Instead of throwing everything into your suitcase and seeing what fits, use our packing tips to get organized and help maximize the most out of your carry-on.

Stash your valuables close at hand

Most airlines allow for a carry-on plus a personal item such as a handbag. Keep those special items such as prescriptions, valuables, money and other necessary travel documents close at hand when travelling. 

Overhead bin space is limited.

Due to limited space in the overhead bins, you might be that unlucky soul that has to hand their bag over to the flight attendants to check. If this happens, be prepared by packing your necessities in your personal item (i.e. toothbrush, keys, ID, comb, etc…)

Make a list – check it twice.

It’s a great idea to create a brief list of the items you would like to bring with you. Depending on the airline you’re flying with, familiarize yourself with their carry-on rules and size allowances. This will help you to know how much you can pack.

packing tips

Your bag will be weighed and sized

Ensure the weight in your carry-on is distributed evenly to avoid overweight fees. Again, read about the size and weight restrictions for your carry-on ahead of time. This will save you the hassle and money if you show up at the airport and learn you have to check your carry-on.

Arrange your outfits before you pack them

Packing can be stressful at times, especially when you’re sorting out your clothing options for the trip. Minimize that stress by simply choosing a colour theme for your trip and pack the pants, skirts and tops that match your chosen palette. A few wise choices will help you mix and match for reversible looks. And of course, accessorizing with different items can spruce up any outfit.

Roll instead of fold.

Rather than getting your best friend to sit on your suitcase as you try to zip up your bag, become a roller, not a folder. Tightly rolling your clothes will make your items more compact, meaning you can pack more in. Think about all that shopping you can do on your trip with all that additional space! 

packing tips

Shoes go first

Place all your shoes, boots, belts and heavier items at the bottom of your bag first. Shoes are the best compartments to put socks, belts, jewelry, or other loose items in as well.

Create your own pockets.

You can use tote bags or Ziploc bags to organize small, loose items like jewelry, chargers, underwear, etc…

You can’t bring it all

When you’re travelling with only a carry-on, it’s wise to leave a few “necessities” behind. Some hotel rooms already come furnished with hairdryers, shampoos, conditioners, etc… so it’s probably best to leave those items at home. If you’re a bookworm that travels quite frequently, think about investing in a tablet so that you can bring all your favourite reads, without the volume. 

packing tips

Avoid spills

Wrap your toiletries in tightly sealed bags to avoid any surprises. When travelling with just your carry-on, it’s important for you to review your airline’s allowances of all liquids, gels and aerosols so that nothing important gets left behind. 

Some things were just not meant to fly.

It is helpful for you to familiarize yourself with the guidelines in the prohibited and restriction section of your airline to understand what is permitted. This will prevent the painfully embarrassing bag dump of all your items when going through security.

Review that list once more.

Sometimes you just need to ask yourself: Do I really need six pairs of shoes for an overnight getaway? Do I really need to bring my soccer trophy from grade 2? Or my favourite stuffed animal? (No, no and no). Once you’ve packed all your items, take one last look and then take something out. This will make travelling lighter and easier.

Do you have any other packing tips? Share them with us in the comment section below!

Want to see more posts like this? Get your fix of news, shopping tips, sales and event information on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Sign up to be a StyleDemocracy Insider here