Packing light is not a goal; it's a process. The goal is to travel to your destination without a suitcase so stuffed that it starts emitting strange sounds when you try to shove it into the luggage compartment.
Have you heard about the globe trotter writer who traveled around the world for six weeks wearing a multi-pocketed vest that carried his entire luggage including tees and a folding keyboard for his mobile phone?
Obviously, it would be too much for you and me as we wouldn't want to spend each night washing our undergarments in the hotel room sink, but we do need to learn how to keep it light.
Almost all of us struggle over which clothes to pack, how many shoes to carry, which gadgets to bring along. There are people who carry heavy bags filled with things that they might not need. What they do is sweat, curse and swear that they will never pack their luggage like this again. Not a fun lesson to learn; especially when you can't get around easily on your holiday, wait for your bags to arrive and pay for excess luggage.
Whether you are packing for a two-week international trip or a two-day weekend getaway, these are the perfect tips that will help you pack light and travel smart.
Avoid or better never buy a suitcase that is big. If your travel bag is small there's no chance of you overpacking it.
A lot depends on the clothing choice. Go for synthetic material or linen or smart wool. So, instead of opting for heavy sweaters or cotton go for insulating layers.
The clothing you carry should meet these 5 conditions:
Even if you are travelling for more than 7 days pack clothes that will be enough for 7 days as it'll be easier to find a Laundromat rather than carrying all that luggage around.
There might be several items in your wardrobe that can do double duty. Take a sarong, for instance, a beach cover-up that can be used as a blanket, stole, head scarf, pillow, curtain for a bunk bed…
You can see all the clothes you have packed without having to lift them, and when you're done packing, you can easily see which ones do not match with the rest and remove them.
Lay out your packing list on the bed or the floor and while ticking off each item ask yourself what if you don't take this item? All the extra non-necessities removed and from packing heavy you go to packing light.
It won't help you pack light but definitely give you more space. Roll up each clothing item and tie them with rubber bands, it gives you good space and keeps your bag neat.
Save space for the rest of the items by balling up your undies and socks. You can even stick them inside your shoes.
Shoes can take up a lot of room, especially for men, so be selective while packing your shoes. One pair of sneakers, a semi-formal pair of loafers, what else?
Unless you are a visiting a remote village with minimum facilities, skip packing the toiletries as you can buy everything you need at your destination. Hit the utility store for toothpaste, shampoo, sunblock or whatever you need.
Pack clothes that are quick to dry and concentrated laundry detergent.
Don't have a washing machine anywhere around? Use a ziplock bag as a make-shift washing machine. Mix water and detergent in the bag with soiled clothes and after a little or rather a lot of shaking and rinsing with water you have fresh clean clothes.
Certain objects can be replaced with apps or tools. Camera for instance, books, maps, travel guides.
Compression packers, packing cubes or travel pouches not only keep your suitcase organized but also maximize space by compression.
Let go of the greatest travel invention because it tricks us in carrying more stuff than we can. When you have to pick up your bag you definitely will keep it light.
You don't need those membership cards or visiting cards or your library card. Leave your wallet at home and carry a small zippered coin purse big enough to carry your credit card or travel card, driving license and some cash.
Cotton towels are heavy, take up a lot of space and a lot of time to dry. Microfiber travel towels dry faster and if it's still wet while you are on the go you can let it hang on the outside of your backpack.
A hardshell suitcase can add up to 4 kg of extra weight even before you started packing it. Go for a lightweight suitcase that is easy to carry.
It's easy to get carried away with your first big trip and instead of the must-have stuff, you end up packing the nice stuff that you could have done without.
Keep a daypack inside your bag so even after keeping it light you still end up having extra luggage, you can use the daypack. This way you will have two small bags to carry without paying for extra luggage.