7 Tips for Packing Light

One of the hardest things about traveling is packing and determining what you really need to take with you.  It is possible to travel with just a carry on but it can be difficult, especially depending on how long you will be gone.  But, if you have to really watch your pennies, it can be worthwhile.

Luggage (Photo credit: nhanusek)

Here are some tips to help you keep your luggage light, even if you cannot get down to only having a carry on.

Pack clothing that goes together

While black pants and jeans go with almost anything that may not be true of everything else you pack.  The more outfit combinations you can make with the least amount of clothing, the less you need to pack.  Two or three pairs of pants with 6 or 7 matching shirts can get you through an entire week.

Do laundry

This is especially true if you are going on a longer trip.  If you are gone for a month, there is no need to pack 30 different outfits.  Do a bit of research before you leave to check into laundry possibilities.  Many hotels will have facilities or can direct you to a service.  Even if it costs a bit more, it can be worth it for carrying that much less stuff.  Things like socks and underwear can be washed in a sink if need be.

Divide by half

A fun tip I have heard is to pack everything you think you will need and then take out half.  How many times have you come home from a trip and you realize that you did not even touch a bunch of the items you packed?  I know I have come home with a few clean shirts or socks that did not get worn.

Share some toiletries

If you are travelling with a partner or a friend, discuss with them the possibility of sharing toiletries.  Maybe you can share a tube of toothpaste or shampoo.  You may need to make a small compromise to make this work and hopefully they will do the same.

Travel size items

There are a lot of items that you can purchase in travel size such as shampoo, toothpaste, hand lotion and others if you are travelling solo or can’t share.  Consider purchasing these for your trip to keep your packing light.  If you cannot justify the price, go to the dollar store and buy empty containers and put your product into them.

Purchase there

Depending on what you need, consider purchasing it at your destination.  Take an extra bag with you and then buy at the other end.  Be aware that where you are going may not have the exact item you want and you may be out of luck.  When I went to Thailand, a lady I knew was looking for face moisturizer; everything she found had a whitening agent in it which she did not want.

Stuff Items in Others

While this tip will not make your bag lighter, it will maximize space.  Roll things or fold them so that they fit into others.  If you are packing shoes, ball up socks or underwear and place them inside the shoe.  Don’t waste that space that could be working for you.
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