I was recently in Europe for about 2.5 weeks (18 days). While the first few days in Paris were just for fun (and my first solo travel experience), I then went to Vienna, Prague, and Berlin for a work trip. I needed to pack both work and casual clothes, my shoes, toiletries, makeup, laptop, and camera, and leave a little room for souvenirs.
Checking a large bag is a hassle, plus it's heavy to drag through the airport. Also, a multi-country trip means a lot of transportation, and a large bag is just annoying to pack and re-pack. Therefore, I packed for my whole two and a half weeks with just a carry-on, and want to show you that you can too!
First off, my carry-on is the largest size for standard American flights. Since all my flights allowed for one free checked bag up to 50 lbs, my carry-on easily fit the size and weight requirements to check it.
I didn't have to check my carry-on, but going hands-free through the airport is so nice. All I had to hang onto was my Longchamp. Since I was traveling by myself, this made things like going to the bathroom or buying food at a crowded kiosk much easier since I didn't have to lug a roller bag around the airport.
How did I do it?
Once I started using Space Bags, I can't believe I traveled for so many years without them. They come in a number of sizes, and I was able to fit two carry-on sized Space Bags into my suitcase. You can find them at Target or similar stores!
Roll your clothes
Even with the Space Bags, I still rolled all my clothes. Rolling clothes takes up the least amount of space. If your clothes are wrinkled once you get there, use the hotel iron. No iron? Hang your clothes in the bathroom while you're showering to steam out the wrinkles.
Travel sized toiletries
I used to always bring my big toothpaste tube with me on trips. I don't know why I did that, because I had a number of random mini tubes I got for free from the dentist over the years. Two mini tubes of toothpaste lasted my whole 2.5 weeks, and I just threw them away before I left. I did the same with my mini shampoo bottle, body wash, etc.
Be realistic about what you'll actually wear
I brought four pairs of shoes: 2 pairs of flats, 1 pair of boat shoes, and 1 pair of sandals. I love heels, but knew that with the cobblestone streets + jet lag + hours of walking, I wouldn't wear them. So I didn't bring heels. I also exercise every day at home, but was about to be working 15 hour days for the majority of my trip, which left very little time for exercise. So I didn't bring athletic shoes or gym clothes.
There you have it! How I was able to fit everything I needed for 2 weeks into carry-on. Have more tips? Leave 'em in the comments!