when we were planning our first-ever trip to europe last summer, the graphic designer sister of our duo mentioned her lofty goal of fitting everything she needed for the two-week long trek into a carry on. the fashion girl sister laughed, “okay, have fun with that, I’ll see you at LAX with my 5 checked bags.” however, as 14 days of international planes and trains approached, the idea of lugging gigantic suitcases and paying baggage fees on four flights started to sound less and less appealing. so, yes, a fashion girl did the unthinkable — took her pragmatic sister’s advice and packed two weeks’ worth of clothing and toiletries into a fucking carry on. even now, it gives us the chills to think of it.

if this clothing-hoarding girl can do it, you can certainly do it too with the summer travel tips we’ve chosen to impart here today. here are the essential pieces you’re going to need:

2 to 3 of these are key. they’re comfortable and versatile — re-accesorize when you wear them again later in the trip for a totally new look.

whatever fabrication you choose, we suggest bringing along a couple pairs of black shorts, rather than a light washed denim. black can be dressed up and down, while denim is — well, just denim. pair with a muscle tee and sneakers for a comfortable day of walking and wear them at night with a dressier shoe.

you can get by with three pairs of shoes, if you plan carefully enough — yes, seriously. 1) flat booties: they’re comfortable, keep your feet clean (who knows what the hell is lurking on those often dirty, well-traveled streets), and are a little dressier than a sneaker. 2) fashionable sneaker: listen up, you americans: a comfortable sneaker does not have to be ugly. these are perfect for preventing you from looking like an asshole tourist on days that will involve a lot of walking to see the sights. 3) dressy flats or loafers: perfect for evenings and nice meals out. choose a versatile color or pattern that will allow you to pair them with any outfit.

these are comfortable and breathable, which is crucial when you’re walking around in the sweltering heat. all we can say is that we were thanking the lawd for muscle tanks in 90 degree italian weather.

a faux leather moto jacket can be paired with everything from evening skirts to cocktail dresses to denim shorts, and it looks appropriate with all of them — we don’t understand it, we just embrace it. we suggest a jacket in a cropped cut or a basic black blazer as the one jacket to bring along for your summer travels.

ok, now that you’ve got your key pieces — here’s where the magic comes in. to allow room for pajamas, toiletries, and any other absolute necessities in your carry on, you’re gonna roll these bitches. lay out any lightweight, cotton items, one on top of the other: tanks, dresses, &/or shorts. start from the top and roll them as one down to the bottom. for a better, more visual take on how you go about this, check out purewow’s video on rolling as a luggage space saver.

additionally, if you are traveling for two weeks and upwards, you can really maximize your space by packing a travel-sized laundry detergent. halfway through your trip, wash your worn clothes in your hotel room sink with the detergent, and re-wear: if you are concerned about wearing the same outfit in your photos (not that WE were that vain — but, uh, maybe we were), be sure to re-accessorize. tanks can be worn over dresses, a statement necklace can change the outfit entirely, or swap out your booties for your dressy flats.

now, go have fun and travel lightly! any remaining summer travel packing questions? feel free to leave them in the comments.