Packing a carry-on properly is the key to having a stress-free travel. Things are so much simpler when everything you need is within reach – your glasses to read that book you’ve been dying to finish, your phone to check some e-mails, or a sweater to keep your body warm during the flight.

While carry-ons can make your life much easier, packing them is not always easy. There may be times that you’re so preoccupied with other stuff and you forget to bring some important items. I’m pretty sure you’ve experienced rummaging through your bag for that missing earring or mascara, only to remember you left it at home.

Don’t worry, we’re all guilty of packing bags at the last minute – especially during the holiday season. You’re not alone! To help you pack your carry-on the right way, I have compiled three different tips for organizing all your stuff while traveling.

Before I give you more details, here are a few of the things you should put in your bag right now so you don’t’ forget!

  • Wallet
  • ID
  • Flight documents
  • Gadgets (i.e. smartphone, laptop or tablet)
  • Accessories for gadgets (i.e. charger, headphone, etc.)
  • Toiletries and make-up
  • Extra clothing
  • Scarf or sweater for cold flights

Now that you have those things, it’s now time for the organizing part. Let me share with you my short and easy-to-follow tips for a great carry-on.

Sort your items using pouches or small bags.

You may be thinking, “How can I become organized if I use more things? Wouldn’t that add to clutter inside?” You can never have too many bags. I prefer using these bags that are made for traveling, but you can use anything you currently have- just remember that their purpose is to separate the contents of your carry-on bag. Put your gadgets and accessories in one bag, your extra clothing in another and your toiletries in another.  Sorting your items in this fashion will also enable you to quickly find whatever you’re looking for.

I have bags similar to these….

Stash what you don’t need at the bottom.

My second tip is this: put what you don’t need at the bottom. You will save more time if you arrange your things by how you need them. The ones you rarely use or do not need during the flight should stay at the bottom.

Items you will need to access right away should be packed last, so they will end up at the top and/or easy-access compartments. Examples of what you should place at the top include your ID, flight documents, eyeglass and ticket.

Pockets are not just designs – use them.

I’m sure you know people who don’t even think of using compartments in their carry-on bags. Some even go out of their way and buy bags without pockets because of how they look. Pockets are there for a reason! Small knick-knacks will surely fit on those pockets, so you can organize them into the bag.

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