We’ve all been guilty of overpacking. After all, we want to be prepared for any occasion and dread the thought of having to purchase something on location because we forgot to pack it. However, most of those excess items stay at the bottom of your suitcase the entire trip. How free would you feel if you could travel with just a carry-on? If you want to save money, time, and a lot of hassle on your next vacation, read on. There is definitely an art form to packing light when traveling and we’ve got the secrets you’ll need to master this skill.
If you reduce your items down to just a carry-on, you won’t pay any excess baggage fees, nor will you have to tip porters in the airport or at the hotel. This makes multi-destination trips far easier. Packing light also saves a lot of precious time packing and unpacking. Even if you do carry a suitcase, there is less chance of an injury when carrying a much lighter load.
While this seems straightforward enough, there is psychology behind it. If you set out a large suitcase on your bed, you will feel compelled to fill it up. If you lay out a carry-on bag, you are now in the mindset of “that’s all I got”.
Leave the platform heels and leather pants at home. Wear what is comfortable and multifunctional. Jeans and a T-shirt can be worn all day. By just changing your shirt, you are ready for a night on the town (and no one will be the wiser).
This means that you should only pack 20% of your clothes that you wear 80% of the time. In other words, pack the stuff that you normally wear back home.
This rule states that you should bring 1 hat, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 bottoms, 4 tops, 5 pairs of socks, and 6 pairs of underwear. Besides that, you may need to bring specialty items like swimwear, etc. No matter how long your trip, limit yourself to no more than 5-7 days of clothing. Most outer items can be worn more than once and laundry facilities are usually available in hotels or down the street. Always pack your lightest pair of shoes (like flip flops) and wear your heaviest when traveling.
If you are headed somewhere cold, consider layering clothes rather than buying bulky items. Layering allows you to have more wardrobe options without adding extra weight to your luggage. You can always add a lightweight, packable jacket too. If you really must pack a winter coat for your trip, wear it instead of packing it.
If you don’t like using the complimentary amenities at the hotel, or you are staying somewhere that doesn’t offer these items, pick up some travel-size bottles for your vacation. They usually will last an entire trip. Also, consider buying a small bar of soap rather than packing liquid soap or shower gel. A shampoo bar is a great idea as well. It will last a lot longer than liquid shampoo at a fraction of the weight.
By picking a simple, neutral color for your wardrobe palette, you can maximize the number of combinations you can wear. Everything should match. If it doesn’t, it’s out. For example, three tops and four bottoms should equal nine outfits, not just three (3x3=9). Leave bold colors or hard-to-coordinate items to accessories like jewelry and scarves.
Packing cubes help keep you organized and even help compress your clothes which helps save valuable space. There are many brands and sizes of packing cubes available online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
Packing light gives you a sense of freedom. When people pack light for the first time, they often wonder why they haven’t done it sooner. There are so many benefits of packing light that they overshadow the few advantages that a full suitcase brings. Try these tips and give it a try. Chances are, you will be selling those big suitcases at your next garage sale.