Are you planning a trip and dreading the thought of packing? No need to worry! You can pack light without sacrificing what you need. Here at Save Late, we have some tips on how this could happen so that everything goes smoothly during your travels while still being light on weight (and budget).
Our Save Late team has found the perfect solution to packing woes by using light and compact backpacks, which allows tourists more freedom and time compression. We may be avid travelers, but we always look for ways that make things easier on ourselves! Traveling light is not just good for your physical health. It is also an incredible way to experience the world. The less baggage you carry with you on vacation- whether through crowded areas or speed walking down airport terminals – the easier things will go! Packing light these days is even more critical since many airlines charge fees for bags or luggage that exceed size or weight limits.
However, you may already know the benefits but can’t seem to get your new packing plan underway. If this is the case, don’t get discouraged! After years of traveling with a heavy suitcase, packing light can be a challenge, especially when you’re going on an extended trip and are concerned about leaving something behind or if you’re trying to bring enough layers for winter.
We’ve compiled the benefits and some tips and tricks so that packing doesn’t feel like an impossible task anymore – even on your most hectic days or in moments where time seems immaterial.
Top Tips to Pack Light for Any Kind of Trip
1. Prepare a packing list.
Packing checklists are obvious, but keep a list of what you need and what you want. After that, cut your list of wants in half. Don’t take it if you are not confident that you will need something. You can buy, rent, or find anything you need in most places. Make sure you think carefully about every piece of clothing and gear you bring before leaving.
2. Make Sure Every Item Serves Two Purposes.
Pick your clothes carefully. When given a choice between two items, pack the one that has multiple uses, is lighter, or takes up less room.
Some examples are as follows:
- A poncho can replace a rain jacket, an umbrella, or a backpack rain cover. Ponchos can take the place of raincoats, umbrellas, and backpack covers.
- A sarong can be worn as a skirt, a picnic blanket, or a towel.
- People have strong opinions about convertible pants, which aren’t particularly glamorous. Nevertheless, they are helpful, robust, and quick-drying: For that hot hike, zip off the lower half, then switch to long pants when you need to go to dinner or a temple. If zip-offs aren’t your thing, consider roll-up pants with button tabs near the knee or above the ankle.
- Consider a shirt with roll-up sleeves rather than one with long and short sleeves.
- Keep your neck warm; shield your head or neck from the sun, or use a bandana or piece of buff neckwear as a sleep or smog mask.
- Bring shorts you can walk around town, swim, and wear while hiking.
- Swimwear options include running shorts and a sports bra.
3. Bring Your “Must Have” items, not “Just In Case.”
Sacrifices must be made when traveling light.
You can’t bring clothes for every possible situation. Only bring clothing that you would typically wear daily.
Consider the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule, when packing. This implies that you should only bring the 20% of your wardrobe that you wear 80% of the time when packing. Be sure to bring your regular attire. You won’t want to wear it if you don’t constantly reach for it at home. Bring the staple clothing you always have on hand at home. More than 80% of the situations you will face while those clothes cover traveling.
In the unlikely event you encounter a circumstance you did not pack, get what you need by borrowing or buying—most of your “what if” scenarios won’t come true. Keep your physical and mental burdens to a minimum just in case. If a surprise does occur, you can quickly and cheaply solve it rather than having to deal with it the entire time you’re traveling.
My friend and I planned a trip to Queenstown, New Zealand, during a quarter at work in Sydney, Australia. Having forgotten to pack a coat for Queenstown, I bought one locally in Sydney that was warm enough for winter. Upon returning from New Zealand, I sold the coat to a colleague planning a similar trip. It worked well for them, and I made most of my money. The “lost” money was considered a rental expense. It was better to lose a few dollars on the exchange rather than haul a winter coat worldwide.
Stay flexible and pack light. Take care of situations as they arise, and you will have some adventures.
4. Stock up for a week.
When packing for a two-week trip, a month’s trip, a year’s trip, or a permanent assignment, consider breaking the packing list into one-week chunks.
It is impossible to plan for every possible contingency on a long trip. It is better to pack for one average week instead. The duration of a week is manageable. It is easy to visualize one week’s worth of clothes. It’s necessary to do laundry while traveling.
During short trips, wash your socks, t-shirts, and underwear by hand in a sink. If you are traveling for a long time, use a cheap laundry service or a laundromat to do your laundry.
Dropping off dirty clothes at a cleaning service can save you time and money in many countries. Your clean clothes will be neatly packaged for you the next day.
Checking a bag is more expensive than doing laundry. Furthermore, packing light gives you convenience, flexibility, and less mental and physical stress.
5. Make sure you have multipurpose footwear and leave most of your toiletries home.
Travelers tend to need two pairs of shoes, depending on the kind of trip they’re taking. Travel days or plane rides call for your heaviest shoes.
- Think multipurpose (e.g., running shoes that can be used for walking, running, and hiking).
- Instead of bulky hiking boots, consider trail-running shoes because they offer maximum versatility.
- To prevent blisters, make sure your shoes are cozy and broken in.
- Measuring your feet is the best way to ensure you get a perfect fit when buying footwear. Your feet may swell, especially in hotter climates, so you might want to get boots or shoes that are one or one and a half sizes larger.
Leave your toiletries at home if you can purchase them where you’re going. If they provide items like shampoo, lotion, or razors, mention that when you reserve your hotel, guesthouse, or apartment. If it’s not something you require every day, you might want to consider removing it.
- Bring sample-sized toiletries, including toothpaste, as the TSA does not allow carry-on bags to contain containers bigger than 3.4 oz.
- Upon arrival, purchase toiletries and experiment with local products.
- The mere fact that you are permitted to carry 3.4 ounces of liquid does not imply that you require that much sunscreen or lotion. Think about packing your care items in smaller travel tubes, pill boxes, or storage containers.
- Consider items with multiple uses.
6. Don’t pack in bulk; pack in layers.
During cold weather or when traveling across numerous climates, dress in layers. It is easier to pack multiple thin layers than bulky items like sweaters and coats because multiple thin layers take up less space. If you pack one heavy sweater, you won’t be able to fit all the other essentials in your bag.
Thermal shirts or base layers made from merino wool can be layered with other items as the weather changes. If you’ll travel across multiple climates, pack for autumn. Imagine a cold morning, a hot afternoon, and a cold night.
The most common clothing I wear when heading out in the morning is a t-shirt, a base layer, and a light jacket. Depending on the weather, I can remove one or both outer layers. It’s easy to put them back on after the sun sets.
This flexibility can be achieved by dressing in thin layers and keeping your pack light. Wearing two t-shirts and two base layers can save an even smaller space.
It is advisable to wear an ultralight down jacket or fleece jacket when traveling in freezing, wintry weather. It is advisable to wear an ultralight down jacket or fleece jacket when traveling in icy, wintry weather.
7. Make Your Color Palette Simple.
Don’t pack clothes that don’t fit a simple, neutral color palette.
Keep your color palette simple so you can maximize your number of outfits with the clothes you’re bringing. It is essential that everything matches. Any piece of clothing can be worn with any other piece of clothing.
For instance, when four shirts and four pants are combined, they should yield sixteen, not four, outfits. There are sixteen outfits if you combine four tops with four bottoms (4 * 4 = 16).
Make the most of your travel wardrobe by packing pieces instead of complete outfits.
Keeping colors and patterns hard to coordinate with accessories is a good idea. If that printed scarf makes you happy, wear it.
8. You should only take prescription medications.
Off-the-counter drugs can usually be purchased almost anywhere since they are not prescriptions. Prescriptions will need to be brought with you – for example, I have asthma and take medication daily. Even if you want to carry some, pack one of each (paracetamol, hydration pack, etc.) to keep you going until you get to the pharmacy.
9. Consider deflatable / collapsible objects.
Travel pillows, water bottles, and the like are handy, but they all take up a lot of space. If you don’t want to pack heavy, you can opt for the travel version.
10. Get rid of unnecessary items.
Let’s end by talking about the things you can do without – this is more for the ladies!
Hairdryer – You won’t have to dry your hair if traveling to a warm country. You will undoubtedly discover one in your room if you visit a cold place and stay in a hotel. Most hostels have one at the front desk if you are staying there. If you must travel with your hairdryer, choose a small model with a folding handle. Perhaps a plug adapter is also necessary.
Hair Straightener or Curling Iron – Is straightening your hair while traveling necessary? My response is no if you ask me. However, if your response is “YES, YES, ” be sure to purchase a travel-sized straightener.
Jewelry & Makeup – You won’t feel like putting make-up on after a long walk or waiting for your nail polish to dry after a long day of walking around. Just a little mascara and lipstick will do! The same goes for jewelry: bring earrings that go with any outfit, and purchase some locally as souvenirs.
The Benefits of Packing Light When Traveling
Over the years, I’ve learned how to pack efficiently. Throughout my six-month backpacking trip through Central and South Asia, I carried about 18 kg – about 40 lbs. My daypack in the front weighed almost 18 lbs. (approximately 8 kg). That’s at least 26 kg (58 lbs).
It was challenging to move around with that much weight. At the last minute, I couldn’t catch a bus! Despite this, I couldn’t let go of any items and accumulated souvenirs and other things I didn’t need.
To master the art of packing light, I had to take a few more trips. With every trip, I become more aware of how much more convenient it is to travel light – better for my back, faster to pack, and more liberating.
Lighter packs mean more space available on board during trips! The list below details some benefits why you should consider packing light when traveling:
The lighter the luggage, the easier it is to carry.
Travel can sometimes be frustrating; you may even need to rush to catch a flight/train/bus/ferry if something goes wrong. When there was a power outage in London, I arrived at the Stansted airport a minute before the check-in desk closed, despite planning to be there three hours in advance.
Having a heavy bag will slow you down. It’s easier to carry smaller, lighter luggage and less tiring.
In minutes, you can have everything unpacked and ready for use.
Why pack half of your closet for a trip if you hate packing as much as I do? Packing light saves time because you don’t have to place as much stuff in your luggage. It’s also faster to unpack!
There is so much ease in layovers.
If you have a lengthy layover, you can leave the airport and explore the surrounding area, which is much faster and simpler if you pack lightly. Similar to this, when you have a train connection, a small carry-on bag rather than a large suitcase makes it much easier to leave the station and go somewhere for lunch.
You can be sure you won’t incur additional baggage fees if you pack lightly. There’s more, though.
You may even be able to avoid paying checked baggage fees if you can keep your luggage’s weight below a predetermined threshold. For example, Ryanair allows 10 kg (22 pounds) of weight, KLM 12 kg (26.4 pounds), and Alitalia only 8 kg (17.6 pounds).
But wait, it’s not over yet!
If you travel light, you can avoid piling your bags on those inconvenient airport carts, which are expensive and difficult to maneuver. When you arrive at your hotel, you can carry your bag to your room instead of tipping the porter.