There’s a technique to packing a carry-on bag, especially if it is the only bag you’re bringing with you. You should be able to balance the airline requirements, while making sure you have everything you need throughout the trip.

To help you avoid the pitfalls of airport luggage problems and overpacking, here are some practical tips to keep in mind when packing your carry-on bag.

Pack by Planning Around Your Shoes
Your shoes take up most of the space of your suitcase. A good rule of thumb is to bring a pair of flip flops or sandals and a pair of versatile flats that can be dressed up or down. Once you stored them securely at the bottom of the suitcase, fold your shirts and jeans and then roll them up, placing them next to each other. Lastly, your underwear will go in small empty spaces and pockets of the bag.

Use Packing Cubes
Compartments of different sizes will help avoid instances like “where will I put this cover-up?” “Where did I put my bikini?” or “Why won’t this close?!” Zippered pouches will keep your things organized, and neatly packed. They fit in your carry-on luggage like puzzle pieces and keeping all your belongings easily accessible.

Always Bring a Swimsuit
Do we need to say more? You’re in a new place. Frolicking in the beach is part of the fun.

Go Back to Basics
One genius way to save space is to… pack less. If you are thinking of wearing something elaborate for your Instagram post, know that it’s just impractical. It will only weigh down your carry-on and probably pay for more when you’re asked to check it in. In general, stick to basics—plain shirts, basic denim jeans you can re-wear multiple times, a casual dress and a versatile pair of footwear.

If It Doesn’t Fit In the Bag, Wear It
If no matter how much you try to go basic and things still won’t fit in your carry-on, be prepared to layer up! Wear your heaviest shoes, your coat or anything that would take up so much space in your suitcase. Airports and planes are notoriously cold, so it won’t matter if you’re wearing bulky clothes.

Pack a First Aid Kit
If you’re flying more than four hours, make the effort to pack some medicines with you in case of bodily mishaps. In your medicine kit, pack everything from Paracetamol for headaches to your maintenance pills and meds, if you have any. Also, you would want to bring an airplane kit that has eye mask, earplugs and some motion sickness tablets.

Cramming everything up in a carry-on luggage isn’t easy, but always worth the effort. Bringing only one bag makes travelling easier as it gives you more flexibility to change flight or route on a whim without worrying about checked in luggage.

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