Packing Light Tips & Tricks for Every Trip
Do be a pro traveler you have to be a pro packer and know how to pack light. We are sharing all of the secrets with you so you can become pro packers and learn how to pack light too. Packing light is beneficial for so many reasons. For one, carrying less weight is always a blessing for your back (if you have a backpack) or your arm (if hauling a suitcase). Also, having a suitcase with only the essentials in it will save you time when deciding what to wear on your trips. Packing light means traveling light, which means living light. If you are interested in minimalism and packing light, then continue reading for tips and tricks concerning how to pack light. If you a traveler who is prone to overpacking, then you will appreciate these 6 tips.
Becoming a Pro Packer: How to Pack Light
1. You don’t need that… or that… or that… or that.
Let’s be honest, you don’t need all that you think you need when packing for a trip. After you set aside clothes and shoes that you intend to pack, immediately cut the items in half. Put half back in your closet and dresser right away. We know how easy it is to start getting lost down rabbit trails of “what ifs”
What if get to my destination and regret not packing these pants? I just have to take them. What if we go somewhere super fancy for dinner? I’ll need this dress just in case. And what if there isn’t an iron to get the wrinkles out of my patterned top? I will need to bring another shirt as a backup.
No, no, no. You don’t need all that you think you need. And concerning the shirt that may need ironing? Don’t even bring it. If there is even a slight possibility that an article of clothing may not be worn, put it back in your closet. Save the space in your suitcase and pack only that items that do not need to be ironed and the items that you are certain to wear.
All the “backup” outfit plans have got to go. It will be like tearing off a Band Aid–painful but needed–to leave these items at home. But listen, we believe in you. Reject all the “what ifs” that flash into your mind and only pack what you know you will wear. Nothing more than that. Be honest with yourself and if you need help ripping off the Band Aid, then ask a honest friend (who can make decisions and knows how to pack light) to come help you take on this task.
2. Color coordinate your clothing
Find yourself a color scheme and stick to it. As a base, gather together your natural colors. Blacks, whites, grays, and browns all match perfectly with one another. From there, you can then pack some accent colors such as bright colored scarves or a bright colored cardigan. Neutrals are also ideal because they work with any occasion. It doesn’t matter where you are traveling or what you are traveling for, neutrals are always welcome and accepted. Whether it is a business meeting, family vacation, or a European backpacking trip, neutral colors are the way to go.
If the neutral basics are just too, well, basic for you, then pick one color that you do enjoy wearing and work around it. Make sure that everything you pack can be used to create more than one outfit. Don’t pack the sparkly top that only goes with the black pants. If you are only going to wear it once, then leave the sparkly top at home and instead exchange it for a color or pattern that you are likely to wear at least twice on your trip. You can hand wash clothes from your hotel room, hostel, or Airbnb, so no need to get grossed out by re-wearing an article of clothing. Get creative and become an expert in versatility.
3. Layers will be your friend
In order to pack light, you will have to master the art of layering. There may be 7 days in a week, but you don’t need 7 shirts for a weeklong vacation. If you are serious about packing light, then you really only need around 3 tops. For instance, pack a black top, a navy-blue top, and a brown colored top. Rotate those colors in and out each day. Toss on a gray cardigan one day and a white cardigan on the next to change up the outfit. Pack 1 or 2 thin, lightweight scarves as well and rotate them in to give yourself a different look for the remainder of your travel days.
Layering with cardigans, lightweight jackets, scarves, and accessories will be your best friend. It is so easy to completely change your look when you pack these items with you. Plus, the various accessories and scarves that you bring will either dress up or dress down your outfit. Having such versatility is key when learning how to pack light. Don’t be afraid of the layers.
4. Roll your clothes
Let’s get rolling. Rolling clothes into your suitcase will 1) save place and 2) prevent wrinkles. Having folded clothing stacked in your suitcase leaves creases. Rolled clothing does not leave creases and wrinkles.. Plus, from within a carry-on suitcase or a backpack, rolled tops, pants, dresses, and cardigans can be easily spotted and retrieved. When you stack folded clothes, you have to dig them out and before you know it, your entire suitcase or backpack has become a mess.
To maximize space in your luggage and minimize wrinkles, stop the folding and get rolling. Another great tip when it comes to packing clothes is to place your bulkiest clothing items at the bottom of your bag. Those thick sweaters and pants should all be placed at the bottom to conserve space and evenly distribute the weight. Lighter articles of clothing will then sit gently on top. When you do this, you will be able to see all of your clothing options much easier. There will no longer be bulky, thick sweaters blocking your view right when you open your bag.
5. Minimize your toiletries
That bronzer that you only wear occasionally, sometimes, every now and then, depending on the time of day, and the weather, and the outfit you’re wearing? Do yourself and your suitcase a favor and leave it at home. That travel dry shampoo that you always thought was a great idea and love to have on hand just incase, but you have never used it while traveling because you’re not a dry shampoo type of person? Leave it at home with the bronzer that only occasionally, sometimes, every now and then, gets used. This trip probably won’t be any different. Those items won’t be used. And there is a 99% chance that you will not regret leaving them at home. You’ll actually end up forgetting about the products altogether on your trip.
Remember, we aren’t playing the “what if” game. Only bring the items that you use daily. And even then, if it’s not absolutely essential, then don’t pack it.
If able, opt for a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. Or, if you really want to save space, rely on the hotel shampoo bottles or purchase toiletry items on the road. It is not always practical or cost-effective to buy items on the road, but if you want to pack light, then you are certainly invited to do so.
6. Wear your bulkiest items in route
Boots, sneakers, and puffy jackets take up far too much room in a suitcase. However, sandals and flip flops fit like a glove inside of suitcases. Therefore, we recommend saving space in your pack by wearing your bulkiest items in transit. Also, while you are at it, stuff your jacket pockets with small items like headphones, lip balm, lotion, and tissues. Keeping your jacket pockets full of extra belongings will keep your suitcase or backpack even more lightweight.
Pack Light, Travel Light, Live Light, Be Light, Spread Light
Don’t play the “what if” game, color coordinate your clothing, pack clothing you can layer and accessorize to maximize outfit options, roll your clothes into your suitcase, minimize your toiletries, and wear your bulkiest items in transit. Follow these steps (follow these steps honestly) and your suitcase will be light and spacious and only contain the items that you will actually wear/use. Many of us are prone to overpacking. Even us at Trekbible are guilty of overpacking from time to time. Abide by these steps concerning how to pack light and you are sure to be traveling light and living light during your next trip.
What are your best tips and tricks concerning how to pack light? Share them all in the comments section below! We look forward to hearing your pro tips.
Related Article: Camping Checklist: The Items Typically Forgotten