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How to Pack Mommy & Me
in a Carry-On

Plus, the only packing checklist you'll ever need! 



July 18, 2019

Three Countries. Two Packing Cubes. One Carry-On.

That’s right, only two packing cubes. One for Koko and one for me. And everything else we need (including diapers) fits into a single little carry-on.


I know, it seems too good to be true. But I'm not kidding, everything Koko and I need for two weeks in Europe fits into one carry-on. And I want to share all my packing tips and tricks so you'll never overpack again. Scroll down to learn how to pack mommy & me in a carry-on! 

How to Pack Mommy & Me in Two Packing Cubes - A Guide to a Traveling Capsule Wardrobe


It all comes down to three little tips:



    • Do laundry while you travel (this way you only need to bring enough clothes for a week)



What is a Capsule Wardrobe? How will it save you time, money, and energy?

Well, everyone seems to have a different definition, so I'll just share mine. A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothes you can mix and match together to fit all of your dressing needs. 


In terms of packing, this means bringing a few pieces of clothing that can be worn together in a variety of ways, rather than packing a ton of monofunctional outfits.


This genius approach saves time, money, and energy. No more wasted time deciding what you're going to wear. You'll never again have to pay for an overstuffed checked bag. And you definitely won't be exerting too much energy as you roll around your itty, bitty carry-on.


Alert Michael Scott because this is truly a win-win-win.

How to Pack Mommy & Me in Two Packing Cubes - A Guide to a Traveling Capsule Wardrobe

Rules for Capsule Packing

It's easy to see the value and versatility of a capsule wardrobe, but how on earth do you make it happen??? 


Learning to pack with a capsule mindset takes a bit of practice and trial and error. So to help make it a little easier, I wanna share five rules I follow to keep my bag light:


    • Every piece of clothing can be mixed and match together


    • Only bring two pairs of shoes and wear the bulkiest pair on the plane


    • If you don't love, don't bring it (or ever buy it)


    • Only take what you know you'll need (if you end up needing something random, you can always buy it there)


    • Add layers to accommodate for varying temperatures


How to Pack Mommy & Me in Two Packing Cubes - A Guide to a Traveling Capsule Wardrobe

Laundry On Vacation?

Now on to tip #2, plan on doing some laundry. I know doing laundry on vacation doesn't sound fun. But it's a small sacrifice to pay when packing insanely light.


So how do you wash clothes while you're touring around?


    • Most Airbnbs offer easy access to a machine.


    • Many hotels have laundry facilities and/or laundry serves (although that tends to be a bit pricey)


    • Laundromats around town. Grab some coins and do your laundry there. Or most laundromats have washing/drying services. This is usually what we do. It's not too expensive, and we don't lose precious exploration time. 


Now, onto tip #3...


Do You really Need Packing Cubes?

How to Pack Mommy & Me in Two Packing Cubes - A Guide to a Traveling Capsule Wardrobe


Yes. The answer is yes, you absolutely need packing cubes. Why? Because you can stuff a ridiculous amount of clothes and accessories into a single packing cube. They save so much space and keep everything organized.


These are my favorite. But, I'd bet pretty much any higher-quality brand will work just fine!



Packing List for Baby

How to Pack Mommy & Me in Two Packing Cubes - A Guide to a Traveling Capsule Wardrobe


Alright, now that we've got the basics covered, let's look at what actually goes into those packing cubes!


Here's what Koen's taking to Europe: 


    • Six Bottoms - mostly shorts since it's gonna be hot


    • Eight Tops - A variety of tanks, tees, and button-downs





> > Tip: I tend to overpack for Koen because I'm worried about messy emergencies. So now I just put two or three extra one-piece outfits that always stay in the diaper bag (in another packing cube). These are my current emergency outfits.


Packing List for Mom

How to Pack Mommy & Me in Two Packing Cubes - A Guide to a Traveling Capsule Wardrobe


And here's a peek in my packing cube for Europe in the summer:



    • Causal Black Romper or Dress


    • Jean Jacket and the crewneck sweatshirt I'll wear on the plane


    • Bottoms - Two pairs of shorts and these leggings I'll wear on the plane


    • Tops - All tanks because this is a summer packing list


    • Bra + Underwear - Enough for seven days of travel (remember, we're gonna do laundry)


    • Shoes - Birks + Nikes (I'll wear these on the plane) and a few pairs of socks



Tah-da! That's it. All the clothes we need for two weeks in Europe in two packing cubes.

Seriously, One Carry-On

See, I wasn't kidding when I said one carry-on. And we'd even have more room if not for the diapers. I know, I could just buy them there (and that's an excellent way to save space). But I hate paying non-Costco prices. And, as we get rid of diapers, I'll have more space for souvenirs.

All in all, here's a list of everything we're taking (for the three of us) for two weeks in Europe:


    • Koen + My Carry-On


    • Kyle's Carry-On





> > > There are a few places where strollers aren't allowed and the baby isn't walking yet. Otherwise, I'd probably leave the Ergo at home and just take the stroller.


FREE: The Ultimate Mommy + Me Capsule Wardrobe Packing List

Feeling inspired and ready to start packing light??? Then, it's time to jump on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon. Download our tried and true Mommy & Me packing checklist. The minimalist packing life you've always dreamed of is just a quick download away!

Never overpack again with our Mommy & Me packing checklist.

Download the exact checklist we use and completely transform how you travel!

Free Mommy & Me Packing Checklist - Never overpack again with the mom-approved packing list. A free download from Ellie &, inspiring moms to travel


Well, that's all the packing tips for today. We'd love to hear about all your mommy & me capsule wardrobe adventures. Tag your photos with so we can experience the world together!


Happy Packing,



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