Packing light is essential for a relaxed and stress-free vacation. There are always mishaps that occur when traveling and the last thing you want is to deal with is lugging multiple cumbersome suitcases along with you as you travel.
When I think back to dark days of packing ignorance when almost every article of clothing from my closet was stuffed into numerous suitcases, paying $50 fees for an overweight luggage and carrying heavy bags through cities, up flights of stairs, on and off buses, I have to laugh at myself. Furthermore, more than half of the items I packed were never used or worn. I truly believe I have finally mastered the art of packing light for our travels.
The Dark Days of Packing– An over-packing nightmare at its finest a few years ago!
Brooke always prefers to push her luggage. Not exactly sure why:)
Over the past few years, we’ve reduced our luggage to one small carry-on bag per person, as well as a backpack–no matter what the length of the trip may be. So what’s in our suitcases and how do we accomplish this tremendous feat?
Here are Our Top Ten Tips For Traveling Light–No Matter What The length of Your Trip May Be:
- Only pack enough clothes for 7 days. Even if you are going on a two month vacation, it is so much easier to wash clothes than to lug heavy suitcases around. Pack concentrated laundry detergent and quick-drying, synthetic clothing.
- Make a daily wardrobe calendar. Literally write down what you are going to wear each day of the trip. This calendar goes on the very top of the packed suitcase and is referred to everyday of the trip. This strategy completely removes any stress regarding “what to wear” decisions when traveling and forces you not to pack any “maybes.” If you don’t have a set itinerary for traveling, then just make your list more generic (ie…3 outfits for restaurants, two pairs of pants for chilly evenings, etc).
- Packing light is simple once you master the art of layering your clothes. Choose a color combination and pack only pieces that match this attire. That way you can mix, match and layer to create different looks rather than packing completely separate outfits. Also make sure you pack as many wrinkle free articles as possible.
- Rather than packing your bulkiest clothes, wear them on the journey to and from. We always wear our jeans or leggings with a t-shirt, sweater and jacket or coat on the plane, along with our most cumbersome shoes–usually sneakers or boots. If you become warm while traveling, use the excess clothing as a cushion for your pillow.
- Never pack more than three pairs of shoes. This usually includes running/hiking shoes, dressy shoes and flip flops or sandals.
- Forget bringing actual guidebooks or novels–electronic reading is the only solution to lightening your load.
- (This one is Brooke’s brilliant idea) Ball up your socks and underwear and stick them inside your shoes – this saves space in the rest of your bag. In the past I used to put these in the smaller top section of the suitcase and it just made it that much more difficult to zipper, as well as fitting your luggage in the overhead compartment on the plane.
- Unless you’re traveling to a remote village with no electricity or running water, buy your toiletries at your destination. We do not carry any liquids with us–no shampoos, conditioners, lotions, face wash or any liquid products of any kind. Upon arrival at our destination, we immediately head to a local store for all of our toiletry needs. This also significantly lightens the weight of your luggage.
- Purchase a packable shelving system for your suitcase. This was a life saver for our 3-week trip to Europe. We were traveling to so many countries, packing and unpacking every few days, so this system made it so easy to organize our outfits. A traveling life-changer honestly! We also always pack nylon sports bags and small purses on these shelves to use when touring cities or hiking.
- Finally, versatility is key. For us, packing a casual sundress that we can wear to tour a city, but can also easily transform into an elegant evening outfit with the right jewelry is the perfect example. We can throw on a cardigan and leggings with the same sundress to completely change the look.
A hands free day of travel is the way to go.
We hope our guidelines help to lighten your load when you are ready to pack for your next adventure!