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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Joy

The Perfect Carry-On for Cabo (Or Any Beach Vacation!)

Updated: Dec 12, 2018

My most recent travel venture was an absolute dream! I just got back from my short (but amazing) vacation to sunny Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. My boyfriend, John, and I departed Chicago O’Hare early on a Wednesday morning and spent five days and four nights at the beautiful, all-inclusive Riu Santa Fe Resort. Our stay consisted of bottomless mimosas and margaritas, two pool parties, multiple restaurants with delicious cuisine, an incredible view, and endless memories. When we weren’t lounging on the beach or at the swim-up bar, we were taking a beachside hike into Cabo’s city-center or watching the sunset from a sailboat in the middle of the Sea of Cortez. Even though I didn’t know what was going to be on our itinerary before we left, I felt completely prepared because of how much I was able to fit into my SWISSGEAR carry-on luggage.

What I Brought With Me:

If you’re like me, then you tend to overpack for shorter trips like this one. While I’d like to think I’m a bit of a “Packing Pro” after having to pack three weeks worth of clothes, accessories and toiletries for My Epic Euro Adventure, I still had trouble narrowing down the amount of dresses, rompers, swimsuits, shoes, etc. that I wanted to bring with me on this beach vacation. And because of how short of a trip this was, and the fact that we had a connecting flight in Dallas, TX on the way there, John and I decided that packing only carry-on suitcases was the way to go. Luckily, I didn’t have to eliminate too many outfits or accessories from my suitcase because I had plenty of room in my two new SWISSGEAR suitcases! Here’s what I packed with me for our stay in Cabo, Mexico:

5 swimsuits (4 bikinis and 1 one-piece)

2 dresses

3 rompers

1 jumpsuit (although I didn’t get a chance to wear this)

My XO(eco) travel beauty bag (read what was inside of it here)

2 pairs of sandals (and I wore my Chucks on the plane)

4 pairs of shorts

1 pair of jeans

5 tops/tanks

1 sweater (and I wore a zip-up hoodie on the plane)

1 swimsuit coverup

Curling iron and hairbrush

Multiple undergarments

1 big, floppy sun hat

2 pairs of sunglasses

Sunscreen (read about what I used to protect my skin here)

Tablet for reading my e-books (see what I’ve been reading lately here)

Compact Nikon Digital Camera

All the chargers for my electronics

How I Packed It All:

Believe it or not, I had no problem fitting all of the above items into my SWISSGEAR 19” Expandable Hardside Spinner Suitcase, but for easy accessibility while on the flights, I kept a few things in my beach bag (read what I brought in that here) and in my SWISSGEAR Checklite Underseat Suitcase. John and I used those two pieces of luggage as our “personal items” on the planes. The underseat suitcase fit snugly under the seat in front of us, and it was perfect for keeping our books and electronics in since they were close for us to grab when we needed them for entertainment on our long, boring flights. And I knew my spinner suitcase was safe and sound above me in the overhead compartment because of its hard outer shell that kept all of my travel belongings safe and protected.

When it came time to navigate through the multiple airports and shuttle buses/trains we were in, both of my SWISSGEAR suitcases were easy to push through the crowds (They both have wheels on them, but the underseat suitcase can also be attached to the top of the spinner for extra convenience!), and they were super lightweight - even with everything I had stuffed inside of them - so hauling our luggage up the stairs (there was no elevator access) to our hotel room on the third floor was a breeze!

My Packing Tips:

Are you planning a beach vacation for sometime soon? Read through some of my packing tips and maybe you can avoid paying baggage fees for checked bags by only bringing a carry-on suitcase!

  1. Roll your clothes - It’s a compact way to “fold” clothes and it minimizes wrinkles!

  2. Pack clothes “sideways” to easily spot things you need or want to wear, place everything in your suitcase so it’s visible to you without having to “dig” through it all. The SWISSGEAR 19” Spinner opens from the middle, so it’s easy to eliminate the amount of “burying” items you do while packing.

  3. Be prepared and willing to wear things more than once. Things I’ll typically re-wear while on trips: shoes, sweatshirts/sweaters, jackets, and bottoms (especially the bottoms I wear on the plane rides)

  4. Bring a large personal item on your flight. I’ll usually pack all of my electronics, liquids, and things I want easy-access to while on my flights in my personal item. The bag you use as your personal item just has to be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. SWISSGEAR’s backpacks or underseat suitcases work well as personal items because of how well they maximize space. I can always fit more into them than I think I can!

  5. Use glasses cases for small, delicate items i.e. jewelry, chargers, medications, etc. Glasses cases work well for keeping small, fragile items safe and all together in one place so they aren’t misplaced.

  6. Utilize your shoes for space. If I’m going on a trip that requires bigger, heavier shoes, I’ll try to stuff things inside of them.

  7. Wear your sweatshirt and heaviest/biggest shoes on the plane. You can always tie your sweatshirt around your waist or take it (and your shoes) off while on the flight. But wearing your biggest items on the plane will save you lots of room in your carry-on!

  8. Make sure you’re using the right carry-on suitcase! Most airlines require your carry-on be within these dimensions: 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches. Try to find a carry-on suitcase that maximizes that space, like SWISSGEAR’s 19” Spinner - it’s the perfect size!

One of my biggest fears about traveling is losing my luggage (luckily that’s never happened to me...yet), but I don’t even have to worry about that if I only bring a carry-on with me! If you’re in the market for a new set of carry-on luggage, take my word for it and go with SWISSGEAR! You won’t regret it!

Shop This Post:


Travel Style:

**Calvin Klein Performance Tank (got mine at TJ Maxx, but here’s a similar option)

Black Old Navy Active Cropped Leggings (I actually have these in a kids’ size):

**This product is a similar option (the original one shown is either sold out or has been discontinued)

Do you have any other go-to packing tips/hacks? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

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