Traveling in comfort is not rocket science. All you need is a little imagination, flexibility, and plenty of good self-organization. If you think about it, other than flight-related problems, what could really weigh you down during a trip is when you don’t pack well. 

Overpacking and poor planning will slow you down, hurt your back and shoulders, and cost you unnecessary fees when checking in at airports. In this blog post, you’ll  learn how to not overpack by following these five brilliant tips to travel light.

Why travel light?

Besides the comfort and lightness of being, traveling light has so many benefits that you shouldn’t take for granted. Once you’ve mastered packing and planning the stuff you will bring, you’ll never go back to your old habit of packing again. When packing light:

  • It is easy to use public transportation. Traveling with five suitcases or even just one but a heavy and extra-large bag will require you to hire a private taxi. With a backpack or lightweight luggage, you can hop from a train to bus or any other local form of transport with ease.
  • There are fewer chances of losing some stuff. Traveling with many bags could confuse you and make you drop or misplace one or two of them when rushing from one place to another. 
  • You spend less time checking in at the airport. Carrying five suitcases means airport security will take five times longer checking you in than most passengers.
  • Asking for help from someone and giving a huge tip is unnecessary.
  • You can enjoy the scenery and mingle with people without thinking about your stuff all the time.

Start traveling with ease and confidence, and you can do so by mastering the art of packing light. Here are just five easy yet brilliant tips for traveling light.

1. Get the right bag

First things first; what matters most when packing is the bag you will use. If you wish to travel light, it makes sense to use a piece of light luggage or travel backpack.

There will be no point in packing light if your bag is heavy in the first place. Tours and travels are big business, so several manufacturers have produced lightweight luggage and backpacks. 

Do some shopping before you begin packing, and make sure to get a light yet sturdy bag. Try to observe the one-bag travel rule. Use one sizable backpack to help you pack light instead of using many small bags.

Don’t use a big backpack because this will tempt you to fill it up until it gets too heavy to carry. Get a backpack that is just right for all the necessary stuff you will bring.If you prefer a suitcase over a travel-friendly backpack, then look for a 22-inch carry-on roller suitcase under 10 pounds.

Some manufacturers even have 7-pound suitcases, which they call “ultralight”, and even lighter ones called “megalite” that weigh only 5 to 6 pounds. Choosing the right suitcase will help you pack light and fast.

Also, choose a suitcase with enough pockets and compartments to help keep you organized. Make sure it’s roomy but not exceeding your airline’s size requirements. You might need to check with your airline about this.

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2. Use space wisely

Every little bit of space counts. Maximize your space by filling in nooks and crannies with small items, such as underwear, mittens, candy bars, socks, anything small that you can fit in there! You could even stuff shirts inside your shoes.

 Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Roll them up to make little tubes so they can squeeze into tiny spaces or pockets. Packing this way not only saves you space but also helps you keep your clothes unwrinkled. Saving space has a lot to do with knowing what to pack.

For instance, instead of bringing 4 or 5 books, pack a tablet or e-reader instead. Bring only the bare essentials, without items that you could easily buy in your destination anyway.

To help you limit the number of things to bring, get organized using packing sacks or packing cubes. A packing cube is a packing aid that comes in a cube but in softer form.

They’re great for keeping together small things – jewelry, belts, hair-styling tools, shoes, and other necessities that you want to stay in place as you move around when traveling. Most packing cubes are water-resistant, partially transparent and often come in four pieces, making them very useful.

Another advantage in using a packing cube is that you will be mindful of what to bring and how to pack. The best packing technique is to assign a category of items for each specific packing cube. Doing so will also make it easy to grab the right bag to get what you need.

3. Be Mindful About What Clothes to Bring

The items that will take up the most space in your backpack are clothes. This is why it is important to strategize what to bring and why. Here are some packing tips for long trips.

Pack clothes that you can reuse during your trip

This technique is called recycling clothes. Simply put, use and reuse clothes more than once when traveling. For instance, if you bring any white piece of clothing, there is a good chance that you can only wear it once because it gets dirty immediately, especially white jeans.

If you haven’t heard, there are outdoor convertible pants (that could turn into shorts) that you can wear up to three times without looking soiled. These are versatile travel outfits that you can reuse and still look fashionable.

Another technique is to bring just two or three pairs of pants and use them interchangeably every other day. This means you can wear the same pants but give them a space of 1 to 2 days without wearing them.

Pack light clothes that you can wash from anywhere

It’s easy to run out of clean clothes when traveling, so why not consider washing them at the end of the day. Instead of carrying so many clothes with you, bring some clothes that you can easily wash and dry.When staying in a hotel, ask about their laundry service.

If they are too expensive for you, take a look around, chances are, you can find a laundromat near you or within a well-known tourist area. When traveling for more than a week, plan to do laundry along the way.

Traveling light means not packing more than a week’s worth of clothes. If you’re traveling with your family, check out this packing list.

Pack outfits that mix and match

Packing light doesn’t mean throwing your fashion sense out the window. Pick clothes, pants, and jackets that can be color-coordinated with everything else. If an item doesn’t work in multiple combinations, leave it at home.

Be creative and imaginative about what to wear and how to look good during your trip. Black always looks good with everything else.

Wear your heavy jacket instead of stuffing it in your suitcase

You might sweat a bit, but wearing your fancy heavy jacket on your flight instead of packing it will free up so much space.

4. Limit Your Shoes to Two or Less

Shoes are bulky and difficult to pack. They take up most of the space in your backpack or luggage. Bringing more than three pairs in one trip is too much and will make your backpack heavier than it should be.

Pack two pairs if you must, other than the one you are already wearing.In some cases, you might only need one pair of sneakers, which you will use as you travel and trekking or sightseeing, and a pair of flip-flops or sandals to give your feet some air.

When not on a business trip, leave your formal leather shoes or high heels at home. Be realistic about your shoes. All your shoes should be multi-use.

5. Think About Other Other Necessities

The rest of the spaces are for other necessities, such as books, toiletries, and accessories. Strategize well. You don’t need to bring your entire dresser or library when traveling.

Books

A lot of people cannot take a long bus or plane ride without reading a book. In this time and age, you can do without bringing an actual paperback. To save some space, bring an E-reader, a tablet or Kindle instead. You can “fit” hundreds of books in a tiny device. Also, bringing your tablet means having several handy additional features such as travel apps that can help you cut down on your vacation paper trail.

Toiletries

These are definitely essential things to pack while traveling, but you can buy most of them at your destination. Also, you can buy a toiletries kit before leaving to make sure you carry only the bare essentials.

Accessories

Alright, you shouldn’t sacrifice fashion when traveling. You would want to look good when taking selfies in the most beautiful locations. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll need to pack your full makeup kit, the entire jewelry box, or your mega nail polish box when traveling.

Be wise as you pack other essentials. There are things you can leave behind, and there are things you can’t do without, such as a universal travel adapter, a power bank and a First Aid kit.

Traveling should be fun and memorable. If you don’t pack and plan well, you’d end up stressed out and panicky when moving around, not to mention losing valuable dollars to pay excess bag fees. Tired of overpacking? Then stop making the same travel mistakes.

Follow these five brilliant tips to travel light and start packing. Or if you are looking for the best tips when it comes to traveling smart, see some of our posts here at Ask the Dutch Guy!