Packing should literally be considered an Art.
We’ve all been there thinking to ourselves “Do I really need this or that . . .of course I’ll wear this dress I haven’t worn since I bought it” ha nope. Packing can literally be the most stressful parts of travel if you let it. Thankfully it's truly a “learn as you go” operation – and let me tell you after many years of over packing and way too much money wasted on checked bags, I have finally mastered the personal bag // carry-on combination!! Yay for saving money on baggage fees!! Over-packers trust me, there’s still hope for you!
How: Well believe it or not most airlines allow you one personal bag and one carry-on bag FREE of charge. For a personal bag you can use a backpack or something of similar size and of course any acceptable sized carry on. Ultimately the personal bag just has to fit under the seat in front of you.
Trust me, there's nothing worse than the little monster metal measuring cage that determines carry-on or checked baggage. So make sure to double check with your airline for size requirements of carry-ons. Each airline will have slightly different size and weight limitations.
One: Carry On. Start with this bag as it’s obviously bigger so you should be able to fit the majority of your items here. Always roll your clothes tight!! Sometimes I’ll even wrap items with rubber bands to keep things tight and together. I’ve even heard of people who live closer to the airport actually driving to the airline they’re flying with and check their bag size. Talk about dedication, I’m okay with just checking online. That way you really know your max limit. Pack all of your clothes, heavier items inside that carry on. Never leave an item hollow, ex: boots – fill with socks or your hair straightener or something.
Two: Personal bag. Thankfully the North Face back pack that I use has many outside pouches that I utilize for things I know I’m going to need during my entire day of travel. That includes items such as, cell phone charger, headphones, deodorant, wipes, gum, battery pack, and chapstick. The easier you can make things for a day of travel, the better. You don’t want to be that annoying person unpacking your entire bag for a set of earbuds.
First layer should be used for any clothes left over go ahead and line the bottom of your back pack with the lighter items such as, t-shirts, undergarments, or swimsuits.
Second layer should be devoted to electronics - the point is to have them closer to the top for 1 - easier access and 2 - easier to pull out for security. This is always a struggle for me because I have so many accessories and attachments for my Canon and GoPro to the point where I usually end up ditching articles of clothing to ensure I have everything I need to take photos!
Third layer is going to be a medium(ish) sized purse. Depending on what your trip activities will be should determine what kind of medium sized purse/bag you should take. Will you be driving a scooter or car? Will you be hiking in the mountains or lounging by the pool? If I’m on two wheels I’ll always opt for a bag with a cross-over strap. This is for both functional and safety reasons. Or you could just use your entire backpack for a beach bag or hiking! The world is your oyster - go nuts! Normally I do not even bother carrying a purse around but when I'm out exploring I'm going to need a few electronics (camera, GoPro, selfie stick, and of course my iPhone) as you know they take up quite a bit of space so I carry a soft leather purse for my adventures.
Lastly, your liquids will go inside that purse. Yes, that's right you're going to go ahead and squeeze that purse in at the very top of your backpack. Make sure they're in a plastic bag, nice and secure; we all know electronics & liquids do NOT mix honey. - - - Always follow the lovely 3-1-1 Rule.
Pro Tip: If you travel often, I highly recommend investing into TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or Clear. With TSA PreCheck in the US, you don't have to take out your liquids, laptops, or remove your shoes. Unless you enjoy standing in long security lines then hey, you do do.
Why not just check a bag?