all-day adventure.

3. Don’t Fail on Footwear

When your only plan is to aimlessly wander the alleys of Le Marais, it’s just not the time to gamble with new footwear—pack the pair you’ve already found yourself wearing on repeat through the season. Find those boots or shoes you already gravitate toward, and give them priority in your carry-on as a core piece of your capsule travel wardrobe. As for Cipoletti, she tells us she’s been living in a pair of ultra-versatile over-the-knee boots as of late: “I pair them with absolutely everything.”

Shop Jenny's Signature Scent: