A Five Day Trip In Your Carry On! My Mexico Packing List

What?  A Packing list for Mexico in May?  YUP!  In just 5 days, not that I’m counting, SassyHubby and I are heading off to Puerto Vallarta Mexico!  Our goal, to check out the Casa Magna Hotel Resort and Spa, and dive into the area of Puerto Vallarta.  It will be a whirlwind 5 day trip and for the first time EVER I am going to travel with just a carry on? (It made my heart palpitate just to type that!)  Why in the world would I try to pack in just a carry on?  Why do I think I can do it!  I’m going to try and do this because we have a kind of tight connection on the way there, and Mama doesn’t want to miss her flight or lose her bag, plus I have a bit of problem with over packing.  My theory has always been that it is better to have too many pairs of shoes!  This time, I’m going to try and be a smart packer, a savvy packer, and so I bring you my first How To Packing list!


The How To Pack For Five Day Trip In Your Carry On!

*Rule one:  Find out the maximum size bag you are allowed to take as a carry on.  Add to this your laptop bag (which we all know we can stuff extra stuff into) and your purse.  This is all the space you have to work with.  Deal with that.

*Rule Two: Plan your outfits:  I always do this anyway, but am kind of lazy and in the past would have 5 different outfits that require 5 different pairs of shoes.  Going to go the carry on route, those shoes need to be multi outfit shoes!  Your outfits are also gong to have to be mix and match.  Think black skirt with two different tops and mix up the accessories.  Four bathing suits is now overkill.  How about three bikinis with mix and match bottoms and tops?  Smart right?

*Rule Three:  Travel Size it!  Pack travel size shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, lotions, and even medication.  You would be surprised how much space you can save by putting a large prescription into a smaller size bottle.  Do remember that all prescriptions must still be clearly labeled.  It’s also not a bad idea to take a print out of all medications you are currently taking in.

*Rule Four: Wear your heaviest item:  Have to have that cute denim jacket that goes with everything?  Then you are going to have to wear it on the plane.  That baby is going to take up way too much space in your carry on.

*Rule Five: Roll it baby.  I may not be the Queen of carry on’s, (yet) but I am the master of packing that large bag to the max!!  I’m a firm believer that rolling your clothes not only prevents wrinkles, but saves you space.

Now that you know the rules you are ready to go!  I’ve made my list, that I swear I will stick to,  for our 5 day trip to Mexico and I’m going to make all of this, fit into my carry on!


Wear it on the plane:

(My largest and most comfy outfit) Beige ankle length pants (super comfy) Black Tank, Black T-Shirt, Denim Jacket, Bright Pink Scarf, Toms

Pack it in my purse:

Medications: (all in a tidy cosmetic case)

-Imodium (just in case!)



-Eye drops


-Passport and ID

-Cash and Credit Card

-Hotel Info

-iPhone & charger

Make up:

You need less!  You are spending all day in the sun!

*Mascara, Lip gloss, face powder, blush, eye shadow palette, eye liner and brushes.

Only take what will fit in a small cosmetic bag in your purse.  Don’t forget a good moisturiser and it must meet FDA size regulation’s.

A good hair brush, toiletries, dry shampoo, elastics and a small hair spray.

Seriously consider leaving that flat iron behind, straight hair and the south don’t get along anyway.


Three mix and match bikini/tankini’s (total 5 pieces)

One or Two light cover-ups. Sarong’s are great and take up so little space.

3 Maxi dresses (Black and Pink) (Navy and White) (Strapless Navy and White)

2 Pairs of Shorts with three mix and match tops! (Black Tank Top/Black T-Shirt/White T-Shirt)

Cute sleep wear.  Duh, you are with your Hubby on this trip!

Bras and Undies!


Black Strappy Sandals.  Flip flops for the beach.  One Pair of Walking Sandals.

Media Needs:

Laptop and Cord, BIG Camera, Waterproof Camera, Lifeproof case for iPhone, Camera Chargers.


Books, headphones, magazines, gum, mints, snacks and a hat and small beach bag!

Do you think I can do it?  Of course I can. Worst case scenario, I will jam that floppy hat into my SassyHubby’s bag or wear it on the plane!

Watch out Mexico, here we come!


  1. JaimeeM says:

    Oh geeze, I dont think I would be able to do just a carry on, I love your luggage bag!

    • I wish you luck!! Why not travel light to a fun location like Mexico! Hope you tell us all about it!

    • Stephanie says:

      I think I can, I think I can! Plus think about all the money I’m going to save on luggage fees 🙂

  2. Victoria Ess says:

    A couple summers ago, my partner and I backpacked Spain for two weeks with carry-ons. Rule Six: when all else fails, request to store overflow in partner’s carry-on.

  3. Darlene Schuller says:

    I hope you have an amazing time on your trip! I say PACK NOTHING.. buy all new when you get there lol 🙂

  4. Judy C (Judy Cowan) says:

    Good luck on that packing! Enjoy your trip and time with hubby!

  5. mrdisco says:

    that’s a good pack job!

  6. Lynda Cook says:

    Have yourself a wonderful time in Mexico! but of course you will, I couldn’t see myself packing like that or even the thought of getting it in a carry on lol..I love Darlene’s comment “pack nothing and buy all new there” that sounds good to me lol

    • Stephanie says:

      I adore that comment too! LOL I will confess this the first time I’m going Carry On only, but I’m going to do my very best to think light, pack light and then enjoy every moment!

  7. i need to have my wife read this…especially the multi-outfit shoes line…

  8. Wanda Bergman says:

    I love how you pack! I usually get everything into my carry-on, too. Soooo much easier than dragging along heavy, bulky suitcases.

  9. Look at you, miss. You are a master packer 🙂

  10. Enjoy yourself! Have a great trip!!!

  11. Have a wonderful time in Mexico! Nice laggage bag!

  12. Amy Lovell says:

    I love your packing list only the necessities. Have a great trip!

  13. I knew you could do it!! 😉

  14. Karen E. HIll says:

    You are styling girl and pared down is great for frantic travel

  15. MrDisco says:

    don’t forget good sunscreen and spare battery pack for your gadgets

  16. Dont forget the sunscreen, indeed!

    I am HIGHLY impressed you are able to fit that much gear into a carry on! 🙂 I am also a HUGE overpacker, so I could take some lessons for sure

  17. You can do it. 🙂 How exciting for you both; safe travels!!!

  18. I just came back from a trip to Varadero with my HUGE pink Heys suitcase. I wish you luck, and wish I could do that!

  19. Your suggestions and list is awesome! I hate packing and I don’t believe I will ever, ever carry on but I’m so proud of you!!! I am going to keep this post for reference.

  20. Andrea Lee says:

    Thanks so much for the tips and suggestions! Very helpful for my next trip!

  21. This is making me sweat, enjoy Mexico

  22. Brandee H says:

    It is so much easier to travel with just a carry on! Then you know for sure everything will arrive!

  23. Thanks for sharing, love your packing list!

  24. Awesome packing list. I am never organized enough to get a list going…and wouldn’t you know it I usually forget something 😛

  25. such a great idea to only pack carry on. I have never flown but my biggest thing is I fear losing my bag. I will make sure I bookmark these tips for the future

  26. We went to Little Exuma, Bahamas on carry-ons. It is doable if you plan well. It also helps that the Bahamas are so laid back, you can go everywhere in flip flops and a bathing suit. I’ve had the airline lose our bag on a DIRECT flight before and we were stranded for 2 days with no luggage or necessities!

  27. Debbie Bashford says:

    Great tips!! I never thought of just doing a carry on.

  28. Ester G says:

    My husband and I have handily managed to pack carry-on only for trips up to 8 days. We even went to Europe last spring with only one carry-on each. It’s definitely the way to travel!!

  29. Thanks for the tips; I am such an overpacker!

  30. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    For my trip to Europe (6 weeks) I need two suitcases! Mainly because of all the presents that will be making the trip with me – would love to travel with just a carry on though, sigh

  31. So many great tips! I am a terrible packer, so pinning this for next time!

  32. I’m going away for only a few days & there is no way I could do this! There are some great packing tips here that I could use.. maybe one day I will become a pro-packer like you!

  33. kathy downey says:

    You certainly know how to pack the perfect bag

  34. salexis alexis says:

    Totally need to apply these ideas to my packing in June when I go to Jamaica!!!!!

  35. Marilyn Legault says:

    I like your suggestions. I need to try this one trip.

  36. Great tips! saving this page for my next vacation!

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