Last Updated 31 July 2020
Let’s be real – We’ve all been guilty of packing too much for a trip
What if it rains? Shouldn’t you pack an umbrella?
It might be colder than you expect in the evenings, shouldn’t you bring an extra sweater?
What if you end up going to a fancy restaurant for dinner? You definitely need those killer heels, right?
Just in case?
No matter how experienced you are, it’s easy to overpack.
But, trust me when I say that there are some real benefits to traveling light. And, with these pro packing tips, it’s easier to do than you think!
PS – This post may contain affiliate links: That means that if you purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Of course, I only recommend products/services that I have used and believe are great! Please read my disclosure for more info.
Why Pack Light?
Ok great, so these packing tips will help you travel light. But, why even bother?
These days, it’s pretty standard practice for (low cost) airlines to charge for checked luggage. Many allow each passenger to take one carry-on bag and one personal item (like a handbag or laptop bag) for free. So, sticking to a smaller bag that meets the airline’s criteria for carry-on luggage can save you anywhere from €10 – €50 (US$15 – $60) each way, depending on the airline. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather use that money as extra cash to spend at my destination!
Although (shocker!) Ryan Air here in Europe have updated their cabin bag policy so that you’ll basically have to pay for anything you want to bring besides a handbag…
Ok, we’ll get to what to pack in a minute, but trust me, it is simpler to pack light. You’ll have limited options (but still plenty!) of outfits to wear, so figuring out your wardrobe each day just became a hell of a lot easier. And, you don’t need to lug any heavy bags around with you. Your back will thank you!
Once you arrive at your destination, you can just head straight through passport control and get on with your holiday. No waiting around at the luggage belt, and no fear of bags not having made it at all (this has happened to me so many times over the years, and it is always a pain!)
Are you sold yet? 😁
Follow these awesome Pro Packing Tips and travel light on your next holiday! You’ll be glad you did!
1. Pick the Right Bag To Travel Light
This is the most important pro packing tip of all. When it comes to travelling light, it is super important to check the airline’s carry-on baggage policy and make sure your bag meets their criteria.
Each airline has slightly different guidelines, and there’s nothing worse than having to pay extra at the airport because your hand luggage turns out to be too big or too heavy.
Pick a bag that is easy to travel with. You might prefer using a small backpack so it can double as a daypack for excursions at your destination. Or, you might prefer a small suitcase with wheels so you don’t have to carry it at all.
Either way, think about what kind of bag fits best with the type of trip you’re going on.
My absolute favourite bag to travel with is my small, lightweight, cabin-sized suitcase by EastPak. It is super durable, has 2 wheels for easy transport, and fits in waaayyy more stuff than you might think! I use my EastPak bag for long weekends as well as longer trips (like, for our upcoming 3 month Eastern Europe trip!) and it fits everything I need easily.
If you prefer a backpack, Anti-theft backpacks are becoming super popular. Always great to know your things are secure! And useful both at home and on the road 😁
2. Be Realistic and Pack For Your Destination
Avoid packing those “just in case” items we talked about earlier.
Think about your destination and the season you’re travelling in.
Do you really need two jackets for a long weekend in Spain in May? Probably not.
Pro Packing Tip: A versatile waterproof, packable jacket is ideal, and is (for the most part) all I travel with as outerwear.
If you’re packing a pair of sandals, a pair of flip-flops and a pair of trainers, do you really need 7 pairs of socks for the week?
And, if you travel with a friend or partner, why not share items like shampoo or sunscreen? No point doubling up and both of you bringing the same things, only to come home with half-empty bottles!
3. Start Early, Ditch Half
Avoid last minute packing at all cost. You’re more likely to break the rule we just talked about, and take some of those “just in case” items after all.
Make a checklist, and put out everything you think you might want to bring.
Over the next couple of days, you might decide that that dress you haven’t worn this past year, probably won’t be worn on this holiday either (see, you are smart!)
Once you have your stack of clothes, ditch half (If you can!)
I know this is one of the more difficult packing tips… But let’s be real. More often than not, you won’t end up using half the stuff you bring anyway. So, just leave them at home!
This is especially true for shoes.
Shoes take up a tonne of space and add a lot of weight. Make sure you choose a couple of simple, diverse options. For example, a pair of sandals can be perfect for the beach as well as for dinner in the evenings.
For example, I really love my sandals by Merrell! They are super comfortable, so I can wear them for hours on end when we’re out exploring. I wore them throughout our 9 month Southeast Asia trip, including at Angkor Wat in Cambodia (below). And, I can also wear them to dinner or to the beach. Perfect!
4. Mix & Match Your Travel Outfits
To help you narrow down what clothes to bring, make sure you think about what items go together and are versatile. Creating numerous outfits with just a few simple items is a smart way to go when you need to pack light.
Also think about multi-purpose items like a pair of leggings that you can wear under a skirt on a cooler evening, or pair with a cute top for a casual dinner.
Go light on accessories too – pick jewellery and a shawl that can work with multiple outfits.
I always travel with a sarong (unless I forget, like that one time in Venice 😖 Note to self – remember your packing tips!), which is super versatile! You can use it as a shawl, beach towel, cover-up, dress, you name it!
5. Roll Your Clothes (And/Or Use Packing Cubes!)
When you get to packing your clothes in a small bag, roll them. I first learned this awesome packing tip from a Japanese student we hosted when I was still in school, and I still use this trick! 😊
Not only will they take up less space, but they’ll also come out less wrinkly than when you fold them!
Another good trick is to store smaller items like socks or underwear in a pair of shoes so you don’t waste any space.
I do also love my PRO packing cubes, which my husband and I both use when we travel for longer and with a slightly bigger bag. They really compress your clothes down to a manageable size and keeps everything neat and tidy on the road.
6. Go Travel-Sized
Wherever possible when packing light, avoid taking full-sized toiletries and cosmetics.
There are so many travel-sized options to buy these days that there really is no need to bring bulky toiletries.
Besides, most airports will have limitations on the amount of liquids you can take in your carry-on, so avoid having any items confiscated by limiting your shampoos and lotions to below 100ml each.
Depending on where you’re staying, your accommodation may also provide complimentary shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion and sometimes even a shaving kit! In fact, many hotels can help you out if you forgot any other personal items like toothpaste or deodorant – a quick call down to reception might get you out of a pickle!
Pro Packing Tip: Switch some of your travel toiletries to plastic-free alternatives! For example, use bar shampoo instead of liquid. It saves space and weight as well as the environment!
At the end of the day, as long as you have your passport and a wallet (preferably with some cash and cards!) you will get by just fine.
Even if you forget some essentials, you can always buy what you need at your destination.
What better excuse to buy some souvenirs from your trip?
What are your packing tips for traveling light?
Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below! I’d love to hear what your pro packing tips are!
Related Posts You Might Like