14 Days in a Carry On

I am pretty much packed for Cuba and I dont leave for another two and a half months. I get a little ahead of myself when there is a trip on the horizon. So I thought I would make a list if what I am packing pre trip and write again after the trip to say what I over packed or what I felt I was missing.

The trip consists of 2 days in Varadero, 2 days in Vinales and 8 days in Havana.

For Varadero I will need the things for a beach day and a day of touring. Vinales is a day of horseback riding, and a day of touring and possibly swimming. All the days in Havana are spent walking around, touring museums and sightseeing, with evening required for the Tropicana Show.

So I always start out making my packing list by listing what I need for a step in the process or event. I visualize each day and what I could possibly need. Remember when your walking around all day you need to have everything you could need on you.

  1. Inflight & bus rides
  2. Beach Days
  3. Walking Tours
  4. Horseback Riding
  5. Nights out
  6. Sleep
  7. Toiletries
  8. Anything that will add to trip and make better

Then I create Micro Lists for each of the above mentioned days.

In Flight / on the bus : its all about comfort and ease of access to the things you will need during the trip, while also making sure you arent disruptive to the other passengers and you follow regulations. So I make a list of everything I could need during flight and make sure its all in my personal item, that way I never have to access my carry on in the over head compartment. Also anything of importance or of value should be in your personal item, that way it is always under your supervision.

What to wear during travel

  1. Hat
  2. Bra
  3. Undies
  4. Tank
  5. Shorts
  6. Socks
  7. Runners
  8. Light Sweater
  9. Pashmina

What to Pack in Personal Item (What I need accessible during Travel)

  1. Passport
  2. money & ID
  3. Copy insurance
  4. Copy passport
  5. medication
  6. pen
  7. Cell
  8. Chapstick
  9. Hair tie
  10. kleenex
  11. sanitizor
  12. sudefed
  13. Gum
  14. advil
  15. Moisturizor
  16. Sunglasses
  17. Water
  18. camera
  19. Ipad
  20. Kobo
  21. headphones
  22. chargers
  23. Blanket
  24. Pillow
  25. Sleep Mask
  26. ear plugs

Everything that is not required for travel, or that I dont need to use during travel goes into carry on for storage overhead.

Everyday Items I will take on all days trips and Excursions

  • Money & ID
  • Copy insurance
  • Copy passport
  • medication
  • pen
  • Cell
  • Chapstick
  • kleenex
  • Hair tie
  • Sanitizer
  • Gum
  • Sunglasses
  • Water
  • camera
  • Selfie Stick

Beach days. I will make a list for specific activites in a day to make sure 1. I don’t forget anything and 2. I have the proper equipment to get through the day comfortably. Many of the items become repeats, but it makes sure I have everything I need and a bag to get me through the day.

What to wear to the beach

  1. Hat
  2. Bra
  3. Undies
  4. Tank
  5. Shorts
  6. Sandals

What to Pack in Bag

  1. Backpack for day trip to beach
  2. Swim Suit
  3. Towel

Horse back Excursion

What to wear to during horseback riding

  1. Hat
  2. Bra
  3. Undies
  4. T-shirt
  5. Pants
  6. Socks
  7. Runners

What to Pack in Bag

  1. Bug Spray

Evening Out/Day of Touring. Something to note, all the items listed below will fit in my cross body purse that I am brining, so that I only require a backpack when I need to pack more or need to travel and have more things easily accessible. Evening out will require a dress, a day of touring could be a dress or shorts and t-shirt or tank. Unless I know I am going to be doing something that requires extra storage i like to avoid carrying around a back pack. 1. its lighter, I hate carrying around more then I need. 2. backpacks are sweaty. 3. the look touristy. I dont want to stand out so much that I am a target for thieves.

What to wear to a night out. Dress code requires for women a dress and nice shoes. Pants and closed toe shoes for men.

  1. Bra
  2. Undies
  3. Dress
  4. sandals

Take a purse with Every Day Items

Toiletries. I have some help here, brining my husband along means that I will share some of his 3-1-1 bag as he doesn’t fill his up. We opted for a bar shampoo for him and which I will use for body and face because I tried the bar shampoo and it made my hair grimy. We also made sure to get travel size of everything we could to ensure we get everything we need. Anything highlighted in pink must go in 3-1-1- Plastic Bag.

  1. Teeth
    1. Tooth Brush
    2. Tooth Paste 
    3. Floss
  2. Hair
    1. Hair Brush
    2. Hair ties
    3. Shampoo and Conditioner
  3. Skin
    1. Razor
    2. moisturizer
    3. sun screen
    4. chap stick
    5. bar soap
    6. deodorant
  4. Medicine
  5. Beauty
    1. Mascara
  6. Other
    1. Sanitizer
    2. toilette paper
    3. clothes detergent

Only thing we have really left out is clothes. So lets go over everything we aleady identified and add to it.  Ill note the qualities I need of an item and eliminate duplicates, so the lists will get shorter if I already noted and item. I plan to do to laundry so that I can pack lighter. It would be difficult to accomplish carry on only travel if not for planning lauudtry

  1. Basic comfort clothes for travel. They should be loose and layered so that hot or cold you can be comfortable.
    1. Underwear (x4)
    2. Socks (x4)
    3. Bra (x2)
    4. T-shirt (x3)
    5. Leggings (x1)
    6. Runners (x1)
    7. Cardigan/light long sleeve shirt (x1)
    8. pashmina (x1)
  2. Swim day
    1. Swim Suit (x1)
    2. hat (x1)
    3. Shorts (x4)
    4. tank (x4)
    5. Sandles (x1)
  3. Horse back riding
    1. pants
  4. Eventing Out
    1. Dress
  5. Touring around
    1. Espadrilles (casual shoes to rotate with sandals and runners)

The bags that will get me around… (I am looking at getting some Tom Bihn bags for all three. Ill let you know if I go for it!)

  1. A crossbody purse to get me around town without having to carry a big bag
  2. a backpack for a personal item while on planes and buses as well will be my beach bag or bag when I need my hands free and need to carry a little extra.
  3. duffle bag for my carry on looking to use a 30L duffle.

And finally items that didn’t already hit the list

  1. small safe to keep passports in at hotel room

Do you want a copy of my excel spreadsheet? Get a copy below and you too can use my spreadsheet and make the list work for you!


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