Travelling with only hand luggage – what to pack?

travelling light with hand luggage

what makeup I use travelling

On our next trip, we’re travelling with just hand luggage. Just ten kilos, each. Travelling light is something new to us and it’s definitely a challenge. Especially since we’re travelling for two weeks and we are hitting two very different destinations: the tropical Martinique island on the Caribbean and the lovely city of Paris

The ridiculousness of packing a bunch of stuff for trips hit me on our last holiday. We were travelling to Amsterdam and I was carrying my bags. I was stressed and worried. Are my bags too heavy? Did I remember to pack everything? 

And then it hit me – I’m allowed to bring 30 kilos of stuff with me and I’m still worried it’s not enough. That is crazy! Think about it: you are taking 30 kilos of stuff with you. Do you really need all that?

I like to believe I don’t. Which is why I’m excited that we’re travelling light and smart – with nothing more than hand luggage.

Travelling with only hand luggage

One of the most important things when travelling light, is to have a good hand-sized luggage. It helps, that it’s very lightweight yet sturdy. My luggage is from Delsey and it’s very handy and lightweight.

It’s also important to choose a hotel or an apartment, where you can wash your clothes. That was one of the criteria for our airbnb as well: it needed to have a washer. That way you can use the same clothes all over again – because let’s face it – that is one of the key things in managing a light luggage.


Pack clothes that can be paired together. Clothes that you can mix and match, so that you’re not stuck with the same outfit every day. It’s also important to pack clothes that you love and like to wear. I packed a lot of black clothes, mainly because it’s convenient, but also because I wear a lot of black anyway. I did however choose a few ‘statement pieces’ so that I can play a bit with my outfits.

Think about the weather, what activities you are planning to do and pack accordingly. For example: I plan on exercising, hiking, swimming and going out on a dinner. So I packed sportswear, bikinis & something fancier for dinners. Since I’m going to a beach holiday and to Paris, I packed some casual light clothes, but mainly citywear, since I’m spending most of the time in Paris.

Try not to think of packing less clothes as an issue, but rather as an opportunity!  You don’t have to spend lots of time thinking about what you’ll be wearing and you can focus on your trip and exploring the new country or city instead.

travelling with just hand luggage


  • black jeans
  • fake leather pants
    – instead of jeans, statement piece
  • casual black pants
    – they’re comfortable for travelling, but also stylish for every day wear
  • black pencil skirt
    – fine for hot weather, also suits city life, can be paired with stockings if it’s colder
  • brown skirt
    – statement piece, for city style
  • shorts
    – very light, doesn’t take up much space, for hot weather


  • black t-shirt
    – my favorite t-shirt ever, goes with everything
  • black tank top
  • 2 x colorful tops
    – very light and they basically take up zero space, good for both hot and cool weather
  • 2 x long sleeved shirts
    – striped shirt + navy blue shirt
  • 2 x knits
    – light white knit + a warmer black knit
  • dress
    – for hot weather


  • sports bra
  • sports top
  • sports shorts
  • sports leggings


  • black ballerinas
  • black comfortable sneakers
  • five fingers for hiking or exercising


  • leather jacket
  • scarf
  • underwear for a week
  • socks for a week
  • stockings
  • bikinis

The amount of clothes I packed might seem like a lot, but most of the clothes are very light and they don’t take up much space. And I checked that it all fits in my suitcase & it doesn’t even weigh the full 10 kilos! However, I could pack even less. You could do with just two pants and one skirt. And less shirts.


Pack your cosmetics in small tubes and jars. You don’t necessarily have to buy travel sized cans – you can also make use of old products’ packaging. Try to pack multi-use products and keep your routine simple, but effective. You need to take care of your skin even abroad. If you need something extra, samples and sheet masks are awesome.

hand luggage travelling skincare


  • Evolve Beauty Shampoo travel size
  • Evolve Beauty Conditioner travel size
  • A face towel
    – removes makeup & also gently exfoliates my skin
  • Lavera Cleansing Balm
  • Mossa  Youth Defence Radiant Toner
    – in a yellow Kora Organics packaging
  • The body Shop Drops of Youth Serum
    – couldn’t travel without this magic potion! It’s the best skincare product ever, especially since I know my skin can act up during travelling. Read my post on it here
  • Loccitane Aqua Reotier Gel moisturizer
    – I’ll take this in a small jar. Post about the product here
  • Argan oil for face
    – In a similar small jar
  • Filorga Time-Filler Eye cream
    – new product, but since it’s a sample size it’s perfect for travelling
  • Evolve Beauty Fresh Cotton Deodorant Cream
    – Obviously I’ll need my deodorant, I’ll take some of it in a small jar. I wrote about this awesome deodorant here
  • Rituals The Ritual of Dao Bed & Body Mist
    – I love this scent
  • Eucerin mattifying fluid SPF 30
    – I couldn’t travel without my own sunscreen for face. This sunscreen is ligthweight, easily absorbed and just the best really. More great sunscreens for oily skin here

the body shop drops of youth travel size

  • Garnier after sun face sheet mask
    – sheet masks and small samples are perfect for travelling
  • TonyMoly Eye patch
  • Optiat Men’s Exfoliating Face Mask
    – if I get desperate I can make myself a mask by mixing this powder with water
  • Toothbrush
    – I know a manual toothbrush would be lighter and would take less space
  • Dental floss thingy
  • Toothpaste
    – or we’ll buy a travel size from the airport

Gifted: sheet masks


travel makeup

  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Light
  • Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Mac Mineralize Skinfinish, Soft & Gentle
    – not the smartest packaging for travel, but I did so good with packaging my sister said I could take my favorite highlighter with me
  • Z-palette with IsaDora bronzer, blush & Benefit’s Hoola bronzer
    – depotting & Z-palettes come in handy when travelling, check out my post about depotting here
  • Jane Iredale PurePressed Powder Blush, Flawless
    – the perfect everyday nude blush in a very light packaging
  • mad4eyebrow Natural Eyebrow Filler, Blond
    – my go-to brow product,  read my post on it here
  • KICKS Marble Collection Eyeshadow Palette
    – this is basically the perfect palette to travel with, since it’s so light
  • Bobbi Brown Smokey Eyes Mascara travel size
  • Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, Rose
    – my go-to lip product possibly
  • IsaDora Perfect Matt Lipstick, Red Carpet
    – the best red lipstick there is
  • Alima Pure black eye pencil
  • KICKS Eye Pencil, Rose Gold
    – pencils are light and handy to take with you when travelling
  • Zuii Organic Lip Pencil, Spice
  • Hurraw! lip balm
    – been using Hurraw’s lip balms for years now
  • Powdered paper
    – this will be my powder for now, but I actually need to buy a powder from Sephora
  • False lashes + small Eylure lash glue

Gifted: Foundation, KICKS products, Bobbi Brown mascara


  • Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
    – my go-to makeup sponge, read my post here
  • Benefit Hoola Bronzer Brush
  • KICKS Highlighting Brush
  • Ecotools Brow Brush
  • Rose gold blush brush & eyeshadow brush (unbranded)
  • Zoeva Eyeshadow Brushes 231, 225 & 221
    -my go to brushes, post here
  • Coastal Scents small eyeshadow brush & spooly
  • Sigma E47, E56 & E65 travel sized brushes


  • a handbag
    – I’ll probably wear it on me, but it fits in the suitcase if necessary
  • medicine
  • Kindle E-reader*
    – I always read with kindle, it’s honestly the best, my review on it here
  • Cocoon Eye Shades Deluxe*
    – sleeping mask is a must! These are so soft and they block light perfectly
  • phone & a charger
  • other personal stuff you might need
travelling light with hand luggage
It all fits!

And there’s that – let’s hope I didn’t forget anything. I’ll probably be even more thorough once it’s the real deal, but this trial run did help me massively. Paris and Martinique – I’m ready for you!

What do you think about travelling and packing? Could you manage with just hand luggage?

Being gluten-free & vegetarian in Amsterdam

gluten free restaurants amsterdam

gluten free vegetarian tips amsterdam

I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I mostly eat gluten-free food. (And no, it’s not because it’s so trendy right now.) I’m also a vegetarian, which, luckily, is not usually a problem. But combine those two, and it’s sometimes frustrating to find restaurants and cafes suitable for my diet.

It can also be hard, when you’re travelling. And let me tell you, that that is a bit of a struggle in a food-heaven place such as Amsterdam. Luckily I did manage to find some restaurants and cafes serving gluten-free food and I have my tips on the stores, that sell gluten-free options.  So I will give my tips on food that is both gluten-free and vegetarian – that also suits people, who are not vegetarian or gluten-free (such as, my man). Complicated? Life is.

I’ll also tell you, where I had the best gin & tonic of my life. There might have been a moment, where me and Risto sat at the bar, and the bartender went like: “Weren’t you here just yesterday?” Erm, yes. Gotta make the most out of the short holiday in the city serving the best gin & tonics.

Gluten-free + vegetarian restaurants, coffees & shops in Amsterdam

gluten free bagels beans amsterdam

Bagels & Beans
There are several of these in Amsterdam, but the place we went to was on Overtoom. We had breakfeast and brunch, and everything we tried there was delicious: bagels, juices, coffees & desserts. My favorite food there was probably tapas for 2, where you get two bagels and all the different sauces and foods that go with them. Coffee there is good, and it can be made with soy or oat, if that’s your preference (I always drink my coffee with either one). And obviously there were gluten free bagels and food – and both vegetarian, vegan and meat options.

Salsa Shop
I love mexican food. Again, there are several Salsa shops in Amsterdam, and the one we ordered from was on Kinkerstraat. They serve corn tacos, bowls and salads (and burritos). I’ve had the bowl before, but this time I had vegetarian tacos and they were delicious. Can recommend!

We only ate here once, but I wish I could have tried more foods from the menu. Because food was awesome. There’s something for everyone, and they’ve even made finding gluten-free options easy with their gluten-free menu. There are many wagamama restaurants in Amsterdam and actually in 23 different countries (please come to Finland as well!).

Everyone knows Foodhallen – it’s a big hall with lots of different stands serving all kinds of foods. The one place I need to mention though, is Bulls & Dogs, that serves gluten-free & vegetarian not-a-hot-dog – besides the regular options, that made Risto very happy.

gin tonic bar amsterdam

+The gin & tonic bar in Foodhallen
This place deserves it’s own spot in this listing. I had the best gin & tonics of my life here. It’s a gin & tonic bar (duh) and there are several options of them. My favorite drinks were floral gin & tonics. My pro tip would be to start your foodhallen journey here – the big drinks somehow make you relaxed and choosing a food afterwards is easy.

Restaurants we didn’t try, but that were on my list:

Mastino V
I definitely need to try this place the next time we go. They serve gluten-free pizza with vegetarian and even vegan options. There aren’t many places in Amsterdam serving gluten-free pizzas (correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t find any), so this is pretty awesome.

Pancakes Amsterdam
I think pancakes are pretty vital in Amsterdam and luckily there is a place serving gluten-free pancakes as well. Again, there are several of these shops in Amsterdam.

Grocery stores:

This grocery store had lots of organic and gluten-free options – definitely more, than the regular store. So if you’re staying in an airbnb and cooking your own food, you should definitely shop here!

My favorite grocery store in Amsterdam. They have fresh salads, tapas and other easy food to buy, if you don’t feel like cooking or finding a restaurant that serves food to you. I bough a delicious salad, that had for example beans and feta in it, so it was definitely not boring.

If you have some more food tips for this list, let me know.


If you’re interested to know what else (besides food) I was up to in Amsterdam, I will just tell you in a nutshell. Maybe you can even get some ideas for your own trip.

We spent some time with our friends & their kids
They are the main reason we travel to Amsterdam in the first place. Such a loving family with sweet kids.

We attended a wedding
Or our friends’ “take two”, on their 10th wedding anniversary. The venue was gorgeous and the whole evening was fun. We also got to know some new amazing people.

We went to a canal cruise
I’ve always wanted to experience Amsterdam from the canals, and it was nice. We had our own private boat rented, since it was part of the wedding celebrations.

We walked a lot
One of my favorite things to do in Amsterdam is to just walk around. It is just so beautiful everywhere (and only slightly scary with the traffic & bikes).

We spent an entire day shopping
We don’t go shopping that often, but when we do, we do it properly. We love Mc Arthur Glen outlets, and we always visit them, when we travel and there’s one close by. These outlets are like small villages, and they carry some really nice brands – and always cheaper, than in a regular store. We rented a car and drove to Mc Arthur Glen Outlet in Roermond, which is about two hours drive from Amsterdam.

We visited some of my favorite shops
Besides the shopping day, I had to visit Rituals and River Island. Those are by far my favorite shops in Amsterdam.

We saw the pride parade – or some parts of it
To be perfectly honest here, we slept the entire day and then took a walk in the centre later in the evening. And let me tell you, pride is BIG in Amsterdam. And colorful. And noisy. And messy.

We stayed in an airbnb
Renting an airbnb is the best way to get a proper feel of the city. We had rented a beautiful loft, so that itself already made the trip feel very special.

air bnb loft

I shared some snaps from the trip on my Instagram and made a new highlight on my profile, so if you want to see that, follow @charlottaeve.

Even though travelling is nice and our trip was fun, it feels nice to be home and get back to normal life for a while. And in October, the world calls for us again.