2 Weeks in Scotland with a Carry-On

I think packing is so stressful. Whether it's packing to move, packing for a weekend, or packing for a couple weeks in another country, I'm always guilty of overpacking or packing the wrong things.

So when the committee told me I could only bring a carry-on for two weeks in Scotland, I had a mild freakout. (I'll explain why there's a committee for this trip in another post - this trip is an exchange program that my fiancé's town has with its sister city, Oban, in Scotland.)

But I did it!


I read several blog posts from other travelers to get some tips. One of the best tips was to choose a color scheme and pack mix-and-match articles of clothing.

Most of my outfits are focused around an infinity scarf I got at Target for the trip, so maroons, pinks, purples, tans, and teals.


For weeks I've been laying out clothes on my guest bed to get a visual of what I wanted to take.

I was only planning on taking three pairs of shoes, but I couldn't leave the slip-ons behind. What if I need shoes that are less casual than sneakers but more casual than the black flats?

I'm sure I don't need all these pants, but I couldn't decide what to leave. I bought the left pair of Columbia hiking pants for the trip, but I'm thinking about leaving them behind since I have the long, black running tights. Those work for hiking, right?

The Nike pants are my favorite because they're so comfortable. And I get so much grief from my sister, and now my fiancé, for wearing them. I think they're both just jealous. I'm sure my sister will laugh when she sees that these pants are going with me 🙂

We were asked to pack one "dressier" outfit for two events – a luncheon with the Rotary Club in Oban, and a Ceilidh (pronounced kaylee) which sounds like a party with traditional Scottish dancing and music. So excited for that event! I was only planning on taking one outfit for both events, but I managed to have enough room to also pack the blue and white polka dot tunic in the second pic below. I really should leave one home…

From looking at the itinerary, I think we're going to be doing a lot of hiking, so I wanted some layers to keep me warm – the weather forecast is high 50s and low 60s with, you guessed it, RAIN.

A couple different tops that can stand alone or be layered under jackets and my raincoat.

A few layers, including a North Face raincoat I picked up at the Charleston outlet for only $40. It's already been the best investment because it worked really well when I was in Boston a couple weekends ago where it rained almost the entire time. The first and third tops are Calia by Carrie Underwood that I scored from the clearance racks at Dick's Sporting Goods. So cozy!

I wasn't planning on using these compression bags, but the layers in the previous pic were a little too puffy to fit well in my bag. I was super impressed at how flat these bags got, and they fit perfectly on the top of all my other clothing and shoes. Everything else I rolled and some of the smaller tanks fit nicely in small holes!


Ta da! I even managed to squeeze a pair of pjs (that I almost forgot!) into that small hole on the right 😊

My personal item is the weekender bag from Vera Bradley that I got (on sale for 50% off!)specifically for this trip. Technically the measurements are a little too big for a personal item, but I'm hoping since it's cloth that I can stuff it easily under the seat. I have it loaded down with some books, my camera, my rain jacket, A LOT of protein and Clif bars, gummi worms (duh), and my small purse. And there's still a ton of room in it.

Did I mention I'm in charge of getting twelve high schoolers over there? Yikes.

Any suggestions for what to do in Scotland, Oban specifically? I would love food suggestions! And suggestions for packing with souvenirs on the way back!

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