How do you get everything you need into a 21" carry on for a 2 to 3 week trip? After doing tip 1 and 2, lay out what you have. I put my suitcase on the guest room bed 2 weeks before I am leaving on a big trip. On my quick trips to Seattle 4 or 5 times a year I pack the night before because I go so much it isn't hard to throw in the things I need.
I have used the compression bags and they are great-they keep clothes organized, compressed and helps minimize wrinkles. I use three: one for pants, one for blouses and one for sweaters etc.. I also like the cube mess bags to help with organization. I used 2 on my last trip to Eastern Europe. In one I put individual bags of peanuts, crackers and cheese, snack size snickers, raisins and jerky. Yes, I take food on our trips. We eat a big breakfast in the hotel or B&B and then eat an early dinner at a pub or similar. A package of cheese crackers and a purchased pot of tea (2.50) at an outdoor table facing a cathedral was just as special to me as a 7.50 lunch would be and the 5.00 per day savings is 100.00 worth of goodies I can bring home. In the other bag I put all my undies. The bags fold flat and take up no room when you empty (food) them.
I also take a large purselike bag that has several compartments that zip. I put my purse in it and add maps, portable handwipes, IPad, medication, airline and accomodation emails, earplugs and earphones, very small first aid and mending kits and a couple of bags of peanuts. When I get to my destination, I leave the bag in the room and just carry my purse which has an over shoulder strap and hangs under my right arm making it hard to steal. My passport, credit cards and identification goes in an over the neck holder that goes under my blouse.
Bon Voyage! God has made an amazing world for us-go see something wonderful! We just returned from a short trip to the sierras-just beautiful!