Packing one month on a trip with a carry-on will not be easy, especially for a woman. It took me years to travel light. I used to travel with one large suitcase and a small carry-on. It is like taking my whole wardrobe with me and struggling with my baggage at the airport. I packed too much mainly clothing. And at the end of my trip I returned home that half of my clothes hadn’t been worn.

Besides all that, I’m a person who travels around and does not just stay in one place. So imagine, dragging all the suitcases in public transport was a hell of a job. But that is the past. I’m so grateful that I have learned to pack in a small portion after so many years.

Thus, I switch to medium-sized suitcases from the large size, and I’m still packing so much stuff, which I really hate because I have no control. But in recent years, I confined myself to travel with a piece of a carry-on because of how oversized my bag is and how tempted I am to throw everything in it. 

Traveling with hand luggage isn’t easy, especially if going on a one-month trip, but I have learned to do so. In my opinion, a woman needs more stuff than a man. But eventually, I’m glad I found how to travel light and what to pack.

I never wear a backpack and will never be

I’m petite and have a back problem. I envy the woman carrying a backpack while I’m rolling my small expandable suitcase. I don’t wear a shoulder bag if traveling to other continents because I find it such a bad idea, and it is appealing to snatchers. But I’m wearing my daypack to put some stuff and essential documents.

I tried to minimize during packing so I could close my luggage neatly without using the suitcase expansion. I also have travel clothes, which I only wear on a trip. These are made from quick-drying fabric, ideally for self-laundry. I do the laundry every two days at the hotel sink. Sometimes I take washing powder from home, but this is primarily available on the spot of destination.

Save time at the airport and money

These days most airlines charge extra for checked luggage. Have you seen low fares on the internet? The cheapest ticket is only allowed for hand luggage if you have a 20 kg bag – they charge 50 euros. Only a few airlines will give the privilege of free checked bags. However, people traveling to Asia and Oceania were lucky because the ticket price for this destination it’s includes a checked suitcase.  

Since I’m traveling light, I still pay for the additional check luggage because I mostly buy souvenirs every trip. But on my recent trip to Peru, flying with Air Europa, I didn’t purchase the extra baggage. Some airlines will allow you to carry-on onboard to 12 kilograms. And my bag never weighs more than ten kilos, saving me money. So instead of buying big souvenirs, I purchase small things as a memento. Also, the good thing is if you travel with only a carry-on, you’re out of the airport quickly without waiting for your luggage to arrive at the airport. 

My list for a one month trip

It is not for the European winter destination. But I guess you figured it out if your destination goes to a cold temperature. For Southeast Asia and South America, these were my packing tips.

Six sets of packing cubes

I used packing cubes to organize my suitcase. I never went on a trip without using them. It’s super handy, keeps your suitcase in order, and gives you more space. You can see through the mesh what’s inside without opening the zipper. The packing cubes exist in three to six sets and can also be used in a backpack.

Tops - I prefer darker colors

  • A trekking jacket that you can roll is a light garment and usually includes a pocket to put the coat when you coil it. It really helps me from rain and cold. Like when I was in Antigua, Guatemala, in December, I was surprised at how cold it was.
  • Five t-shirts
  • Two long sleeve
  • Two dresses    


  • Two dark shorts, one for the beach. My favorite beach short is the boardshorts from Ripcurl; it dries quickly.
  • One dark jeans, but if you’re going to a warm destination it can be so hot, choose a light fabric
  • One black legging, suitable if you are going on a long bus journey.
  • A trekking pants if you do some hiking.
  • A hat is the most essential in my luggage. I love the horizon breeze brimmer hat from North Face, full brim, and mesh venting.

Great significance in my suitcase

  • Two bras, one strapless, suitable for a sleeveless
  • Five lace fabric underwear that is fast drying. 
  • Two swimsuits and a pareo. The pareo can be used in multiple ways, wrapped over the swimsuit, or used as a beach towel.
  • Three pairs of socks – I pack thin socks that are comfy to wear under my rubber shoes.

Some essential things that needed

  • Sunglasses – I always carry two of them — one multifocal sunglasses for swimming and a regular one to wear with my contact lens.
  • Contact lenses, I pack my daily lenses when traveling — less tendance than monthly lenses. I certainly take enough supplies with me for the duration of the trip. I also take my eyeglasses for a long bus journeys and on the plane. 
  • Shoes, I never pack high heels, but I bring one pair of flat sandals for the evening, particularly when going to a restaurant.
  • One pair of rubber shoes, the one I wore for travel.
  • A pair of flip-flops I prefer the Havaianas brand; they have a beautiful collection and styles. 
  • Torch, I always carry a small one if traveling to a remote island with limited electricity; convenient to have a flashlight.
  • Padlock: Some hotels provide a secure deposit box, but you must have your lock.

Toiletries are easy to find on the spot

I took the smaller size for the first day and then looked for a shop and bought the things I needed. This kind of personal care is mostly cheaper than at home.

Local medicine works better

For medicine, I only take painkillers. But on my recent trip to Peru, I had to take a malaria pill every day, so I’m carrying a box of these tablets.
If you are traveling with a carry-on and taking many pills in your suitcase, I’m not sure what to say if they see it at the airport scanner. I have read on a forum that you will be fine if you have the doctor’s prescription. I’m no expert here, and it is best to inform before you go. Just one thing, I never forget to take mosquito repellent. It’s a lifesaver for me.

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