Picture this, after weeks of planning your holiday you’re finally sitting on the plane and about to relax when you realise you need x,y,z – it can be anything…your phone, a sweater to stay warm on the plane, your reading glasses, or even just a piece of gum. So you manage to reach your bag and you start rummaging around in your bag, throw thing from side to side only to discover the thing you were looking for isn’t in your bag. You just know you packed it somewhere, right? Or maybe it was your suitcase? Or even worse, did you leave it at home?

If any of that sounds familiar, then you need these 6 tips to stay organised and make sure everything you need is handy in flight..

  1. 1. Use a soft bag. Softer bags have a bit of give in them so you can stuff it full of everything you need and they’re more lucky to fit in the overhead compartment without having to gate check it later.
  2. 2. Limit your shoes. As much as it pains me to admit it, if you’re looking to only travel with a carry-on then you need to limit the number of shoes you pack – no more than 3 for an extended stay.
  3. 3. Small quantities of toiletries. By now almost everywhere has travel size shampoos and conditioners but also get creative with things like putting lotion in contact cases or counting your vitamins beforehand instead of bringing the whole bottle. Get creative with your packing hacks thanks to Pinterest you can find anything you really want know.
  4. 4. Don’t waste space. The biggest way is rolling your clothes, socks in shoes and even belts rolled in shirt collars.
  5. 5. Pack with a colour scheme. If you’re only traveling with a carry-on for your trip then you need to keep a colour scheme in mind so you can mix and match your pieces and get more outfits out of limited pieces – think about how you’re going to layer them. Even if you’re checking a bag, always pack a spare outfit (just in case) and when in doubt pack dresses – they take up less space.
  6. 6. Stay ultra organised. The more cases, pouches and bags the better. Organise things according to type and use and then divid them into smaller little bags to make them easier to find later.

Before you start packing, make a list of everything you’re going to need to squeeze in your carry-on and then lay it all out to get a better sense of how to arrange everything. Sort things by category (see tip 6) and then consolidate into their own bags and cases to find smaller items more easily in flight.

Next pack what you won’t need on the plane first at the bottom of the bag – spare clothes, shoes, etc. Items you will need ready access to should be packed last so they’re at the top of bag with easy access – tickets, wallet, phone, headphones, etc.

When you’re piling everything inside your carry-on make sure you utilise all the compartments your carry-on has to offer. They’re a great place for all your smaller knick-knacks and it’s a great way to make sure your phone, glasses or just a pen are kept handy.