How I Pack for a 5-Day Trip in Only a Personal Item

packing in a backpack

My decision to pack for our upcoming trip to Florida in only a personal item came because of the wonder that is Spirit Airlines. Like all budget airlines, you get a great deal on flights, but then they nickel-and-dime you for all of the extras. Choosing our seats? $40/flight. Boarding early? $9/flight. Bringing a carry-on bag? $45/flight.

After deciding that bringing some extra stuff wasn’t worth $90 to me, I decided to turn it into a challenge for myself (we know how I love to gameify everything). I’ve always been good at packing light, but for me that usually means a small carryon shoulder bag with clothes and all my electronics and camera equipment in my backpack, so this is the true test.

Big shoutout to my backpack. Couldn’t do it without ya.

clothes in backpack for 5 days

Section One – Clothes:

I chose my clothes fairly carefully to make sure that I could pair everything with everything else. I’m wearing my bulkiest items on the plane in order to reduce the amount of things that had to go in the bag.

  1. Olive t-shirt
  2. Navy t-shirt
  3. Black tank
  4. White tank
  5. Stripe shorts
  6. Demin shorts
  7. 3 underwear
  8. Sleep shirt & undies
  9. Green linen dress
  10. Bathing suit
  11. Water bottle
  12. Coffee mug
  13. Utensil Set (not pictured, oops)


On the plane I am wearing:

  1. Long black pants
  2. Black tank
  3. Cardigan
  4. Comfy socks
  5. Chacos
  6. Bra & underwear


personal item packing toilettries

Section Two – Toiletries:

  1. Shampoo, Conditioner, & Soap bars
  2. Travel Hydration Kit (thanks Kyle!)
  3. Hairbrush & Scrunchie (that’s right! ONE SCRUNCHIE ONLY!)
  4. Toothpaste & Toothbrush
  5. Concealer, Eyebrow Stuff,  & Mascara
  6. Moisturizer
  7. Leave-in Conditioner
  8. Hydrating Face Mask (for when my Irish skin inevitably gets too much sun)
  9. Sunscreen
  10. Perfume & Deoderant
  11. Zit Cream
  12. Melatonin & Prescription


personal item packing electronics

Section Three – Electronics:

  1. Laptop & Charger
  2. Kindle & Charger
  3. Camera & Charger
  4. 35mm lens
  5. Noise-cancelling headphones
  6. External Harddrive
  7. Card Reader
  8. Phone & Charger
  9. Apple Watch & Charger
  10. Handy-Dandy Notebook & Pen


When we get there we plan on buying a big thing of sunscreen and a small bottle of Dr. Bronners so I can wash things in the hotel sink if we need!

I challenge you to say no to those extra fees and try to pack in a personal item! If I can do it, you can do it!


comments +

  1. AR says:

    Hi! Curious: did you end up having any issues with this bag during your flight? currently getting ready to jump on a spirt flight, and I have this bag and was excited to see you used it! Was it a success?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

seniors, newborns & behind the scenes


all you need is love

weddings & Engagements

tips for influencers & entrepreneurs 

Branding & social media


new england based, happy to roam.

Joyful, Fresh & Genuine

Chasing the sweet in-betweens and creating images that show the world who you are, not just what you look like since 2014.

my love language is


© Caroline axvig  2020

caroline the photographer