Step up your travel game by packing light and lessening your load.

Packing light is more of a challenge for some people than others. Maybe you have trip packing down to a science, and can roll clothes tightly in your sleep. Or perhaps you are more like the average traveler, and often find yourself packing way too much for a trip (like, did you really need to bring a fifth sweater on that Caribbean cruise?). Some brilliant travel gurus get by for weeks with just a carry on sized bag. If you like to save money and time by just taking a weekender bag with you to the airport, then this is just the place to look. With practice and a few helpful tips, you can start lightening your load as well.

If you feel a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of leaving some of your belongings behind, don’t worry. You are not in this alone. We have a couple pieces of advice to aid you in this process. Check out these five tips for packing light with just a weekender bag.

Use these 5 tips when packing light on your next trip.

packing light - packing list

1. Make a list, and then check it twice.

Old Saint Nick might have had the right idea when it comes to keeping organized. It is so easy to just write down everything that comes to mind when making a packing list. But it is a good habit to do this for your first draft, and then look over exactly what you wrote down. Go over each item, and ask yourself if you will absolutely need it during your trip. Some things you don’t even have to bring, because you can get them at your destination. If staying in a hotel, you can skip items such as shampoo and body wash, as the hotel often includes them. If you are scrounging for a little extra space, consider little travel hacks. One handy one is not packing pajamas, and then just purchasing a cheap oversized tourist t-shirt to use during the trip. This is also a good way to get a comfortable and useful souvenir.

2. The smaller the bag, the less you bring.

packing light - Carry-on bag

The less space you have available, the less items you can pack. Of course this is an obvious concept, but it is helpful to keep in mind if you are trying to stay minimalistic. If you want to push beyond your personal comfort zone and cut down on your packing list, then opt for a smaller weekender bag. Packing light doesn’t have to be a dreaded thing; it can be an exciting challenge. Another reason you need to check the size of your bag, is to make you are within airport guidelines. Carry-on bag sizes vary depending on which airline you fly with, so save an unnecessary headache by researching this beforehand. If your weekender bag is not more than 20 lbs or 20 inches in length, you should not have any issues while traveling.

3. Plan your wardrobe ahead of time.

Before you start stuffing your weekender bag with everything you think you want to wear, take a step back. For any kind of packing situation, it is helpful to lay everything out beforehand to fully assess whether or not you actually need it. This applies to your wardrobe too. Pick out your go to outfit options, however many items you need for the length of your trip. Don’t be afraid to mix and match various pieces. This saves space and gives you a chance to experiment with unique outfit options. Try and stick to neutral colored clothes if possible, to ensure that you get the most out of the items you bring.

4. Think about previous trips.

A good thing to remember when packing light is your past trips. You can probably recall a trip where you simply brought much more than you actually needed. Most people end up bringing a lot more things than they need for a weekend trip. Thinking back to that Caribbean cruise, you probably didn’t need those five sweaters. As you think about your past adventures, consider the items you brought that you did not end up using. Whether it was that pair of running shoes or bulky sweater, make sure you cross it off the packing list this time around. These trial and error travel moments are also opportunities to learn in the future.

5. When in doubt, compress and roll everything.

The quickest way to save some space in your weekender bag is to change the way you fold your clothes. Generally, rolling clothes is the tried and true method for snagging a few more inches of room. Try and lay the clothing flat and roll tightly to lessen the changes of wrinkles. Roll and stack all of your clothing items, with the bulkiest pieces on the bottom of the bag. If you want an extra space saver tip, use a plastic zip bag and roll all of the air out before zipping shut. The plastic bags act as vacuum seal, ensuring that no extra air is taking up space. If you have heavier clothing items such as large sweaters or jackets, wear them onto the plane so that you don’t take up unnecessary space.

Now you are a pro at packing light, it is time to embark on the next adventure.

See that wasn’t so challenging now, was it? Of course the best packing light tip is to simply just do it. It might be uncomfortable at first, but remember that most things you forget to pack, you can easily purchase later. There is more reward than loss when it comes to a minimalist packing approach. If you just take a weekender bag, you save money by not needing checked luggage. This also gives you the freedom to exit the airport as soon as your plane lands, without waiting around for the baggage carousel. As you cut back on your travel packing list, you also lighten your load and free up room for more souvenirs. Overall, we recommend that you try packing light for your next trip, and see for yourself just how freeing it can be.

Related Article: Best Weekender Bags for Travel in 2018