How To Pack Your Life Into a Carry-on

I remember the first time I went backpacking to Vietnam in 2004, I bought a 45L backpack and my goal was to carry as less as possible. I knew that Vietnam will be way cheaper than Europe and that it won't be a problem for me to find clothes anywhere. At that time, I did not own a laptop, I did not have a phone (smart phone did not even exist yet) nor drones and traveling light was quite easy. Nowadays, traveling and working remotely as also become a business for a lots of people, and packing your life into a carry-on could be harder than we think.

I remember the first time I went backpacking to Vietnam in 2004, I bought a 45L backpack and my goal was to carry as less as possible. I knew that Vietnam will be way cheaper than Europe and that it won’t be a problem for me to find clothes anywhere. At that time, I did not own a laptop, I did not have a phone (smart phone did not even exist yet) nor drones and traveling light was quite easy. Nowadays, traveling and working remotely as also become a business for a lots of people, and packing your life into a carry-on could be harder than we think.

HERE A FEW QUICK & DIRTY TRICKS TO MASTERING THE ART OF PACKING YOUR LIFE INTO A CARRY-ON.

1. USE COMPRESSION BAGS OR ZIPLOC BAGS.

If you find that you are still running out of room, consider using some Ziploc bags or compression bags to shrink your clothing. I have been using then while cycling touring and trust me the last thing that you want while bikepacking is to carry extra weight for noting. Simply roll  up to squeeze out the excess air. The bonus to packing Ziploc bags is you can also separate the dirty clothing from the clean as you wear them. (Sometimes) My Ziploc bags come in handy every trip.

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2. CHECK WITH YOUR TRAVEL PARTNER/WIFE

I am quite sure at 100% that your partner/wife may carry “a little bit more” stuff that you do & probably will end up asking you to take it with you. It happen to me all the time, but it could also be a way to organize your backpack better – For example: You can put both raining jacket on the top of one bag so when it rain you wont have to dig into two different carrier and it will be more accessible.

I am quite sure at 100% that your partner/wife may carry "a little bit more" stuff that you do & probably will end up asking you to take it with you. It happen to me all the time, but it could also be a way to organize your backpack better - For example: You can put both raining jacket on the top of one bag so when it rain you wont have to dig into two different carrier and it will be more accessible.
3. PLAN YOUR OUTFITS BEFORE YOU PACK.

It will always depend on what adventure you are going to or the length of your holiday trip. Example: For a 5 days trip in Thailand (from Malaysia), we will bring:

For meFor my wife
3 x T-shirt5 x tank
3 x Tank t-shirt6 x dress
1 x jean short1 x short
1 x Boarder short5 x bikini
1 x rain Jacket1 x rain jacket
1 x long sleeves1 x long sleeves
1 x cap1 x hat
1 x pair of flip flop1 x flip-flop
1 x sunglasses1 x sunglasses
1 x light weight beach towel8 x underwear
4 x bra
2 x pareos
1 x hippy pants
4. CHECK YOURSELF.

Think about what you’re actually going to use, and pack those things first. Then check yourself. Do you really need 10 pairs of jeans, 10 t-shirt, 2 pairs of shoes… Bring only the stuffs that you are going to use and think about the stuffs that you are going to buy during your holidays.

Think about what you’re actually going to use, and pack those things first. Then check yourself. Do you really need 10 pairs of jeans, 10 t-shirt, 2 pairs of shoes... Bring only the stuffs that you are going to use and think about the stuffs that you are going to buy during your holidays.
5. ROLL IT UP.

Something that I have learnt while backpacking is to roll up all your clothing including underwear and socks.  Rolling up your clothing saves space! Who cares about wrinkles while backpacking anyways.

6. WEAR YOUR BIGGEST CLOTHES ON THE AIRPLANE.

I have done this countless times, especially if you are traveling with low cost airlines that charges you tones of money for extra luggage. Wear your biggest/bulkiest clothes on the airplane.  This not only keeps you comfy during your flight but it frees up a ton of space in your luggage. Whenever I want to bring a sweater and a jacket I wear it on the plane instead of packing it. Wear your largest shoes on the plane and leave your flip-flop in the backpack.

7. TRAVEL SIZE TOILETRIES.

Take advantage of all those fun sized travel goods since you can only carry 3 oz liquids in your carry-on. Most hostels provide shampoo and conditioner so I tend to just pack 2 travel size toothpaste, toothbrush and an eco soap. Be sure to pack them in a clear bag like a ziploc for the security check to avoid them searching your bag.

8. PERSONNAL ITEMS

Personal items is basically your second carry-on but “smaller”. It’s the item that fits under the seat in front of you, and for me it will be my camera gear that will include:

GearPrice
Sony A6000$548
Sony Shotgun Zoom$73.75
Gorilla tripod$50.27
Gopro hero 9$399
Extra batteries$36.99
Laptop$929
Camera gear backpack$89.95

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9. NEVER TRUST THE WEATHER – NEVER!

If you are planning to travel in South-East Asia for example the weather can be very unpredictable and even tho your smart phone is telling you that it is not going to rain today, there is a high chance that it will. Always bring a long sleeve with you and a rain jacket and if you forgot to bring one, you can always purchase a poncho for less than two dollars at the 7/11 in Thailand.

10. PUT YOUR LOOSE ITEMS AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR CARRY-ON.

My wife always put her loose items such as underwear and socks toward the bottom of your carry-on. This way in case TSA opens up your suitcase he isn’t flashing that sexy thong you packed to the rest of the airport.

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