How to travel for two weeks with only carry-on luggage

Yes, you can travel for two weeks with carry-on luggage only, but preparation is the key, says former flight attendant and packing guru Cathy Perry, of Melbourne fashion label The Ark, theark.com.au

STEP ONE Don't pack at the last minute: give yourself at least two weeks to pack your bag. Hang all the clothes you're considering on a rack, and try them on in front of a full-length mirror. Then look up the past few years' temperatures, because dry season isn't always dry. Also, many hot climates are freezing indoors thanks to air-conditioning, and the reverse, when it's freezing outside, it's overheated inside, so layering is the trick. Make sure all fabrics are travel friendly: are they drip-dry overnight, wash-and-wear, or do they need a travel iron?

STEP TWO Start by choosing three base palettes, such as white, oyster and ink. This may be a combination of pant/skirt/shorts, and pair them with a singlet of the same colour: instantly, you have three outfits. Mix them and you already have nine basic looks. Now add your gorgeous fashion layer to create versatility. For trans-seasonal versatility, throw in a lightweight trench and a knit – some people take a full pashmina-sized knit. Be prepared to cull to create a well-co-ordinated travel wardrobe.

STEP THREE Accessorise. Scarves and jewellery add a textural element, colour and a focal point. People remember the scarf, not what lies beneath. Use cosmetic jewellery instead of grandma's heirlooms, and purchasing jewellery from overseas bazaars is a lovely way to reconnect with your holiday memories.

STEP FOUR A big stumbling block is packing for a wedding or formal occasion. Take a vac bag and, once you've worn the outfit, shrink it down to its minimal size. Otherwise, if you trust the local post, consider sending it home. Alternatively, in major cities, you can hire fabulous, high-end fashion for a night, just as men hire suits and tuxedos for black-tie events: source and book in advance.

STEP FIVE Runners no longer go on holidays, there are so many beautiful sneakers or brogues that can do a fun run in a park, or get you over cobbled streets. Opt for a fashion runner that can be worn with a dress, and wear them on the flight with your compression socks. Ditto if you're taking winter boots, and choose a sensible heel such as a wedge. Finish with a neutral-tone sandal that goes with everything. Be ruthless – only three pairs of shoes.

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