Packing light is an important habit to get into. When you travel, you don’t want to feel weighed down.
When you’re overloaded, it makes life difficult. You’re slower, you get more tired and it’s harder to keep track of your belongings.
The more experience you get with travel, the less you’ll pack in your case.
There are many advantages of packing light when you travel. Besides, you probably won’t even miss the things you left behind.
This detailed guide is packed full of interesting tips and hacks to help you with packing light.
From space-saving techniques to clever all-in-one gadgets, you’ll learn all you need to master packing light and staying stress-free.
Table of Contents
First, we’re going to look at what items are essential for packing light and carrying only what you need.
What to pack
Creating a list for your inventory is a great idea. A list helps you stay organized and can prevent you from forgetting any essential items.
Sort your belongings into categories if it makes things easier (electronics, toiletries, clothes etc.)
Choose a smaller bag
This tip sounds obvious, yet it’s so often overlooked. The first step to packing light, is to allow yourself less space to begin with. It’ll be impossible for you to pack too much.
Limit yourself to a bag that’s no bigger than the carry-on allowance. You’ll find that if you’re efficient, a carry-on bag can hold all of the things you need. Durable materials are a plus.
Pack clothes for 7 days maximum
No matter how long your journey will be, you shouldn’t need more than a weeks’ worth of clothes. If need be, you can wash them to keep yourself going.
Choose your clothing wisely
One of the most important factors in packing light for a journey is the kind of clothing you’ll need.
Avoid thick, bulky clothes for colder climates. Instead, opt for insulated layers or synthetic alternatives to wool. Many of these thinner clothes have the added benefit of being lightweight and quick-drying; it’s a no-brainer.
Don't worry how you look
Unless you’re a model, it’s really not important what you look like when you travel. You can however pick outfits that mix and match with each other.
Try to pick lightweight clothes that can be folded or rolled up easily. Big dresses, fur coats and leather clothes all consume heaps of space.
Pack one pair of shoes
Try to pack just one additional pair of shoes in your luggage.
Wear your heaviest shoes to the airport if you’re taking more than one pair. Choose footwear that will be suitable for the journey you’re making. We won’t count flip-flops as a pair because they take-up virtually no space.
How to pack your items
Now that you have the items you want to take with you, let’s look at space-saving methods for packing them.
Get some travel scales
Accurate scales to keep at home are a great tool for packing light. You’ll be able to weigh your bag before leaving for your trip.
This will save you from possible delays and incurring any charges for overweight luggage. Furthermore, it’ll mean that you can use as much of the weight allowance you want.
Keep heavier items at the bottom
The way your items are arranged in your bag makes a big difference when moving around airports and stations.
Keep the center of gravity low and try to keep the heaviest items like shoes and cameras at the very bottom of your bag to keep the load stable.
Stuff socks into spare shoes
Roll your socks into balls and stuff as many pairs as you can inside the footwear you’re packing. The empty space inside your shoes is just extra space waiting to be used.
Use travel cubes
Travel cubes are really useful for maximising the space in your bag.
Also, they help keep your belongings organised and protect them from water.
Due to their uniform shape it can make packing and repacking a faster process. You don’t want to be removing handfuls of clothes to retrieve something at the bottom of your bag.
The items in this category either have clever functionality or combine a multiple uses into one product.
Honestly, these are the kind of gadgets I really wish I knew about when I started travelling.
One of the problems with carrying several portable electronic devices is that the plugs themselves take up space.
Invest in a 3-way cable or plug extender so you can charge multiple devices with one cable.
If you’re visiting multiple countries, there are also travel plug adapters that suit many different formats.
Quick drying towel
Regular towels take up a lot of space, even when folded. Another disadvantage is they can take a while to dry.
With a quick drying towel, you can pack a few of them for different uses, and still use minimal space. They roll or fold up very tightly and dry really fast, so you don’t have to carry damp towels ever again.
Conventional toothpaste tubes don’t necessarily consume a lot of space, but there’s the risk of them opening or exploding.
Toothpaste tablets are compact and are not liquid so they’ll pass through security. More importantly, they can’t explode all over your clothes.
Another handy addition to your travelling toiletries are shampoo bars.
They save you carrying a bottle of shampoo that could explode if the lid comes off. A single shampoo bar can last for weeks, if not months if you use them sparingly.
Hand-wash laundry soap bars
Soap bars for hand-washing your clothes are compact, airport permitted and allow you to wash your own clothes. You can pack less clothes and wash them more often to save space and avoid laundry costs at hostels.
In this guide we explained a variety of different ways of packing light. From the essential items you need, to clever devices that save you space.
These tips and tricks will help you with packing light and staying organised, keeping you mobile and free to roam.
Go ahead and try what you’ve learned at home before your next trip. Give it a go and see how good you can get at packing light.
Not only will it make you feel more organised and in control of your journey, you’ll feel even greater freedom because of the baggage you left at home.
Which space-saving gadgets would you recommend?