PACK LIKE A PRO: SMART PACKING TIPS FOR CARRY-ON BAGS

This is a guest post by Michelle C. of IntentionalTravelers.com.

Packing for a trip requires us to overcome conflicting considerations: being thoroughly prepared versus not being over-burdened by our luggage. Taking just the right amount can be tricky to figure out. 

What's in my bag

I've had the Clark & Mayfield Morrison bag by my side for almost a year now, and it has always doubled as a work bag and a carry-on. Since I'm constantly on the road and working from my laptop as I travel, it's important for my bag to hold only what I need.

So what do I pack? The picture to the left shows the contents of my carry-on bag for the flights on our latest journey: five weeks in Hawaii, two and a half weeks in Vietnam, and two and half weeks in Japan. (My checked bag was a Gregory backpack that held my clothes, toiletries, and extra notebooks.)

*Macbook Air 13" with power cord
*Notebook
*iPhone 4S with ULAK wallet case (contains ID and credit card)
*sunglasses
*Corsair 32 Gig flashdrive
*mini address book
*Kindle Paperwhite with leather case
*checkbook
*Japanese phrasebook
*iPod shuffle with earbuds
*foam earplugs
*lipstick
*prescription bottle
*business cards and back-up credit cards
*glasses case
*G2 pens and pencil
*Gorge Delights Just Fruit snack bars
*multi-purpose scarf
*one change of clothes 

And, of course, it's all held together with the Morrison laptop bag.

Packing Tips

1. Your carry on should hold anything you absolutely can't do without if your check-in bag gets lost en route. On our trip to France this past summer, a glitch in the system caused our luggage to arrive 10 days late. Carrying on a light-weight change of clothes and prescriptions are always a good idea, just in case.

2. Valuables like electronics, expensive jewelry, and cash should never be left in checked baggage.

3. If you find yourself overpacking in attempt to prepare for every possible weather variation, or if you're unsure about what you'll need at your destination, don't sweat it. Remember that most things can be purchased at your destination if you determine later that you really need them.

4. The secret to minimizing your clothing items is to pack things that can be layered and to go with a general color scheme so that each piece can be mixed and matched with the others. 

5. Use a carry-on bag with inner pockets to keep your belongings in place and easy to access. This is why I love the Morrison bag. I like to keep my passport and airline tickets in the front outside pocket so I always know exactly where they are and can quickly pull them out when needed.