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.

From left to right: Michael Kors slip-ons I found at TJ Maxx, Old Navy flats that desperately need replaced, Adidas sneakers, and Merrell hiking shoes that my mom gave me to use.

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?

Columbia hiking pants, comfy jeans, leggings, running tights, Nike yoga pants, and skinny jeans

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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