Packing a carry-on for a trip may not seem like much at first glance. That “no-brainer” aspect of your journey, however, is actually crucial to its success. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll go through some basic pointers that are relevant no matter the sort of luggage you’re taking with you, as well as my best packing advice for carry-on bags. We’ll walk you through how to pack your carry-on for a week or so, whether you’re a backpacker or a suitcase enthusiast. You’ll also discover a list of must-have items that you might want to include in your luggage.

General Rules for Packing

If you want to avoid packing unnecessary items, follow these guidelines whether you’re using a suitcase or backpack.

Bigger isn’t always better–choose the size of your backpack carefully. You may think that the larger, the better because you’ll be able to bring more stuff.

However, halfway through your journey when you realize how heavy the load is and have no other choice but to keep going, you might revisit that decision!

Choose wisely what goes in your bag: only pack essential items that are small and light.

Keep in mind that your airline probably has a luggage allowance for carry-on items: make sure to check the maximum size and weight. Although it might seem like a restriction, take it as an opportunity to bring only what is necessary. My 40 liters backpack does the job really well, whether I’m leaving for 2 days or 2 weeks. In short: you don’t want to overpack—it’s one of the worst mistakes you can make while traveling.

Pack Less Clothing – You’ll Be Thankful

It’s okay to be a little dirty

Make a packing list of all the items you think you need, and then halve it. You probably won’t need everything you originally thought. And this tip isn’t just reserved for those who are French–it’s perfectly okay to wear the same shirt or even underwear more than once on your trip! It will be our little secret.

A great way to determine which clothes you should leave behind on your trip is to imagine how many new outfits you could make by mixing and matching the items you’re considering packing. This will help give you a sense of whether or not bringing certain pieces along will be worth it in the long run

For instance, go for rather neutral colors like black or gray and a couple of more colorful items. Forget clothes you would wear only once during your trip. Plus, it will be less obvious that you’ve been recycling your clothes on the pictures you will take!

Be smart

Be mindful that depending on the type of trip, accessing a washing machine or even an easier way to clean your clothes might be complicated. Therefore, don’t pack brand-new clothes– instead bring some items that can handle being worn more than once.

A helpful suggestion: try packing fewer clothes and buying some once you’re at your destination, especially if it’s a cheaper country! Not only will this help you avoid looking like a tourist, but these items can also double as souvenirs after your trip! Just make sure to leave some extra space in your luggage (it’ll be worth it).

The 1:6 ratio

  • The classic one is the one I bet you can’t stop thinking about after reading all of this. Wherever you go, follow the Lifehacker rule and bring only one item of luggage (whether it’s a backpack or a suitcase). Bring: 1 hat 2 pairs of shoes 3 pants 4 shirts 5 pairs of socks 6 pairs of underwear.

How To Save Space

Do you remember your summer job at the clothing store? The one where they taught how to fold clothes so they looked presentable for customers? Well, forget about folding altogether. Instead, roll your clothes. It’s by far the most popular space-saving technique for a reason: it conserves space. And if you’re unsure of how to do this effectively, simply look up “army roll.”

Invest in a couple of compression bags- you won’t regret it. Not only do they save space, but they also protect your belongings in case of a leak. According to Backpacker, puffy items such as sleeping bags can be easily slimmed down with the help of compression bags.

When packing your backpack, firmly push down on all of your items so that they fit snugly and take up as little room as possible. This will not only make carrying your backpack more comfortable, but it will also leave you with more space for other things. When packing Tetris style, every small empty space should be filled- leaving no gaps. A great way to utilize shoe space is by stuffing socks inside them.

Packing A Carry-On Backpack

Using a backpack as a carry-on is far more convenient than lugging a suitcase because you don’t have to roll it and you may still move around while doing so. It’s usually a good idea to pack a carry-on bag for one week. Don’t try to go longer than that, since your one-week strategy will be plenty enough. I’m telling you this from experience.

Comfort Over Fashion

If you’re only bringing a backpack with you on your trip, I’m assuming that you plan on moving around to different places and not staying stationary for an prolonged period of time. In that case, comfort should be prioritized over style, especially when selecting shoes. Wear your comfortable (and usually larger) shoes and pack a nicer pair if you feel the need to bring one along.

Keep everything you’ll need at the airport within reach as a general guideline. That includes your travel documents and digital gadgets, both of which will have to be screened in the security line. These airport hints can also make your trip more convenient.

It might not seem like much, but a little bit of balance can make a significant difference in terms of comfort. If you don’t pay attention to your equilibrium, even though it may not be apparent immediately, you’ll suffer from back pain when you remove your backpack.

With a little practice, you’ll be an expert in no time at packing a carry-on for a weeklong trip! Though it may take some trial and error to find your perfect organization system, once you do, the process will become second nature. So have fun with it and enjoy the journey!