pack your carry on

My carry bag, bags with allocated contents.

If you are looking to pack your carry on with ease, here is my advice.

In the past three years, I have traveled a lot (like a lot, a lot).  This month, for example, I will probably take about twenty or so flights (I lose count after nine or ten).  Because of this, I consider myself to be one of the best packers in the world.  In addition to my own travel, I have also packed more than my share of clients  before they bon voyage to somewhere, either work or travel.  In this day and age, being an efficient packer for airline travel isn’t just important, it’s crucial.  Who would ever think that a liquid over 4 oz., or shoes with something as simple as laces, could make or break the ease of how quickly you will get through security.

While I have some simple tips for the luggage you check, I want to concentrate this entry on how pack your carry on.  These days, checked luggage is for suckers anyway.  Everyone tries their darndest to never check a bag, and who can blame them?  If you don’t have to check luggage, don’t.  Yet, if you are going to avoid the baggage carousel apres flight, here are a few simple tips from me on how to do it right.  For your own sake, and for the sake of your fellow travelers (like me) who may get pissy with you because you don’t know how to breeze on through the TSA, heed my advice:

Carry Small Bags in Your Carry On

If you’re a woman, in addition to your roller suitcase, you probably also will be carrying some sort of hand/tote bag.  Keeping this bag organized is crucial as you will want to find things quickly and efficiently.  My most important rule of thumb is to always carry small bags inside of your larger bag that make it quick and easy for you to find things.  As you can see from the photo above in this post, I have multiple small bags that easily slip inside my larger bag but still leaves plenty of room for things like my laptop, travel scarf for cold flights, and more.  The important thing to do with these smaller bags is to allocate each smaller bag to a specific task, and then don’t change it up so you never forget each bag’s function.  So, for example, in one bag I’ll keep my things like my cell phone charger, sunglasses, inflatable neck pillow, tissues and other things that I could label as “for convenience.”  The next small bag I allocate for things for maintenance, like medication or things like handi wipes, cough drops, etc.  The last small bag I keep to contain my cell phone, receipts, loose change and small bills, lipstick and things I grab frequently and may need to use urgently.  I also treat this small bag like as a receptacle for the spare change and receipts I get while juggling a Venti coffee at Starbucks or a cab receipt I don’t want to lose.  This little bag, that is more like a catch-all in a pinch, should always be brightly colored and quick to find.  If you don’t have something like this, these important items you may need later or quickly will just fall to the bottom of your larger bag, never to be heard from again.  Keeping the cell phone inside of this smaller bag is important because, when it is ringing, locating it in the smaller bag is a lot easier than rummaging around for it at the bottom of your purse.

Pack Your Carry On Ziploc Bag Smartly

Lastly, you will need your 4 oz. or less quart sized bag for your liquid items.  To me, this is always the greatest challenge.  How do you fit everything liquid into that small little bag?  My trick is to find powder equivalent of everything I use.  For example, I use Bare Minerals makeup that is non-liquid, and carry handi-wipes instead of hand sanitizer.  For face cleanser, I may use Dove soap pads, or a cleansing cloth, that get soapy when you run them under water.  While it may not be my first choice for cleansing, these items save tons of room for other liquid items in that teensy-weensy quart-sized Ziploc bag., such as my moisturizer, lip gloss, under eye cream, toothpaste, hand cream and other things that I can’t get in non-liquid form.  Keep this Ziploc bag with your liquid goodies in your more accessible tote bag, not your zipper roller suitcase which would require you to unzip your suitcase and then rummage to find, a total time suck.  Keep this bag in a smaller pocket of your hand/tote bag, making it easier to grab it when throwing in on the security belt for scanning.

While some of these tips may seem so “duh” obvious, I am now completing my third week of pretty straight travel and it baffles me how inefficiently most of us pack.  Sometimes the simplest of measures and changes can be the difference between smooth or turbulent travel.

Happy Travels!