Tips for Packing Light
Packing light is easier said than done, especially if you’re like me and always wait until the last minute. Packing can be a pretty daunting task, but if you know how to do it right, it can also be fun and exciting! Packing light doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to bring everything you want, but it does require you to go about it differently and think ahead.
Baggage choice is really important. Of course, it’s up to you if you wish to bring just a carry-on, or if you choose to bring a checked bag as well. Personally, I’ve found it a lot easier, and cheaper, to just bring a carry-on. The benefit of a carry-on is that you’ll miss out on those awful baggage fees and you won’t have to wait forever at baggage claim. You also don’t have to worry about the airline losing your bag or lugging around a 50 lb. suitcase.
Still, whether you’re bringing just a carry-on, or a checked bag these same tips will apply!
Packing and Luggage Tips
When packing for a trip, every bit of space helps! There are so many new and fun things that are helping people pack lighter and more efficiently.
First, I would recommend investing in some lightweight luggage. Ideally, anything under 10 pounds is great, but if you can make it less than that, it will save you on weight and also save you from lugging around a huge suitcase. Also, if you can get a bag with 4 wheels, it will be so worth it!
Another tip for making the most of your luggage room is filling up all the little spaces! You can use soft shirts, socks, or underwear to fill in gaps like inside shoes or under hats. Every space counts!
A few items that will help you be more organized are packing cubes or envelopes. They help you compartmentalize your clothes so you’re not digging through your suitcase for 5 minutes until you find anything.
When it comes to how people pack, most people just fold their clothes normally and put them in their suitcase. Although this may be the fastest and easiest option, it leaves a lot of empty spaces that could be put to better use. The method that maximizes space the most is by rolling up your clothing. You can fit almost twice as many t-shirts by rolling them as opposed to just folding! If you’re looking for a great way to save space, this may be one of your best options!
Probably one of the biggest mistakes people make while packing is simply just taking too much stuff. It’s nice to have “options” but sometimes it can be super overwhelming and you end up wearing half of what you actually brought. You can save lots of time and space by being a little more mindful when you’re packing your clothes.
You really should only pack for about a week’s worth of clothes. If you’ll be gone longer than that you can always do laundry or hand wash your clothes at the hotel or hostel. For a normal length trip, you should only need about 2 pairs of pants, a few shirts, maybe a sweater and a dress, or a button-up shirt. Don’t overthink it, but make sure you are being smart about what you’re bringing.
Another tip is to pack clothes that can mix and match easily. Bring lots of neutrals and pieces that will go with multiple outfits. This will help you save time when trying to decide what to wear and will help save space as well!
Also, try to bring clothing that is not super thick or heavy. Clothing that is made up of lightweight fabrics like cotton, silk, or polyester will be best! If you need to bring a jacket, remember you don’t need three, one should be fine as you can always wear lots of layers.
Shoes are always a tricky one for people. I know it's fun to bring five pairs of shoes on a trip (I am guilty), but you will very quickly regret it. Shoes are one of the heaviest items that you need to bring, and take up lots of space, so even taking out one or two pairs will make a huge difference!
You probably will only need about two pairs of shoes. Obviously it depends on what type of vacation you will be going on, but generally, I would recommend a comfortable walking shoe, like a sneaker or a hiking boot. The second pair might be some sandals or flip-flops, which are both pretty lightweight. Most importantly, make sure that your shoes can be used in different circumstances, and that they are suited to your particular trip.
Try to bring lightweight toiletries as well. Depending on where you’ll be staying, most hotels and Airbnb’s have hairdryers and shower products for you to use, so don’t bring huge bottles of that because they weigh a lot. If you still want to bring some of your own products I recommend bringing shampoo/conditioner & body wash bars! They’re easy to store and last a long time! Make sure you only bring the necessities.
Make sure to bring a personal item
All airlines let you bring a personal item onboard. This means you can bring either a purse or, if you’re still needing some extra room for things, I recommend bringing a backpack that will fit under your seat.
If you just have a carry-on this can be a life-saver for those extra little things that aren’t going to fit in your bag. A lot of times, I will bring electronics and things I’ll either use on the plane, or need to take out at security-- such as a laptop or iPad, my camera, headphones, snacks-- and I will also put my bag of toiletries in there as well, so that I don’t have to open up my carry-on and take them out.
What to Wear on the Plane
What you wear on the plane can actually help a ton when it comes to saving space in your luggage. Make sure to wear your heaviest or bulkiest shoes on the plane. This will save you 1-3 pounds, and lots of space. Also, make sure to wear layers and maybe a bigger coat that you need on the trip but don’t want to stuff into your bag.
It’s usually cold on flights so having enough layers is perfect. If you get too warm walking around the airport you can always tie it around your waist.
Another great thing to wear is a hat. This will save it from getting squished in your bag and helps save room as well.
Obviously, it depends on the business of your travel, but make sure to not bring too many electronics. Phones have so many different capabilities now that put everything on one device. You can download books, movies, listen to podcasts, music, and they all take amazing pictures! That’s a lot of things that would have taken up space!
Make it Fun!
Don’t let packing be stressful for you! It truly can be so exciting and fun to pick out everything for your trip-- just don’t wait until the last minute. With these tips, you can finally master the art of packing light. All it takes is a little bit of planning and patience, and maybe the self-discipline to NOT pack 5 pairs of heels.