How To Pack For 2 Weeks in a Carry-On; The Story Of A Pinterest Fail.

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As I was preparing for my trip to Africa I was inspired by images like this on Pinterest,

How to Pack for 2 Weeks in a Carry On

We’ve all seen them, helpful tips on how to pack and not having to check a bag.

Knowing that most of the people I would meet in Africa were going to be significantly more traveled than I, this seemed like an opportunity to impress with my travel savvy.  Besides, it didn’t look too difficult and I knew I wouldn’t need anything too fancy while I was there.  Piece of cake!

I went to Marshall’s and found a small hard side suitcase that was on clearance because some jerk had set the combination lock and walked off.  A quick google search taught me how to overcome this obstacle.  Seriously, those locks are useless.  It’s a suitcase not a safe, anyone who wants in there can get in.  But it’s all good because I got a great price on an adorable, purple (my favorite color), hard side, carry-on sized suit case that was sure to impress all of Africa with my packing abilities.

Two weeks seems to be a trend, or maybe just the maximum you can reasonably fit into a bag that size, and it just so happened I was going to be gone for exactly 2 weeks.  Perfection!  After reading through a few articles like this one from Seventeenth & Irving, and this one from Little House. Big Heart.  It seemed the key was to only pack absolute essentials, things that you are 100% sure you will need, pack clothes that all match each other and can be worn a variety of ways, and to roll instead of folding.  All great tips that seem simple enough.

So, after hours of hard work and whittling down to just the basics, I had a case that looked like this,

packing tips

Not too shabby.  It follows the rules and I think looks pretty similar to the pictures on Pinterest.  I was pretty proud of myself…. until I did this,

packing tips

Yeah, not even close.  And I was packing for Africa at the end of March.  Warm weather, light weight clothes and I still couldn’t pull it off!

Good news is, most international flights (including the KLM flight I was on) allow at least one free checked bag.

So, exhausted and frustrated I came up with the perfect solution!  I introduce you to Suitcase Inception (patent pending),

suitcase inception

I’m nothing if not resourceful (or lazy).  A suitcase within a suitcase, it’s almost Shakespearean.

Mostly borne out of reaching a point where I just couldn’t think about packing anymore, it did end up proving useful.  My home base while I was there was in Arusha, which is where I kept my larger bag, while I was able to pack the smaller bag for my side trips to the Serengeti and Zanzibar.  It worked out well since many of the planes I traveled on could also fit inside a larger suitcase.

Coastal Aviation

It also came in handy on the journey home as it provided an extra layer of protection and insulation for all of the shady African bathtub gin I smuggled home.


Most importantly, it kept this treasure safe.

Giraffe Riding

Why yes, that is an African statue of me riding a giraffe.  It’s based on future events and is pretty much my favorite thing ever (which is why it has taken a place of honor in the midst of my flamingo tea set).

So there you have it.  Suitcase inception; Pinterest fail or stroke of genius?  That will be for posterity to decide.





11 thoughts on “How To Pack For 2 Weeks in a Carry-On; The Story Of A Pinterest Fail.

  1. Thanks for the linkback!

    And keep trying! You’ll master packing light, it just takes practice.
    Jess @ Little House. Big Heart. recently posted…A Step BackMy Profile

    • Mags

      You make it look easy! 🙂

  2. Oh this post made me laugh… I’d be so with you on not being able to quite pull off the carry on only idea (unless those people are also packing front and back back-packs as they go?

    Besides… where do you fit the stuff you bought on your travels?! Just madness.

    But I love the idea of your inception case. All the better because then on the flight home you could have two cases if you wanted / needed them. Gold.
    Amanda @ Adventures All Around recently posted…Cheapest Cup of Coffee in America found on a Deep South Road TripMy Profile

  3. […] How To Pack For 2 Weeks in a Carry-On; The Story Of A Pinterest Fail. […]

  4. […] way I see it, the only one I would really need is the checked bag since I’m terrible at packing a useful carry on for any length of time.  You can always pack a sandwich or buy food at the airport (even though I do secretly love […]

  5. […] smart-  This is something I struggle with, but it’s a great idea none the less.  Pack what you need in as few items as possible.  The […]

  6. That flamingo tea set is so cute! <3 I was actually really hoping the pack-two-weeks-into-a-carry-on thing would work, because that's probably going to be the basis of my life for the latter half of this year, and it would've been cool! I better start practicing, haha.

    I do the suitcase-in-a-suitcase thing whenever I go to Asia! <3 Best deal ever, since it costs so much these days just to fly a suitcase over. 😡
    Farrah recently posted…Your Imaginary TrainerMy Profile

    • Mags

      Pinterest made it look so easy! lol. It’s would be a useful skill to have with outrageous bag fees now.

  7. Ha! I’ve totally tried this before, but I could barely get the larger suitcase to zip around the smaller one. That extra insulation comes in handy!
    Adventuring The Great Wide Somewhere recently posted…Hotel H’orset Opera ReviewMy Profile

    • Mags

      It’s the closest I could come to being organized lol!

  8. That’s a very different one you have explained hwo to pack bags for 2 weeks… In my case i am always overloaded with stuff plus too many bags.
    Eliza Dolkar recently posted…IT Luggage ReviewsMy Profile

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