Cold Weather Travel With Only A Carryon

The last time I wrote a post about packing tips, I stressed my love of carry-on luggage and my reluctance to ever check a bag. That was during the summer, however, and my last winter trip had been to balmy Southeast Asia. Packing light is decidedly easier when your suitcase is mostly full of tank tops and light skirts.

On Friday night (Saturday morning, technically), I’m flying to Central Europe for the holidays. This trip will take me through Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Berlin, and Stockholm; none of which boast particularly temperate weather in December and January. With so much travel comes multiple plane and train trips, most of which require one to pay for checked luggage. As someone who absolutely certainly does not want to pay for checked luggage, I am determined to make the carry-on lifestyle work.

Behold, the vessels that will contain all possible possessions for the next sixteen days. But Tallie, you say, how will you bring enough clothes to keep you warm for so long? The answer is in my favorite clothing technology.

25564877_10155248506561045_246210348_n Heat tech. Heat tech is Uniqlo’s solution to packing heat into fewer layers. The shirts and leggings pack perfectly into these little bags, and heat tech socks are the only socks I’ve found that properly insulate my feet. (My extremities get very cold very quickly. I’m that friend with the perpetually cold hands.)

This little jacket number is Patagonia’s down shirt, and it is one of the warmest pieces of clothing I’ve ever owned. It is unfathomably light, which makes it perfect for layering under a bigger sweater and extra perfect for sliding into a carry-on. Seriously, the heat this shirt packs is mind-boggling. Something this light and flexible SHOULD NOT BE SO WARM, but it is. A+, science.


Now, how about all of those cute cozy chunky knit sweaters you’re dying to wear all winter? Tough luck. Pick one. One is the magic number when it comes to the heavier outerwear: one big sweater, one hat, one coat, one scarf and one pair of gloves, most of which will be worn on the plane or at least used as an extra in-flight pillow. Roll up plenty of light shirts to wear under the one heavy option (plus your aforementioned down shirt). Also probably count on taking advantage of your Air Bnb’s laundry amenities.

I’m wearing one pair of weatherproof boots (np) the whole trip, with one pair of black flats packed for the times I absolutely need a nice shoe. Winter travel is no place for heels. Your feet and limited suitcase space will undoubtedly thank you for that one.




When traveling for the holidays, gifts will sneak their way into your precious packing space. I’ve done my best to make this year’s small-ish and portable while being a tad more personal than gift cards. Thankfully, there’s plenty of room in my backpack for all of this holiday cheer.

The rest of my travel essentials also fit in my bomb backpack. (Reminder: make sure to pack a travel size of conditioner if you’re headed abroad since many foreign hotels or Airbnbs offer shampoo only. This will always baffle me, since so many European women have impeccably soft, silky hair without supposedly using conditioner.)


Finally, I’ve also packed one skirt that’s versatile enough for a night at the symphony in Prague or NYE in Berlin. It rolls to a deliciously small size, to boot. If I’m lucky, I might just have enough room for the souvenirs I don’t need but will undoubtedly buy.

Happy holidays, and happy packing. Let me know where you’re headed this winter, and if you have any other tips and tricks!

Packing Essentials

That Carry On Life 

As I mention in my Lisbon Day 1 post, the carry on life is the life for me. I haven’t quite perfected the minimalist packing skill, but I do a pretty good job if I do say so myself. Check out the miniature suitcase I took for the entire 2 ½ weeks in Southeast Asia:

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A couple of things really help when packing light. It’s definitely easier if you’re traveling somewhere warm and thus wearing less clothing (holla) in general. Another gem I’ve recently been introduced to is these little packing cubes! They make organizing in tight spaces a DREAM, and you can use one as a little laundry section so your dirty clothes don’t mingle with the clean ones.

Avail here

I feel actually naked without a necklace on, so I tend to pick one to wear on the plane and everyday, and another to bring when I want to switch it up. Sometimes this turns into packing three or four because I am TERRIBLE AT LETTING THINGS GO, OKAY?

I’ll also wear one pair of studs (my Thai pearls have pretty much claimed a monopoly on my earlobes since January) and bring a pair of danglys when I want to feel fancy. These babies came from Atmology in Nashville, TN.

A couple of rings and bracelets always make the cut, and usually a watch that I inevitably forget to set to the new timezone. Et voila.

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My boss’s wife gave me this lil travel toiletry holder and I am obsessed with it. It keeps me organized and hangs so well on doorknobs, towel racks, etc. Plus it calls me beautiful which is especially encouraging when you open it after an international flight.

I bought into the Quip craze recently and I have to say, I get it. I am hooked. Quip, you’ve won me over. If you haven’t seen the ads on the subway or your Facebook page, Quip is basically a chic, slim hipster electric toothbrush. Its gentle, soothing buzz won’t accost your gums like Sonicare and it’s a third of the width. It even comes with this handy lil sanitary travel shell, so you can throw it right in any bag!


Plus, it’s copper. Did I mention I have a copper toothbrush? I have never felt more elegantly hygienic.

When it comes to makeup/ womanly feelgoods, I am such a f*kin sucker for the Sephora travel section, let me tell you. Lately, I have narrowed my travel takes to those pictured below, which I split into liquids/ non liquids before flying. Nothing worse than being the asshole with a carry on who’s forgotten to put their >3oz liquids in a plastic bag and holds up the security line.

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I am a lipstick addict, so choosing only a couple of shades to take is the hardest part of the makeup selection for me. I know that realistically this is ridiculous, because once I get to a destination I tend to stick to one neutral shade anyway, throwing on a red for nights out (or when all of the Fado singers in a Lisbon bar are rocking a red lip and you JUST WANT TO FIT IN). Here are my go-to’s of late:

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte lipstick in Bombshell ;), Sephora’s cream matte lip stain in Coral Sunset, and H&M’s beautifully priced Fareham Brick red lipstick, all seen above spilling out of my favorite makeup bag EVER from the Random Accessories store in NYC’s East Village. The rest of my makeup grabs were fun little minis, most of which I got as free samples plus my fav it CC cream and the tartliest to go eyeshadow palette. These are also great options if, like me, you also almost exclusively apply your makeup on the subway.

I also love a good rollerball perfume while traveling! Personal summer fav is NEST’s Dahlia and Vine. I once realized that it matches one of my favorite travel dresses and I have never believed in fate so fully.

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Finally, I fill the rest of the toiletry case with Bumble and Bumble’s hairdresser’s oil, the perfect serum to tame the frizz overseas. I volunteer as a hair model for them which means free products which is a SCORE. I also love my Kheil’s moisturizer which I’ve made last for almost a year now because I’m a crazy person. It fits the > 3 oz deal and hydrates my skin no matter how dry my location might be! My skin DRINKS this stuff, I’m pretty hooked.

A few hair ties/ clips live in here forever, because that’s something I’m guaranteed to forget while packing. A few just-in-case meds, glasses, and makeup wipes complete the deal.