Assuming you’re not traveling by steamship with a trunk full of your life’s possessions, you probably want to pare down and fit all the essentials into a carry-on bag.
Before you begin, make a checklist of what you really need to bring. Travel site OneBag has a helpful list of everything you could possibly fit into a carry-on, but they err on the detailed side. Most short trips won’t require all the stuff they outline.
Once you’ve determined what you’re going to bring, you’ve got to figure out how to pack it. Here are five different packing methods (with links to more detailed info).
1. Roll it up. The New York Times has a photo slideshow documenting how flight attendant Heather Poole packs a carry-on bag for a 10-day trip. Her secret? Rolling clothes tightly, setting them aside, and then stacking layers from heavy to light.
2. The pillowcase technique. We like to pack a pillowcase when we’re traveling, since it takes up minimal space but works well as a way to separate clean clothes from dirty ones inside your suitcase.