Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or car, packing light has its advantages. You won’t have to spend as much time unpacking and repacking at the beginning and end of your flight, and you’ll have more space wherever you are staying. Plus, you’ll save money on checked baggage! There are plenty of reasons why you should pack light, but the question remains how? Well, here’s your answer!
1. Stick to a Carry-on
If you really want hassle-free air travel, try to avoid packing checked luggage. This will definitely save you the trouble of packing, reorganizing, and packing again, struggling to fit inside the weight limit. Plus, in many cases, it will also save you money on baggage fees! Another advantage of carry-ons is they generally don’t have a weight limit, so as long as your items lay flat enough, you can really make the most of your space.
2. Use Shopping as Motivation
I’m not always easily motivated, but one thing that always gets my attention is a shopping spree! If you plan to shop at all during your vacation, you’ll need tons of space to bring home your treasures! With that in mind, packing light becomes much easier.
3. Layer up!
To save room in your luggage, wear your bulkiest clothes— and lots of it!— on the plane. You will probably have to strip a bit once you hit security, but it will be worth it for those shirts and sweaters your just can’t leave behind.
4. Pack Early
Give yourself time to pack so you aren’t panicked and throwing everything in at the last minute. Do all of your laundry ahead of time so you know exactly what you’re working with. (I never realize how many clothes I have until I have to stuff them in a suitcase!) Then, begin packing a few days in advance so you have time to decide what must stay and what you can live without.
5. Plan Outfits
If you’re going on a short trip or vacation, plan an outfit for each day, and an emergency outfit to spare. Make sure you bring some items, like sweaters and jeans, that can be reworn a few times with different outfits, to save even more space.
6. Purge Your Closet
Just for context, I’m writing this on a plane from Southern California for Boston, a big move that I managed to pack lightly for! If you are planning more than a quick getaway and you’re moving somewhere new like me, I recommend purging your closet before you go. Sell and donate clothes you haven’t worn in a while, and bring just the essentials to get your new life started—everyday clothes, and a nice dress or two. It’s a great way to start fresh somewhere, and a great excuse to shop once you get there!
7. Bring in Reinforcements
I’ve fallen madly in love with every item I own at some point or another. Even if I rarely wear it or even look at it, once I see it while packing I’m filled with nostalgia and can’t bare the thought of leaving it behind! That’s when you need reinforcements. Ask a family member or friend to help you pack, or really just serve as the voice of reason. For example, do you really need seven bikinis moving to Boston in January? Evidently not.
8. Pack Small
If you keep your bag small (preferably carry on size) then you have no way of overpacking. It's a silly simple trick that I never thought to use but unless you're willing to pay for checked luggage, you're sure going to stick to that small bag!
9. Consider Your Clothing
When trying to pack light you're going to want multi-functional outfit options. When looking at your clothes consider if it'll be comfy enough to sightsee but also has the ability to be dressed up, is it weather appropriate for your destination?, does it fold small?, does it match with everything else?
10. Don't Bring ToiletRies
No, this isn't telling you not to wash on your trip! It is however telling you that unless you're going to a remote village somewhere, you can probably buy your essentials there and not need to waste space in your bag bringing them. If you absolutely have to, then go out and buy travel size before the trip.
No matter where you’re headed, adventure awaits! And you don’t want “stuff” holding you back. Being a light packer makes you more ready to travel at a moment’s notice and enjoy a stress-free voyage. If you’re a pro-packer, what other advice do you have?