Air travel has changed in the past several years, and it is more important than ever to know how to pack everything that you need for your trip into a carry-on bag. This skill will save you money on baggage fees, and it will also make you more mobile once you reach your destination. It is no fun to lug heavy baggage through an airport or to your hotel. Traveling light is the way to go! Here’s how.

1. Plan Ahead

You’ve probably had this thought before: “I’m not sure if I’ll need it, so I better pack it”. This mentality won’t work for carry-on packing. You need to know what your travel itinerary holds in store for you. Plan out an itinerary of events, and then list the items that you will need accordingly. Fancy dinner out? You’ll need a dressy outfit. Hiking with your conference buddies on your day off between events? You will need hiking shoes. Water park? Pack a bathing suit. But don’t simply pack formal-wear, active-wear, and beach-wear all because you’re not exactly sure what the trip entails. Get clear ahead of time.

2.Pack For One Week Only

If you are planning on being away for more than a week, you will need to do laundry at some point on your trip. Only pack for one week at a time. The exception to this rule is that if you have looked at your itinerary and noticed some activities for week two that require equipment or special clothing, you need to include that on your packing list.

Plan on wearing some items more than once. For example, a cover-up item like a sweater or sweatshirt can be worn on two separate occasions. Same goes with sleeping outfits.

3. Lay It All Out

Once you know that activities that you’ll be partaking in, and have created a packing list, the next step is to gather the items you will be packing. Lay your clothing out on your clean floor, bed, or other tidy surface. It will help you stay organized to see it all out in once place before going into the suitcase. This can also help you identify duplicates. For example, you may only need to pack one pair of jeans, or one pair of black pants. If you notice two when you lay things out, remove one.

4. Roll Don’t Fold

The best way to use the space in your carry-on bag is to roll your clothing items instead of folding them flat. Fold the item slightly at first. If it is a shirt, fold the sleeves inwards and then fold the shirt in half. Pants should be folded in half. Next, roll the item up into a tube-like shape. These tubes should be tucked into your bag one layer at a time. Tuck rolled items into the far corners of your bag first so that you maximize the space that you have available to you.

5. Purchase Travel-Sized Toiletries

The TSA has rules about liquids, so you need to be sure to pack only small amounts of items like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and toothpaste. Buy travel-sized toiletries and put them into one compact, see-through case or bag. A hard case is best because the items won’t burst or get squished and leak on your clothing. Make sure to get a case that is not too big, or else you will waste space.

6. Get Technical

Save space by utilizing tech devices for your travel needs. If you are a traveling entrepreneur, you’ll need your laptop, a private router , phone, and chargers with you when you travel. Pack all chords neatly into one small separate bag, which you will then load into your carry-on. Keeping things organized will save space. Don’t try to travel with books, journals, or notebooks. Instead, you can read your must-read books from your laptop through an app, like the Kindle Cloud App. Write with an online journal, and take notes with a program like Evernote. Old fashioned paper and pen aren’t necessary any more, and take up too much space.

7. Minimize

If your bag is too full, cut back on less expensive items. You can always buy, rent, or borrow things when you get to your destination! For example, if you can’t find space for packing enough tee shirts, consider buying a few while you travel. You can always give them to the people you are visiting when the trip is over, or donate them.

8. Wear Bulky Items

One final way to save space is to wear your bulky items into the airplane. This means that instead of wearing your ballet flats through the airport, you put on your boots and pack your flats. Wear your bulky sweatshirt or the windbreaker you know you’ll want but don’t have room for. While it might feel awkward at the airport, it will be worth it once you reach your travel destination.

Packing into a carry-on suitcase might feel like an impossible task at times, especially if you are leaving for an extensive trip. Only pack a week’s worth of outfits, and plan on doing laundry while you travel. Know your itinerary, so that you don’t pack for possible activities that never end up happening. Roll your clothes and wear the bulkier items. In this way, you’ll travel light, which saves you time and effort.

Saleh Stevens is a father to four beautiful children. He is passionate about studying the latest world trends, technology, and traveling the world as a freelance writer.

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