A Travel Capsule for Italy

A Carry-On Only Packing List For Italy

I can just about remember the time when the idea of taking a single carry-on only bag while traveling would have horrified me. What if I needed something I’d left behind? There’s no way I could fit everything I need into a single backpack! But lo and behold, only a few years later and I couldn’t imagine traveling any other way.

Taking hand luggage only on trips makes traveling such a breeze. No checking bags in at the airport or nervously waiting for them to turn up when you get to your destination. There’s no infuriating extra costs for checking in a suitcase or worrying that you’ve gone over the weight limit. A single bag that you carry with you on and off the plane, what could be easier than that? You might have to learn new tricks to squeeze as much as you can into your bag but it’s so worth it for the time and money it saves you.

For any trips under 7 days, I always take carry-on only. I’ve yet to test my packaging skills on a longer trip! Taking hand luggage only does require a little extra effort in terms of pre-planning what to take and making sure it can all fit. I always double-check the accommodation I’m staying in has a hair dryer and toiletry basics, and consider what my options are in case they don’t; things like shampoo, soap, and sunscreen can be bought on arrival. There are plenty of items you think you need when you travel but you just don’t, and unless you’re traveling to the middle of nowhere, there’s always a local shop to pick up anything you realise you really do need.

A Carry-On Only Packing List For Italy

I’m heading to Matera, an atmospheric cave-town in southern Italy and a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s the perfect blend of warm weather, beautiful scenery, and plenty to experience. It’s so much easier to pack when you’re heading to warmer climates especially if you’re taking hand luggage only. It’s the cheater’s way of ensuring you can fit everything you need into a single carry-on bag. Lighter clothes. Thinner shoes. Less stuff in general.

What you pack always depends on the season, what areas you'll visit, and the activities you plan on doing, of course, but it’s also worth paying attention to the dress code of the local area. Italians, I’ve heard, are similar to the French in the sense that they like to dress simple yet stylish, which suits me just fine. Knowing what the locals are likely to be wearing and avoiding any cultural (and style) faux pas means you’ll avoid looking too much like a tourist.

While my basic necessities rarely change; when it comes to clothing and beauty items I like to create a travel wardrobe capsule based around what I’m going to be doing and what the weather will be like. In Matera, I plan on doing a lot of wandering the pretty streets with my camera, visiting art galleries, museums, and crypts, eating good food and enjoying the sunshine. Therefore I want to be comfortable but stylish so I opted for maxi dresses and skirts with tops that can be layered. I’ve learned from past mistakes that even when I’m traveling I hate feeling restricted by my wardrobe or limited to only a couple of options. Having a versatile travel capsule is important to me so I like to spend a little extra time planning core outfits to get the most out of my carry-on capsule. Everything I picked for my break in Italy can work together in multiple combinations and although the clothes are comfortably loose, each outfit looks put-together with minimal effort.

A Carry-On Only Packing List For Italy

My Complete Packing List For Italy


MUJI Maxi Dress
MUJI Midi Dress
JD Williams Linen Dress
Vintage Maxi Skirt
Only Child Box Crop Top
Vinage Polka Dot Shirt
Everlane Striped Tee
Farnol Everyday Jacket


Vintage Sun Hat
Limpet Handbag


Washable Cotton Pad
Crystal Deodorant
Eye Shadow
Blush and Highlighter
Lip Balm and Tint
Make-Up Brushes
Hair Brush and Comb
Hair Stick and Ties
Contact Lenses


Kobo eReader
Camera and Charger
Phone and Charger
Purse and Cards
Water Bottle

Would a carry-on be enough for your travels?
Let me know in the comments!