One of the most important steps before going on vacation is packing. And, it is equally important to pack well, as the more you pack, the more you’ll have to carry. You never know how far you’ll have to carry that luggage, or whether you’ll be going uphill, or over cobblestoned streets. There are lots of other perks to pack light:
- Avoiding excess airline baggage fees
- Skipping the check-in counter (and its LONG queues) at the airport
- You won’t look like an obvious target for thieves and pickpockets
- It will take less time to pack
- Having less stuff means you’re less likely to lose or forget it
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money“. – Susan Heller
1) TRY TO TAKE ONLY A CARRY-ON SUITCASE
If you really want to pack light, the first step would be to try and fit everything into a carry-on. The simplest way to pack less is to have less space for your stuff. This way, you’ll be forced to pack more efficiently. This has a lot of added benefits. You don’t have to check in your luggage and worry about it getting lost. There’s no waiting round to collect your bags after your flight.
2) BUT TAKE THE RIGHT CARRY-ON
Because most flights have specific weight limits for your carry-on luggage, it’s important to pick the right one for you. Look for one that is lightweight (less than 3kg), so that you can pack in more stuff. Remember to use a portable luggage scale to weigh your bags before you leave.
3) PACK ONLY WHAT YOU MUST TAKE
Only pack the necessities. You can’t bring clothes for every situation, so just bring what you’ll actually wear. You really don’t need 4 pairs of heels, or 3 wool coats. Remember to make a list before you start packing, and to try to take clothes you wear every day, rather than brand new ones, so you’re sure about them.
4) PACK LOTS OF NEUTRALS
Instead of packing a series of complete outfits, try to pack clothes that are interchangeable, that you can mix-and-match to maximize your outfits. Neutral tops and bottoms can create lots of combinations, as almost anything can be worn with anything else. For example, four shirts and four pairs in a neutral colour-palette of pants will yield sixteen, not four, outfits
5) DON’T PACK FOR MORE THAN A WEEK
Unless you’re travelling for a really long period of time, pack only enough clothes and underclothes for one week. This may seem impossibly little, but you can always do laundry during your trip; either with a laundry service, or in your hotel bathroom.
6) PACK SHOES THAT YOU CAN FOLD
Shoes take up a lot of space, especially when you’re trying to pack light. So, try to pack just two pairs of shoes, and wear the pair that’s bulkier (like sneakers or boots) and pack the smaller pair (sandals or flats). Avoid packing heels for destinations with lots of climbing or cobblestone streets, as you’re just not likely to get much use out of them.
7) WEAR YOUR BULKIEST CLOTHES
If you need bulky clothes, like boots or winter coats, at your destination, try to wear them through the security check. This way you ensure that your carry-on bag is as light as possible. And since you have it with you, you can put away any extra clothes once you’re on the plane.
8) ALLOW YOURSELF TO TAKE ONE EXTRA ITEM
Let yourself pack one thing extra that you don’t really need. Perhaps it’s a hairdryer or a straightener. Maybe its a camera, or that book you’ve been meaning to read for months, but probably won’t. Whatever it is, go ahead and pack that one thing you really want to take with you, however impractical.