Tips to help you pack light for travel
These tips to help you pack light will simplify your packing and save you money on luggage fees. Learn to pack smart and travel with carry-on only.
I just packed for one month of travel using a carry-on, and you can too.
I fit 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pants, 1 shorts, 2 sweatpants, 12 tops (2 dressier for dinners), undies, socks, scarf and toiletries bag into a carry-on and my electronics and travel documents into a knapsack (plus the outfit that I wore on the plane: walking shoes, jeans, top and jacket). Try these tips and you can be packing light for travel too:
Tips to help you pack light for travel
Order ahead: pack lighter by ordering drugstore items for delivery to destination. I use amazon or drugstore.com (these aren’t affiliate links). You can save a ton of weight and space by ordering things like sun screen, bug spray and toiletries.
Hair dryer: Plenty of hotels and home rentals offer hair dryers. If yours doesn’t, buy one at a local drugstore and, if you’re in a foreign country, you won’t have to use a converter. Another bulky item that’s available almost anywhere in the world (and should be left at home) is an umbrella.
Pack for the weather. If it’s going to rain, cold or be windy, pack layers, including a waterproof shell that can cover your other layers of clothing. If it’s going to be cold, you don’t need 3 “just in case” shorts — and if you’re going to the beach, you don’t need 3 “just in case” pants.
Pick clothes that mix and match. At home you might like to wear a different colored top every day, but on the road, it’s much easier if you pick clothes that you can mix and match. For example, for an African safari, you’d choose beige and green clothes and shoes. You should be able to use each piece of clothing in several different outfits.
Bring duel-purpose travel garments. Zip-off pants can serve as pants and shorts. Chose clothes that can be layered. A t-shirt for a hot day can be a base layer on a cold day. This will help you keep thick, heavy tops to a minimum. Bring tops that can be dressed up or down. And chose clothes that don’t wrinkle easily.
Roll! Roll your clothes tightly it reduces wrinkling. Then use packing cubes. I love my packing cubes — especially when I’m hopping from one hotel to another. They make repacking quick and keep everything organized.
Use bag space wisely: cram small things into your shoes, corners and between wheel wells at the bottom of your bag.
Wear your biggest, heaviest clothes on the plane, like your hiking boots and jacket.
You may have to do laundry: We’ve done laundry in many countries — hand-washed, laundromats and through the hotel. It doesn’t take long or cost much and it saves a ton of space if you’re willing to leave some stuff at home and do laundry part way through your trip.
Rely on technology. A good electronic can serve as an e-reader, mp3 player and even a camera, so you can leave heavy novels at home. And you can carry your guidebooks in your e-reader. You can put your electronics in your “personal bag”, like a backpack.
Toiletries: remember all liquid toiletries must be in a 1 quart/liter-size clear resealable plastic bag, and none of the bottles can be more than 3.4 oz (100ml). Here is the 3-1-1 liquids rule from the TSA.
Bring a fold-up bag. Packing light doesn’t mean that you can’t buy souvenirs. Bring a fold-up bag and extra luggage tag and, if necessary, you can check one bag on your return flight. Or, you can buy a cheap bag at the end of your trip for the return flight.
Chose your bag carefully. Start with something lightweight. I prefer a bag with wheels as my carry-on and a knapsack as my personal bag. Check your airline’s luggage rules for maximum size and weight.
Benefits of packing light:
- avoid baggage fees
- don’t worry about the airline losing your luggage
- it’s easier to get around without big heavy bags, especially if you’ll be going up and down train, bus and metro steps
- breeze right by baggage claim and start exploring
I hope you’ve learned some tips to travel light and to fit it all into a standard, airline approved carry-on.
Now … Just go. Go see all the beauty in the world.
Plan before hand and you’ll be much more organized — you can get started by checking out this handy packing list.