No Baggage: The Essential Carry-On Packing Guide

Getting away for the weekend is something that we all covet in our lives. Extended working hours, after-hours emails and big projects can make kicking back and relaxing a near impossibility, so when we finally get the chance to put our feet up and forget about the 9-5, it’s essential that we get it right. While getting your work-life balance measured to a T might not be on the horizon any time soon, there’s no reason that you can’t fly away from it all and live the life of leisure, for two days at least. With flights departing to practically every place in the world, you can hop off on a whim, going wherever the wind might take you.

The vision of freedom, at least for a weekend, is all well and good, but when it comes to mini-breaks, you probably want to be prepared. Images of fleeing the rat race with nothing more than your purse and a few spare pennies in hand might seem romantic, but when you arrive at your rainy holiday destination with nothing more than a spare pair of socks to your name, you might begrudge your earlier flippant attitude. Who wants to be that girl?

How many times have you sat down in your plane seat and realized, with horror, that you’ve forgotten your phone? Or your charger? We’ve all been there, and despite promises to never forget anything again, we’ve probably all been back there for a second time. Or a third. Hey, who’s counting? It turns out, though, that there is another way. All it takes is a little extra planning, some nifty packing and, hey-presto, you’ve got the carry-on of your dreams. Listening up? Let’s get going.

Make a list


Making a list is possibly the most important part of getting your carry-on right and making sure that nothing slips by your last minute checks. Noting the essentials a few days before will give you the time to cover all of your bases and add any extra forgotten items to the roster. While you might like to travel with a few personal extras, carrying these items will set you right:


Flight Documents






Valuables (any expensive jewelry pieces)

Wrap or Pashmina

Hand Sanitizer

Small Toiletries

Change of Clothes

If you’re traveling for longer and won’t be checking in extra baggage, add in a few extra changes of clothes, your camera and any extra reading or travel material that you might need. When you land, you can whip up your bag, head for the exit and follow your next adventure, no sweat.

Organize into pouches

We’ve all been that girl on the plane who, desperately searching for something at the bottom of her bag, empties out all of its contents, spills a bottle of moisturizer or two and generally causes mass havoc on the plane, only to discover that she had left said item at home all along. In light of putting embarrassing moments such as these to bed, getting your hands on a couple of different sized pouches will serve you well into the future.

Each type of item in your carry-on canl be assigned a different pouch, so before you get packing, organize items into categories like technology, toiletries, make-up and in flight essentials. Using pouches in different patterns and colors will make locating each small bag a breeze and let’s face it, who doesn’t like color-coded accessories?

Pack your pouches in order

When it comes to putting your pouches into your carry-on, it pays to be a little strategic about the whole thing. Place the items that you won’t need during your flight at the bottom of your bag, and make sure all of your essentials are close to the top. Extra clothes and shoes should be packed first into your carry-on, with items like your phone, passport, headphones and ticket put in last so they’re at the very top. At this point, making use of your bag’s own pockets and zips is really useful and can be a great way of storing last minute items and small essentials that won’t fit into any of your pouches.

Enjoying the holiday season or any time off is all about relaxing, enjoying the company of loved ones and discovering new places. The next time that you’re squeezed into a crowded seasonal flight, you can reach into your carry-on and know exactly where everything is placed, without that familiar pang of panic.