Afiya Francisco is a Style Expert, television and fashion personality, speaker, and brand ambassador. The Style House is a multimedia platform designed to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity & joy. 




Some friends and I are planning a girl's trip to Portugal at the end of summer and, in one of our What'sApp group chats, it came up that certain flights offer pretty good discounts if you travel with carry-on luggage only. I was really surprised that not one of them would even remotely entertain the idea of travelling for a week with carry-on only. This is a pretty low-maintenance group and I thought that most would have said that they always travel with a capsule wardrobe. But not one. I realized that I had assumed that carry-on was the goal but it seems that many think that it's too restrictive.

Savings aside, there a few reasons that I prefer carry-on:

  • No carousel wait
  • No lost luggage
  • Cohesive wardrobe

I understand that if you're travelling to attend a black-tie event a smaller suitcase may not offer the room you need for gowns or suits. Cold weather destinations may be tricky as well – as they require bulkier pieces (though I'm up for the challenge). But for a warm weather, beach holiday – it's carry on all day!

To put myself to the test, on a recent family trip to Costa Rica with hubby and the boys, I was determined to go carry-on only.

Now that I'm back, I'm happy to report that I had plenty of options, especially given that I had to pack for fluctuating weather between varying climates – rainforest/mountain/valley.

Here's what I packed:

  • Rain Jacket
  • Dresses (x 2)
  • Shorts (x 3)
  • Pants (x 2)
  • Tops (x 4)
  • Sandals (x 3)
  • Leotard
  • Pyjamas
  • Water Shoes (x 1)
  • Bathing Suits (x 3)
  • Silk Scarf
  • Purse (x 1)
  • Undergarments (D'uh! But I know someone will comment if I don't include)
 I went with a layered look for my travel style

I went with a layered look for my travel style

Here's my travel outfit:

  • Jumpsuit
  • Zip Up Hoodie
  • Jean Jacket
  • Running Shoes
  • Scarf
  • Large Cotton Tote
  • Pouch (also used as a clutch)

I think that your travel outfit is pretty clutch to carry-on ambitions. It's an opportunity to bring bulkier items, without taking up valuable suitcase real estate, and offers additional options when you land. For example, layering the jean jacket (which was lost on the trip – wah!) over a hoodie makes much more sense than just wearing a heavier jacket that wouldn't be useful in Costa Rica. The pouch helped to keep my large tote organized but also served as a clutch. And a scarf is a travel must have – it was a blanket for the boys on the plane but also worked as an extra layer for my vacation looks. 


I should also note that not all suitcases are created equal, the Rimowa that I used is so ergonomically designed that I'm certain it allowed a few extras.

When I mentioned on Instagram that I would be travelling carry-on only, toiletries seemed to be the hang up that most had. I have short hair, so that possibly put me at an advantage – but are people really travelling that flat irons and blowdryers?

What do you think? What's your travel style?