Packing for a Summer Getaway with Carry-Ons

July 6, 2016


This is the post many of you have been waiting for and I want to thank everyone for their kind words of support and also your patience while I try to get myself back together. It doesn’t matter how long or short a trip I take – it takes me a long time to unpack and organize things. This summer my husband and I planned a 2 week getaway with one week in New York and another week for Florida. The second half ended up being postponed for a later date due to work conflicts combined with my anxiety about leaving our two energetic Jack Russell Terriers and a very temperamental Ragdoll cat. This was the first trip we boarded them and while we knew we were leaving them in very good hands, I still think of them as my babies and leaving them for any period of time is hard for me especially since our fur kids are very high maintenance. But I digress – we packed for a two week getaway with carry-ons only as both my husband and I like to travel light. Many of you liked my Three Weeks in Europe with Carry Ons post last summer. This year we were lucky to try something new with carry on luggage from Away Travel.

Those following me on social have seen a few sneak peeks featuring Away – they are a relatively new company that carries affordable travel luggage. At the time of our trip they stocked one size of luggage the Carry-On ($225) which measures 21.7” x 13.7” x 9”. While in New York I stopped by their pop up Concept Store on in Noho at 325 Lafayette Street and discovered they just launched two additional sizes The Medium ($275) and The Large ($295). At this time you can order them direct from their website or purchase in store. You can use this referral code to save $20 off your first suitcase order.

A quick look inside the concept store and then a review of the carry on followed by what I packed for the trip. The store currently stocks a few items you can only find in the store. There are two themes for the store, one is Tokyo inspired and the other has a Swedish theme. Both are based on what the founders are passionate about. While in the store I bought a travel blanket/scarf they call a Blarf ($125). I hope they carry this online soon or have it in more colors. It’s the perfect size, thickness and density for the airplane. So many recommend carrying a large scarf or small blanket and I think it’s hard to find something the right size and thickness for the plane.

 above image, courtesy of Away

above image, courtesy of Away

Below are some images I took of the store. The staff was very kind and allowed be to browse. They have stations inside where you can see the product in person. They also have a kiosk stocked with folded shirts and tees like a demo station as a way help you figure out what size luggage will work best for your travel packing needs.


Bottom left – try out station with clothing so you can see which size best fits your needs based on what you plan to pack. Bottom right an Away x Capsule Beauty Box Collaboration set.

A closer look at the luggage. Away sent both my husband and I carry ons to test out for our trip. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the box – but they are shipped in a perfectly fitted box and they also come with their own dust bags for storage. Upon opening it I was really surprised how lightweight it was. The exterior is made of a Bayer Makrolon polycarbonate. It has some give to it if you touch it – it’s not 100% solid like metal or glass but still very thick and surprisingly sturdy. When we both unboxed ours I have to admit we were both concerned about the sturdiness since it’s so lightweight. After putting it to the test though I can report that it’s very sturdy. We did take these on the plane with us as carry-ons so I am not sure how the exterior will hold up if you check it.

For something so compact and streamlined, it has a lot of features I found practical but genius. The space is very well designed inside and out. There’s minimal wasted space inside for maximum packing – most luggage has a lot of unusable space inside because of the handles or pockets. It comes with a built in USB charger which I found very handy. The interior comes with a compression system which helps hold all your clothes in place so there’s minimal shifting even if it’s not completely full. There is also a removable laundry bag packed at the base – it rolls up into a compact zip pouch so once again, valuable packing space is not taken up. It comes with four wheels that have a 360 degree spin so rolling it around flat or angled is easy and seamless. Handles expand up to 20.3 inches.

There are four lights that indicate how much charge is left in the battery. Each case comes with a TSA approved lock as well:


Many of you saw my preliminary packing list in this post here. This is what I ended up packing inside, I also had the clothes I was wearing to and from our destinations. In addition to our carry ons, I had a Louis Vuitton Neverful Tote in the MM size and my husband had a laptop case. Not shown below is what I packed inside my tote which included my liquids, wallet, small truffle pouch with cosmetics, makeup brushes in a MustaeV bloom pouch, laptop and one pair of flats.

All packed up:

A quick look at the interior, more shots and details on their website:


What I fit inside the left side with the zipped portion. Each is the same in size. This is the first suitcase I’ve tried where both sides are the same – most have either a deep base with a cover. The Anya Hindmarch case fit inside with everything shown below (hat not packed but rather carried by hand). In the left side I packed 2 pairs of jeans, 2 blouses, 4 tees/tanks, makeup case, 2 sweater shells, three dresses.


On the right side is a compression case. It has a zip pouch where I stored socks and underwear. Packed inside were 3 boxes of Laduree tea (for on the way home), 3 sweaters, 1 pair of jeans (yes a 3rd pair, lol), 1 summer dress, 1 black tank, 1 pencil skirt, a pair of heels in dust bags, 1 tank, yoga pants and my camera case. My clothes are small and were lightweight so it was easy to roll or fold things in a way to fit without overstuffing.


Beauty-wise, everything fit inside 1 Anya Hindmarch Inflight Case to keep everything compact, 1 MustaeV Bloom Pouch for brushes and pencils, and 1 quart sized ziploc bag for liquids. Some of you may be wondering what happened to my clear pouch that I bought last year for liquids. Even though the description says it’s quart sized and reviews indicate many airports take it, there have been a few instances where security took one look and I had issues getting through. I was still able to get through in the end but since it looks like it carries a lot many suspect that it’s over the quart size limit. I decided to skip it this round.



The beauty pack list:


Eye makeup:

Face Makeup:

Cheek and Highlighters:





Liquids and skincare:



For those wondering how well the luggage will hold up to scratches, I did not check the bag and so it was not exposed to serious contact damage with other bags. I did find one mark light scratch on the surface that happened from another bag sliding in the overhead compartment against mine. It was easy to remove but it was not a deep scratch and there was no indentation in the surface. I used a warm wash cloth and a tiny bit of hand soap to wipe the surface and the mark was almost 100% gone with a couple swipes.



A few final thoughts about packing for a week in New York City for the summer. I could have skipped the hat and my heels. Even for dressier occasions or meetings, my black flats worked just fine. In the streets I saw women mainly wore sandals, flats or short heeled wedges. I saw very few heels although I suspect some may just simply carry them in their totes to change for work or going out – if any New Yorkers want to chime in let me know!

  • I could have skipped the hat. I didn’t want it to get squished so I carried it on the plane. I did not end up wearing it at all as I felt it would have just gotten in the way.
  • I walked most of New York City in either my Chloe flats or Tory Burch Millers. Yes, sandals were not the best idea, but being a California girl I just have to. My feet did ok – no blisters and they did not get too dirty. Both pairs of shoes survived without any damage from extensive walking.
  • I packed more than I needed for a week – but we did intend to be away for 2 weeks instead of 1.
  • Next trip to NYC I’m packing super light on the beauty side. All I need can be found at Birchbox Soho or Space NK, not to mention all the Sephora stores around the city.
  • I really missed my hair dryer but I survived with the one in the hotel.
  • My husband only packed jeans and even after a trip to Banana Republic in the city for some last minute things, he only picked up shorts and polos. Next time I will be packing a nice pair of slacks or khakis for him. There were a few restaurants I wanted to go to that we could not because he only had jeans as he was on “vacay” mode.
  • I did bring a pair of my Pumas that I had from last year as my sneaker/walking shoes. My husband informed me I need to invest in a pair of better looking shoes. He gave them that “these should be burned” look when he saw me wearing them. If you have any recommendations please let me know.
  • By the end of my trip I had several full sized liquids and other items I bought while in NYC that would not fit inside my carry on or tote. I shipped them back home via FedEx. Quick note on pricing – make sure you double check price quotes online. I shipped everything home for a little over $40, box weight was about 20 pounds. A little over a week later I received an invoice from FedEx stating I owed an additional $120. I called them to ask about it and was informed that prices are just estimates in the store and additional charges may occur for residential deliveries, weekday deliveries, declared value and size etc. They said the best way to get an accurate quote is to use the calculator online or to call them directly. They were very nice and professional on the phone, this obviously was my first time shipping something this large from FedEx and I told them I was just a bit surprised there was such a huge difference from the estimate to the actual cost. They waived the extra $100 without me complaining or asking, which I thought was really nice of them and something they did not have to do at all. If you are a newbie shipper like me – just be aware of the shipping estimates if you ship large boxes or items home. If in doubt just ask about any potential added charges that may be incurred.

I hope you enjoyed this packing post and review of the Away Carry Ons. Right now the only place to buy is direct from their website. You can use this referral link to save $20 off your first suitcase order. Both my husband and I were really impressed with it. It’s practical, priced right, works just the way you want a carry on to work and sturdy. The little touches and features make a huge difference. I was impressed with how much I was able to fit. I am planning to buy one for my brother and brother in law soon as they are both in need of good travel gear.

Do you have any tips or things you do for packing in carry-ons? Or are you the type that always checks luggage?

Press samples featured courtesy for review include the Away Carry Ons, MustaeV Bloom Pouch, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint, Edward Bess All Over Seduction. Some minis were from gift with purchases I’ve collected over time.


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  • You had me laughing at the Blarf 😀 But, seriously, what a good idea. Away sounds like a great company and the prices are certainly right if the quality is also there. As for the peek inside your carryon, you're a genius packer! Thanks for taking the time to go into so much detail.

    • LOL – at the store I had to ask them to repeat what they said, haha! Glad you liked the post Eileen and thank you so much for being so supportive, I feel as though I have an amazing cheerleading team by having such thoughtful kind readers like yourself. xoxo

  • Anonymous

    I like to know what you put in that Fed Ex box that seriously cost so much to ship. So curious what you bought in NYC. I know when I go, I have plans just to get a few items. I come home with lots of stuff. These days I don't buy, since I had to throw so many things away dur to moving, but I like to gleen over your purchases.

    • I shipped quite a few liquids and ended up putting a few clothes I bought and cords/plugs that I didn't want to carry home to make room in my suitcase for cookie boxes I bought at momofuku.

  • Dev

    Next time you need to ship something look into USPS flat rate boxes. You can put up to 70 lbs in them and the biggest one is around $18 to ship and can hold a lot. No additional fees either. They are the best value I have found for shipping heavy items.

  • I agree that USPS is hands down the most affordable way to ship things! Also, as a NYer for 10+ years, I can say that most of us stash heels at the office or carry them in totes for going out after work. NY is really one of those places where you can never be too dressed up. As for comfortable walking shoes, since "athleisure" is so popular now, I'd say some bright white Stan Smiths or Nike fly knits are great for walking around. Love all of your posts, but especially the packing ones (probably because I'm nosy and always wonder what people travel with!).

    • Thanks Dev and Adia – I do like USPS flat rate, but the largest one would not have fit all the things I wanted to ship. Also FedEx was the closest to me. Next time I'll investigate on other locations though 🙂

      Adia – thanks for the shoe recs! I will check them out 🙂

  • Thanks for the post–what is the Chanel zip pouch in the pictures with your phone?

    • Hi Margaret, it's a small zip coin purse. HTH!

  • Thanks for sharing! How was the battery life for the charger on the carryon? Were the handles sturdy or were they wobbly? Great post, thanks again for sharing!

    • Hi Laura – battery life seemed to be very good. I charged an iphone for about 30 minutes while in the airport. Then at home I left a phone charged/plugged in for about 20 minutes and all four lights were still on.

      The handles are sturdy but there is some give near the joints if that makes sense. They aren't super wobbly but do move if that makes sense.

  • Love the packing posts and the info on Away.

    How did you get all those liquids (pictured on the edge of the bathtub) into a one quart bag??

    • Anonymous

      I want to know the same!!! My quart bag is always about to burst with half of that pictured!

    • It's like playing a game of Tetris – but I promise everything fit inside. I should have tried to do a video!

  • Abbie Stephens

    Hi Sabrina, I need your advice. I will be in NYC for 6 days, sightseeing and shopping. You said you didn't have a problem wearing sandals around the city. I hate wearing ballet pumps and I don't really want to wear trainers with my summer dresses so just wanted to make extra sure that I will be ok with sandals? I mainly wear ones with ankle straps, not flip flops or slip ons. Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Abbie – I would say it depends on what you are going to see. Many advised me to take one pair of nicer shoes that you can wear if you go out to some place dressy like a nice dinner or show.

      If you're going casual all the way and are used to wearing ankle strap sandals, then you should be ok. However if you haven't done a lot of walking in them, bring a comfy pair of sneakers just in case.

      The upside of being in NYC though is that there are lots of places to buy an extra pair of shoes in case you feel like the ones you bring with you aren't going to cut it.


    • Abbie Stephens

      Hi Sabrina, thanks so much for your reply ! I was definitely going to take some heeled sandals or wedges if we go anywhere nice for dinner, and I might buy some trainers in NYC, nothing like holiday shopping 🙂

  • LOVED this post, Sabrina! #luggagegoals

    • Thank you Estelle – hugs!!!

  • Hi Sabrina! Check out the Nike Woven Mayfly sneakers for your next walking shoes. They are super comfy and timeless cool factor!

    • Thank you Maria – I just took a look online, they do look really nice! Will definitely check them out soon 🙂

  • ame

    Great post! I've been eying these recently myself. I am curious if they would qualify as international carry on size.

    RE the liquids bag–I also decided to bail on that, and switched to this one from BlueAvocado. So far no issues as it's near identical in size to a ziploc. No one has had a single problem with it, You can get them at Container Store as well. It helped me also pare down a bit. I got smaller shampoo and conditioner containers, and also have started packing sample packets more often for trips shorter than a week, and bringing a small dry shampoo (or buying one at my destination):

    I also found really great wipes that are oilier, and stopped packing my cleansing oil even though I love it, bec these are not a liquid. I ended up reacting to the new Urban Decay ones, but the Clinique Take the Day Off Micellar ones are oily enough to take off all my waterproof and long wear stuff, and then I don't "have" to use another less oily wipe if I don't want. But I can use that and then just get into the shower vs using cleansing oil like I otherwise would. Anyway… just thought I'd share.

    • Anonymous

      The re-zips look great… I'm going to check these out! Thanks for posting these additional ideas!

    • Hi Ame – not sure but they have a list of international flights and carry on size restrictions on their site. HTH!

  • For good walking that are still stylish, I recommend Nike roshe in black. They are so comfy and look great, I wore those on my trip to NYC last year and my feet never hurt despite walking everywhere.

    • Thanks Trixia! I will look into those, can never go wrong with Nike!

  • I tried that referral link and it didn't work. Would you mind sending? i'm sold and want to buy this carryon from Away for my 2 week trip through France! Thanks!

    • Hi Michelle – it should work, the $20 will show up when you are in the checkout process, after you enter in your shipping information. Try it again and it it doesn't work let me know.

    • It worked! Thank you. My carryon will arrive in a few days!