10 days is such a perfect length for a trip - it's not so long that you feel like you've been gone forever, and it's not so short that you can't completely disconnect from the humdrum of your life.
But 10 days is a long time that creates a need for a lot of clothing, accessories and health and beauty items to pack along. Can you do it without having to check a bag?
My answer is a qualified "yes." But know that you won't be taking your cutest bag and rolling into the hotel looking like a movie star. More than likely, you'll look slightly more like a college student of an advanced age that doesn't own matching luggage, but if it gets you there, that's what matters. For 10 days, here are the 10 commandments of long-trip packing.
1. Pack your purse, ladies.
I don't know who invented the concept that women had to have purses and men only needed a billfold and their pockets, but it's something that's stuck with us. When packing for 10 days on the road I take my favorite big bag which is a shopper style. It folds and smashes down, but it's a perfect size to fit my iPad, wallet, cell phones and everything else I have to have with me when I'm out and about. If you can get away with less, do.
2. Your luggage is simple: Use a standard, carry-on roller bag and a backpack.
For your roller bag, get something like Travelpro Maxlite 22" Expandable Rollaboard Carry-on. For the backpack, something like SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack will do. Your backpack will have your laptop, iPad, wallet, and any clothing that will never see the light of day, like pajamas and foundation wear, that can be totally smashed, balled up and squished into unimaginable corners. In your roller bag, you'll literally fold your clothing in half and roll it up into a tube. It's been my experience I can fit more clothing in bags using this method.
3. You won't take any more make up than you can fit into a quart-sized plastic zipper bag, just like the one you'll use for your liquids. These two items will also be unceremoniously crammed into your backpack.
4. You will take a small brush and a comb or pick. You will not pack your 3" boar bristle roller.
5. You won't take more than one hair styling tool. Hotels have hair dryers.
6. You won't take toiletries you don't need. Buy sunblock when you get there. Leave your shampoo at home and use what they have at the hotel.
7. Build your wardrobe on your two slimmest pair of shoes. My recommendation is to take a pair each of black and brown shoes, and choose a great pair that you'll wear when you fly in case you need to run through airports.
8. If you're headed to cooler climates, take shirts you can layer together in multiple ways, and wear a jacket on the plane that you can put with anything in your wardrobe.
9. Take 3 pairs of wrinkle-free pants that you can wear twice. It's not optimal, but you will have 2 days of your trip where you'll be on planes. Dressing to the 9's is not required.
10. As a last resort, pay for the hotel's laundry service or choose a hotel that has guest laundry units (if you really want to do laundry).
Don't get stuck with baggage fees. Plan your packing. Safe travels!