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Whether you’re a size 2 or a size 20, it’s possible to travel carryon only. Don’t believe me? Watch this video to see how!


Plus Size Packing Carryon Only


Recently, I showed you how I packed carryon only for a four-week trip to Colombia and Portugal including a two-week Transatlantic Cruise. In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to do the exact same thing but with a travel wardrobe in a different size.




My travel wardrobe for my 4-week trip to Colombia, Portugal, and 2-week cruise


When I showed you that I packed carryon only for a four week trip many readers found this inspiring but others felt disheartened. They felt that it was impossible for them to pack like this due to a difference in clothing size.


“That’s great if you’re a size zero but not for us that are plus size.”


When I read these comments, I knew I needed to take action. I don’t want any of my readers to feel discouraged at the idea of traveling carryon only.


Just take a look at one reader’s awesome plus-size carryon packing list!


I made it my mission to prove to you that IT IS possible to travel carryon only regardless of the number on your clothing label.




An Equal Comparison


I teamed up with one of my best friends, Victoria, to put together a functional, fashionable, and size-friendly carryon wardrobe.

We took the travel wardrobe I created for my four-week trip to Colombia and Portugal (including the cruise) and replicated it using a capsule with size 18-20 clothing.

We went shopping online and in her closet to choose clothes that worked for the same weather, activities, and destinations. To make this the most accurate comparison possible, I also packed the exact same toiletries, makeup, and accessories I used on my trip.

The only things that were not included were my laptop, laptop charger, and business cards as those items are specific to working while traveling, not vacation.


Read our tips about how to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe with Pack Light Stylishly!



Vince Camuto skirt with Dolman Sleeve Blouse, similar (both in modal fabric)


Also, instead of taking just one party dress I added a versatile skirt that could be paired with a black top to create a “little black dress” look. (The rest of the clothes are pictured below.)


The clothing that I packed was a size 4 whereas the clothing for this capsule wardrobe is a size 18-20 and the shoes are a size 9 instead of a size 7. We used two packing cubes and this 19″ international carryon suitcase.




Product Details in order shown in video:




1 International Carryon Suitcase: 19” Delsey Chatelet


  • 1 Flat Iron
  • 3 Shoes: Heels, Sandals, Ballet Flats
  • 1 Travel Brush
  • 1 Makeup Kit with all items from this post
  • 1 Blazer (in place of the Wanderlust Wrap I took as a secondary layer on my trip)
  • 1 Small Pouch with a couple of pieces of jewelry (I accidentally said “daily essentials” in the video)
  • 1 Toiletry Bag with all items from this post




Packing Cube #1: AmazonBasics size small


  • 1 Pajama: Long Black Tunic Top
  • 1 One-piece Swimsuit
  • 1 Sports Bra, Regular Bra, and 10 Underwear (1 Additional Bra to wear on flight not shown)




Packing Cube #2: AmazonBasics size medium



example for plus size packing in winter


Winter Travels


What about if it was winter clothing? How is it possible to still travel carryon? True, packing for summer weather is always easier but a few things would change if you’re traveling in cold weather:


  • In the video I packed three pairs of shoes but in the winter, you’d wear your bulkiest pair on the plane and only pack one or two other pairs of shoes like ankle boots or sneakers.
  • Instead of packing jeans, you’d be wearing them on the plane and the pair of shorts that I included would be a second pair of pants, instead.
  • Instead of three dresses and four tops you’d take five long sleeve tops you can re-wear as explained in this packing strategy.
  • I also brought a workout outfit and this can be replaced with thermal underwear for winter – the secret to traveling carryon only in cold weather.
  • You’d replace the swimsuit for socks and tights, the flat iron for a beanie, and ditch the makeup and toiletries that wouldn’t apply to your trip.
  • You’d probably also want to wear your thermal layer onto the plane not pack it inside the suitcase like I did with the blazer.
  • I also didn’t maximize the suitcase space because it had several awkward gaps that could’ve been used more efficiently with specific luggage organizers.
  • Read this post to learn how to stay warm in cold weather and still pack light.





Suitcase with other plane items not included above: purse, jacket, and shoes (4th pair) 


One last thing to note is that I also included what I would’ve worn as an “airplane travel outfit” inside the suitcase so there would be even more space available once actually traveling.

The only items that I would’ve used as part of the “airplane travel outfit” that were not included in this suitcase were a second regular bra, leather jacket, and a fourth pair of shoes.


Can you travel carryon only?


I know not everyone’s the same clothing size (I used a size 20 in this capsule), but my only hope with this video is to encourage you to give things a try. It doesn’t matter if I used two slim packing cubes instead of one medium size one and if you need three instead of two.


The purpose of this post is to exemplify that there are certain techniques all travelers can use to improve our chances at packing in a carryon suitcase. Read these tips:



We’re all different so we need to adjust packing tips according to our personal needs, trip requirements, and style preferences, too.


Want some tips on where to shop? Here are the best online shopping sites for all clothing sizes!


Ultimately, you can travel carryon with any clothing size the only thing that varies is your suitcase and packing cube choices. In fact, every single item that I brought on my trip in both my Travelon backpack and my Rebecca Minkoff purse was packed inside this one single carryon suitcase shown in the video.


Just as is suggested in this plus-size carryon packing list, follow these capsule wardrobe guidelines to learn how to accomplish your own suitcase goals.



And for every single trick in my packing book, read my full course “Stop Overpacking“. I created the STOP OVERPACKING program to teach you my exact packing process. Every secret, every detail, nothing is spared.


Learn more about Stop Overpacking here!



Do you have anything to add? Please share your comment below!

For more travel fashion tips, please read:





Hope you found these plus size carryon tips helpful. Please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!