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How to Pack Smart and Travel Light

How to Pack Smart and Travel Light
May 30
19:32 2016

With the advent of airlines charging fees for checked baggage and ever decreasing space on board sold-out flights, packing smart and travelling light has never been more important. With the right luggage, proper planning and a little research, you can bypass baggage claim and avoid schlepping heavy bags wherever you may roam.

How to Pack Smart And Travel Light

Here are the top tips for packing smart for your next trip:


Consider the type of holiday you are taking. Are you going on a cruise? Spending time sightseeing in cities? Beaching it? Backpacking? Your planned activities will dictate what you need to pack. What is the climate like in your destination? What is the culture? How remote is it? These are all things to consider before you place any items in your bag.


Choose ONE, durable, carry-on sized bag. If you do this, you are guaranteed to have fewer issues than your fellow travellers hauling overstuffed, wheeled and unwieldy luggage. It will also save you money and time, especially in the event of unscheduled changes in plans. You will be more mobile and less likely to be pegged instantly as a tourist. While everyone else is waiting in line at Baggage Claim, you will be on your way to your hotel.

How to Pack Smart And Travel Light

Make a List

Much like grocery shopping, you will be much more likely not to over pack if you have a detailed, comprehensive list of all the things you will need on your trip. With a list, you can check things off as you pack them, ensuring you won’t forget anything important.

Choosing What to Pack

Pack items that you feel most comfortable and confident in and can be worn more than once. Pack layers in classic styles and colours that are easily mixed and matched so you are ready for sudden changes in weather. Choose wrinkle-free pieces and items that can be hand-washed. Accessories, like pretty scarves, can dress up just about any outfit without taking up precious space or adding heft. Put comfort above all else when choosing which shoes to pack. Once you’ve got your preliminary choices together, lay it all out and give it a good going over. Scrutinise each item and determine if it’s necessary and will be used enough to merit the space it takes up.

How to Pack Smart And Travel Light

How to Pack

Place shoes in light cloth shoe bags to keep them from touching your clothes. Pack shoes around the outer edges of your bag and stuff them with socks and underwear. Pack delicates in small cloth bags as well to keep them organized and clean. For garments that don’t wrinkle, roll them tightly and stack them side-by-side. Fill every available space without overstuffing your bag. Leave a tiny amount of room if you will be purchasing souvenirs or pack less clothing and purchase some items abroad that double as souvenirs after your trip!

If you are a female, pack a small purse in your luggage to use while you are away without adding an additional carry-on piece. Use small containers for liquids like shampoo and conditioner and label them. Keep in mind, many hotels offer these amenities and unless you will be somewhere completely remote, there is likely to be a pharmacy, convenience or grocery store to find most common items.

How to Pack Smart And Travel Light


Unless you’re going to be away for an extended period, consider leaving your laptop at home. Use your smartphone for taking pictures, keeping in contact on social media, finding restaurant reviews and translating for you. There are many handy travel apps you can download to your phone to stay connected without lugging a laptop. Take a Kindle or iPad for reading. With a Wi-fi connection, it becomes a smaller version of your laptop. You can literally carry hundreds of books with you in very little space for those long flights and road trips. Of course, don’t forget your chargers!

Packing light is a skill you can learn and once you master it, you will use it time and again! You want to enjoy your trips, not worry about lost luggage or being overburdened with bulky, heavy suitcases. It’s easy to pack light and still look stylish in all those selfies and travel photos. With a little thought and planning, you can get by, even on a longer trip, with about a third of what you think you need. Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re packing for a getaway. It will only add to the fun!


About Author

Suitcase Stories

Suitcase Stories

Nicole Connolly is a full time traveller, freelance writer and lover of life. Travelling full-time since March 2012, Nicole and her husband Michael gave up their worldly possessions to travel indefinitely. Nicole shares stories, tips and guides on their travel blog Suitcase Stories.


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Infographics - Various informative and useful graphics by Bravofly!

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