Packing can be difficult! Packing a personal item for a 6-day vacation? That sounds impossible! Deciding what to bring and what to leave behind can be as confusing as figuring out who’s going to die next on Game of Thrones. Traveling is unpredictable! So I completely understand the feeling that you need to bring everything you own… just in case.
Guys, I used to be like that! But years of dragging around a large suitcase over cobblestoned streets and not even wearing half of what was in my suitcase has changed my mind and I’ve seen the light! If you do some research and planning before you leave, you can pack like a superstar.
That brings me to our trip last month to Puerto Rico. We got our flights for $100 from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Aguadilla, PR through Spirit. Spirit is a budget airline that usually offers cheap flights at odd hours of the night.
The thing with budget airlines though is they hit you with those extra baggage fees to make up for their cheap prices. How do you cheat the system? Find out a way to not pay for baggage, duh! It’s easier than you think and just takes some planning and great packing skillz.
Packing a Personal Item for Puerto Rico:
Since Spirit allows 1 personal item for free and because our trip was a 6-day vacay to hot, tropical Puerto Rico, we decided to not pay the $40 carry-on bag fee. Instead, we challenged ourselves to only bring personal item bags. I’ve never done this before so I was skeptical whether we could make this work (and had that $40 set aside just in case). But we were able to do it and it wasn’t as difficult as we thought it was going to be.
I’ve never done this before so I was skeptical whether we could make this work (and had that $40 set aside just in case). But we were able to do it and it wasn’t as difficult as we thought it was going to be.
The first step of packing is planning out what you need to bring based on where you’re going. For Puerto Rico, I knew I needed clothes for hiking, the beach, and for walking around the city. I decided I could get a lot of use out of a pair of denim shorts and a skort. They would be perfect for all 3 occasions and I could create totally different outfits with the tops I bring.
I also brought a romper and a dress to mix things up. Since we were only going for 6 days I knew we could survive off of one set of travel toiletries. The electronics is what I was worried the most about because we needed all our blogging equipment which included a drone! But we were able to figure it out.
- 4 Shirts
- 1 Pair of Shorts
- 1 Skort
- 1 Romper
- 1 Dress
- 3 Bathing Suits
- 7 Underwear
- 3 Pairs of Socks
- 1 Bralette
- 1 Pair of Sandals
- 1 Pair of Espadrilles
- 1 Pajama Shirt
- 1 Pair of Pajama Shorts
- 1 Makeup Bag (contents of my makeup bag here)
- 1 Travel Sized Shampoo
- 1 Travel Sized Conditioner
- 1 Travel Sized Body Wash
- 1 Travel Sized Contact Solution
- 1 Travel Sized Toothpaste
- 1 Travel Sized Deodorant
- 2 Travel Sized Sunscreens
- 1 Travel Sized Bug Spray (Puerto Rico has Zika warnings)
- 1 Small Coconut Oil
- Clear Toiletry Bag
- 1 Hair Iron
- 1 Small Brush
- 1 Travel Toothbrush
- 1 Contact Case
- 1 Pair of Extra Contacts
- Glasses w/ Case
- 2 Sunglasses
- Jewelry in a Small Bag (3 necklaces, 1 bracelet, 2 rings)
- MacBook Pro
- Computer Charger
- GoPro Hero 5
- Selfie Stick
- Suction Cup Mount for GoPro
- Floating Handle Grip for GoPro
- 4 GoPro Batteries
- Dual Battery Charger for GoPro
- Portable Charger
- 2 Memory Cards
- iPhone Charger
- Hard Drive
- Travelon Purse (my everyday purse)
- 1 Small Wallet (with ID, credit cards, cash)
- 2 Pens
- A bottle of Advil, Claritin, Benadryl, Melatonin, etc. (I bring this everywhere I go)
- Daysy (birth control)
- Hand Sanitizer (I hung this on my bag)
- Important Papers (car rental reservation, Airbnb reservation, travel insurance, trip itinerary)
*I also brought a pair of my fiancé’s giant sandals in my bag because they didn’t fit in his bag.
Packing a Personal Item:
I put all of the travel sized toiletries in this clear 1-quart bag to comply with the 3-1-1 carry on liquids rule. To save money, I buy full sized products and then fill up these travel sized bottles.
They’re amazing! They’re 3.4 ounces which is the full amount you can have in a carry-on and they’re sturdier than any travel bottles I’ve used in the past. Plus, they don’t leak! They’re different colors so it’s easier to remember what is in each bottle. I use them for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and contact solution. I also use one of the 0.5-ounce jars from this package for the coconut oil.
My brush, toothbrush, contact case, extra contacts, jewelry bag, and tampons went into my makeup bag. And I put all of my electronics in my Travelon purse which I used as my everyday purse while in Puerto Rico.
I packed the 3 bags (toiletry bag, makeup bag, and electronics bag), the shoes, the GoPro, the selfie stick, hair iron, and glasses case inside and then filled the empty spaces with my clothes. Anything I needed on hand in the airport (passport, wallet, important papers, etc.) I packed in the outside pocket. Everything else went in the inside pockets. The laptop went into the laptop sleeve.
TRAVEL TIP: Keep the toiletry bag with your liquids on top so that it’s easy to take out and put back in when you pass through security.
A big part of the reason I was able to fit all of this stuff was because of my AMAZING bag. I used the Lo & Sons OG Bag. This bag is absolutely made for this! It’s so well thought out and includes everything you need to make traveling easier. It’s well made and so stylish (of course – I wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t super stylish 😉.) It comes in a few different colors and finishes and they are all really chic.
My favorite part is the pockets! There are pockets for everything and anything you need! There’s a padded laptop sleeve (fits laptops up to 13”), a separate side pocket for shoes, a long leash so you don’t lose your keys, a front pocket with inserts for passports and pens, and a hidden pocket for any valuable items.
It’s big but also looks like a purse so it can pass it off as a normal personal item. It also has an adjustable back panel sleeve that secures the bag over luggage handles which came in handy on our trip to Thailand. The one drawback is that when you stuff it to the brim it does get really heavy on your shoulder. It does come with a detachable messenger strap that helps with the weight.
Shop My Favorite Personal Item Bags:
What I Wore on the Plane:
I always wear the bulkiest items on the plane to save room in my bag. So this usually includes a pair of soft, stretchy comfortable jeans and a baggy t-shirt. I also wore my strapless bra, my sneakers (easy to take on and off through security), and brought my rain jacket.
I wanted to bring this because I checked the weather before we left and it said it was going to be raining the whole time. Instead of bringing both a sweater for the plane and a rain jacket, I just brought the rain jacket. It kept me warm on the plane and was definitely needed for Puerto Rico’s daily random rain showers.
STYLE TIP: Plan ahead guys! Look at the predicted weather before you leave on your trip. It helps SO much when deciding what to bring and what to leave behind.
What my Fiancé Packed:
My fiancé brought a backpack and inside put all his clothes (2 bathing suits, 3 shorts, 6 shirts, 6 underwear, 3 pairs of socks), his toothbrush, our drone (which took up the majority of the space), all the batteries for his drone and camera and his phone charger. Everything else he needed was in my bag. He wore our Nikon D3300 camera around his neck on the plane and wore jeans, a shirt, a sweater, and sneakers.
TRAVEL TIP: Always check what the laws are regarding drones in the country you’re visiting and the airline you’re flying before you leave. There aren’t universals laws for them. Some countries have banned drones, some airlines require you to check them, and some require that they’re in your carry on. You don’t want to have your drone confiscated at the airport!
Packing a Personal Item – Extra Tips:
- ROLL your clothes. It’s kind of Harry Potter magical how much space this saves. I even rolled my socks and underwear and it helped a lot! My fiancé is 6’4” so his clothes are a lot bigger than mine. They definitely wouldn’t have fit in his backpack with the drone if we didn’t roll them up.
- I didn’t have any room for souvenirs but I did want to buy a few in Puerto Rico. So, I put everything I bought in a plastic shopping bag and tied it onto my personal item. No one said anything. 😉
- Use every little space in your bag. Fill up “dead” spaces with small items and clothes.
- If it doesn’t fit the first time, play around with the order you put things in your bag. I had to mix things up and play Tetris with my clothes a few times before I found the perfect fit. 👌🏼
And that’s how I was able to pack a personal item for a 6 day trip to Puerto Rico. You can do it too, I promise!
What’s the least amount you’ve packed for a trip? Let me know in the comments!