Let’s talk about suitcases. Actually, I have a confession. I prefer to use my little collection of colorful carry-ons because I like them so much. They weren’t expensive, and every time I go to Ross, Marshall’s, Target or other stores like that, I buy one. Love them!

There are many different reasons to travel with carry-on and I will list as many as I know, and will add my personal experiences as well. I have been to 71 countries and have been traveling non-stop for over 29 years (since I came to the US). I can tell many personal stories – and I HATE black suitcases. When you are traveling and go to the carousel to get your suitcase, it feels like everyone in the whole world has a black suitcase. Many years ago, someone took my black suitcase and left hers on the carousel. After waiting for an hour, and with only that lookalike black suitcase left, I took it and then drove miles out of my way to her address to exchange it and correct her mistake. I wanted “my” dirty laundry, “my” souvenirs, and “my” stuff. I was tired and wanted to go home. She was young and laughed as though it was a funny misunderstanding, but I wanted wipe that smile off her cute face. I knew better, so I smiled and left.

On two previous trips, our suitcases arrived a few days after we had already arrived to our destinations in Italy and Greece. Not fun going to buy clothes to sleep in, and cheap clothes to go touring in and not knowing when our suitcases would arrive.

After those experiences, I had had it! NO MORE big suitcases, and definitely no more black – ONLY colorful carry-ons would contain my things! On most planes I try to keep them with me, but when that’s not possible and I need to check it through, it is so colorful, people DO NOT TOUCH IT. It is my luggage, and I can see it from far away!

How to travel with a carry-on for over 21 days:

1- Mix and match your clothes and color coordinate. Choose colors so that the tops and bottoms can be matched easily.

2- Limit your underwear to 3-4 pairs.  You can wash them in the shower before bedtime; by the morning they are dry. Avoid 100% cotton.

3- Bring just a few bottoms and lots of colorful cheap tops. This is my biggest secret for when I travel. I buy very colorful tops at Target that are very cheap. I’ll use them 2 times on my trip, and instead of washing them, I leave them in the hotel to be given away to those less fortunate.

4- By leaving my tops behind, I have space in my carry-on for small souvenirs. I will send larger souvenirs directly home (like rugs, table tops and etc.)

5- Make sure you leave a note that your “give away” pieces of clothing in the hotel are there to be given to someone, otherwise, in many hotels, they stay in the “lost and found” forever, waiting for you to collect them.

6- On the plane, wear your big boots or your hiking shoes and keep your tennis shoes and other shoes in the carry-on.

7- Remember that if you wear everything twice, you’ll need half the clothes, So, count the total number of days, divide by 2, and get the correct number of tops.

8- Prior to leaving, check the price of laundry at the hotels, just in case you need to do it during your trip.

9 – Learn how to pack small, and use every little space inside your carry-on.

Relax and enjoy your travel! After all, you are there to have fun and not to worry too much about your suitcase.

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