Packing in a Carry On for Long (or Short) Trips- Men’s Addendum

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After posting the Packing in a Carry On for Long (or Short) Trips, I received several requests for how my husband packed! We both use the eBags TLS Motherlode Weekender Convertible bag for our trips. Minus the few obvious items, we did pack very similarly. Knowing there is a limited number of items you can fit and carry on your own, it forced us to consider items we could share to conserve valuable space. Many of the items in post Packing in a Carry On for Long (or Short) Trips can be utilized for a male traveler so read this as a supplement to your packing list! Pack these items using packing cubes from Amazon or Ebags as described in the post Packing in a Carry On for Long (or Short) Trips.

The shoes

I believe shoes are the most important item to get right when traveling. Having bad shoes can turn a trip into misery with blisters and sore feet (always bring a few Band-aids!). One of our goals when traveling abroad is to blend in as much as possible with the locals and not attract attention both for our experience and for theft prevention. Shoes became an interesting challenge for Kevin. Sneakers felt too casual and sometimes “too American” (all travel blogs alert American’s to avoid sneakers! Give away that you are American. However, we noticed locals wearing nicer sneakers all the time- just not gym or neon sneakers) but dress shoes were unnecessary and impractical for all the walking we do on every trip. If your activities require sneakers (hiking, biking, etc), then you need to pack for your needs. When we were in Europe, our needs were style, comfort for walking and the ability to match any outfit in our backpacks. My brother had gotten these Cole Haan Zerogrand shoes on sale and claimed that these shoes were the perfect travel shoe. While they are way more money than we have ever spent on one item of clothing, we waited for a sale and snagged a pair for a reasonable price (his color choice was ‘Ironstone Leather-Ivory’, a gray color that would match all outfits in his wardrobe). When the shoes arrived, we were shocked at how unbelievably light they were! Kevin also liked that the shoes had ventilation holes in them to help prevent “stinky feet”. When he tried the shoes on, they were flexible, did not need to be worn in, and still had a cushion for support. After several domestic and international travel, these have been the perfect solution for stylist shoes with unmatchable comfort. Wait for a sale, but they are definitely worth the investment.

Toiletries and avoiding liquid items

Yes, Lush has a line for men. While Lush products often smell like flowers or bubble gum, many of their products are neutral smelling and they even have a line of products specifically for men. We use the Honey I Washed My Hair shampoo bar that has a hint of honey in the fragrance but otherwise is not overbearing.

Kevin has a very fair complexion and minutes in the sun can turn into instant sunburn. It is challenging to bring sunscreen in a carry on since you would need several travel sized tubes or travel sized spray (depending on the length of your trip) and that would take up a lot of room in your limited quart sized liquid bag. Luckily, Neutrogena makes a solid sunscreen that applies like a deodorant stick. It does not leave you feeling oily as most sunscreens tend to do so this product has been a must have on all of our trips.

And yes, thank god deodorant sticks and body wash are solid so there is no limit to these items! Also, do not forget a sanitizer pod for your toothbrush to keep it clean while traveling.

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Compartment to store smallest packing cub with toiletries.

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The wallet

Theft prevention was very important for us when traveling to tourist cities, especially in Europe. A few tips we learned along the way included using a thin wallet so it is flush in pant pockets so people cannot see a wallet bulge in your pocket to know it is there. Big, traditional wallets are great at home when we need to have all wallet related items in one place. When traveling, you really do not need several credit cards, debit cards, store cards, discount cards, gift cards, etc. You should have a primary credit card (one with no foreign transaction fee if you are traveling abroad), a debit card (in case you need cash or credit card is not working), driver’s license or form of ID (passport if abroad), and health insurance card (in case of emergency) as well as any cash you may need. Do not forget to let the card companies and bank know that you will be traveling so they do not freeze your account for suspicious activity. Especially when traveling, it is very important to keep as little cash on your person as possible to limit to bulk of your wallet and if there was a theft that the loss would be minimal. When we travel abroad, we always take foreign currency out at an ATM once we’ve arrived, and we do this for reasons of cost, convenience, and security. For cost, taking foreign currency out at ATMs saves a virtual fortune vs. currency exchanges at the airport or your bank prior to your trip, where you’ll usually get a lousy exchange rate and service fees. We use TD Bank, and our checking account allowed us to take foreign currency out with minimal to no fees at the market rate for that day. Check with your bank’s policies and fee schedules in advance to verify your potential costs when taking out cash abroad. Finally, for convenience and security, taking out foreign currency as necessary allows you to carry less and therefore, worry less. Using this wallet has helped when traveling since there are fewer items to keep track of and feels safer and more discrete to use when out.

Travel sized liquids, 3oz fly limit

Everything that we could not find as a solid form, we found travel sized items for if the container was not 3oz or less. His hair gel was a 3oz container (though an enormous container for 3oz), we needed to purchase travel size shaving gel (or electric razor if you can get away with that!) and travel size body spray.

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Compartment to store the 3oz liquid items for easy removal at airport secruity checks.

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For two weeks in Italy in the fall, Kevin packed the following clothes:

  • two pairs of pants, a pair of tan and blue colored plus jeans he wore on the plane
  • two long sleeves (one that is black to dress up)
  • 6 short sleeve shirts (one that is black to dress up)
  • 7 pairs of underwear- there is no need to bring one per day if you are planning on doing laundry on your trip (even if it is sink laundry!). Divide the number of days in half and that is an appropriate number for a long trip.
  • 7 pairs of socks- same logic as above if doing laundry on your trip
  • Northface rain jacket – this packable jacket is perfect for taking up little space and lightweight without compromising protection for rain coverage. Definitely work the investment!

Mix and match depending on your destination, the weather, and activities you plan. Happy packing!

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