Traveling Light can be incredibly difficult to fathom for many consumers these days.
But, if you’re able to master this skill, I can assure you that your next adventure will have more fun and less stress. If you haven’t had checked luggage lost before, I’m sure you know someone that has. Losing all of your personal belongings or even having them delayed for a few days can result in quite a hassle to your vacation. By having all you need in a lightweight backpack or carry on, you eliminate this as an option. Yes, it means you’ll be toting around your things, but isn’t that a new found freedom? While everyone else from your plane is waiting at the luggage carousel, you will be trotting out the doors, unburdened by a huge rolling suitcase. So, if you’re ready for a new way to adventure, let’s dive into these tips on traveling light.
1. Go Minimalist When it Comes to Clothes
Alright, we’re going to get the hardest part out of the way first. Layout every article of clothing you would like to wear on your trip. Yes, that is probably going to be an entire suitcase full. But, understand that you will be bringing very little of this. So, begin to look at each piece of clothing. Can it be worn more than one way, or with more than one other item? If so, it’s made it past the first round. Secondly, is it versatile enough to be worn on the plane, to brunch, and sightseeing for a day in a new city? If it’s not comfortable, breathable, and stylish, it stays behind. Finally, is it bulky? Even if you have one specific clothing item you adore, it might simply just take too much room. If so, it also has to stay behind.
That mindset should help you pare down your clothes quite a bit. If you’re still struggling, I’ll get more specific on how to pack light for you. You only need to bring one pair of solid jeans or attractive traveling pants. The latter is a lightweight option that will take up much less space in your suitcase. Additionally, one pair of dressy shorts should get you through. Keep these a neutral tone, so that you can bring three to five shirts and sweaters to mix and match on top. One dressier outfit can also be thrown in. Extra points if it can be dressed up and down depending on your shoe. I would recommend investing in some performance underwear that can be easily hand washed in a sink overnight. That and a good pair of wool socks can keep you feeling fresh for days with few items.
2. Trim Down Your Toiletries
Women usually have three to four times the amount of products on the bathroom counter as men. This usually converts over to traveling when their cosmetics bag is the same size as their partner’s clothes bag. So, this category of traveling light is more so for the ladies. First things first, it’s okay to invest in an all-in-one body wash, shampoo, and conditioner for a few days. It will limit the number of bottles you bring which saves so much space. If you will be staying at hotels, forgo this all together. You’ll save space and money by simply using the provided toiletries at the hotel. Secondly, pick out and perfect hairstyles that don’t need curling or blow drying. This may mean investing in a cute hairband to toss everything easily up in a bun and keep it tame throughout the day. If you want to look more chic than that, a cute hat will do the trick.
The next part of traveling light with toiletries is make-up. Having confidence in who you are and being an artist with your face as the palate are both beautiful things. That being said, you are beautiful and unique, and it’s more than okay to let that shine! So, pick one or two makeup elements that let you feel spunky without weighing down your bag. For me, that would be blush and mascara. Everything else can lay by the wayside. When your traveling light anyway, people will be looking at the huge smile on your face rather than anything else. So, pare down that makeup bag too.
3. Invest in Experiences, Not Souvenirs
Hang Gliding off a cliff, skiing in the Alps, and galavanting across Spain all sound pretty great, right? Well, if you’re unhindered by tangible things and don’t have space to bring home trinkets, you’ll have more time and money to see the sights. This might just mean a spa day for you in Paris, but either way, investing in experiences will give you so much more than a little Eiffel tower figurine. Or, if you must by tangible things, experience the food of the culture more than you ever have! Is it chocolate from Belgium or pad thai from Thailand that you’ve been craving? Save the money you would’ve spent on a souvenir and truly dive into the culture of where you are.
4. Packing It In Quality
If you truly are going be traveling light, what you put everything in is incredibly important. You will get stressed out about paring down your things if you can’t find the right thing quickly or your suitcase if jumbled up. So, you can choose to rock some of the best lightweight carry on luggage out there. Usually under six pounds, these options are easy to breeze around a city with. Granted, they are still a rolling suitcase, so some European flights may charge you for them. But, for one large plane flight, they will fit all you need. If you can get by with something small (which you can!), then check out our favorite weekender bags.
Weekender bags allow you to bring just enough to get by for a few days. But, if you pack smart, you can rock the same few days over and over again. This allows you to fit your whole vacation into a small, simple bag. With the wide opening, you won’t be stressed like you are shuffling through a top-loading backpack. Also, weekender bags are cute! Adding more style than a rolling suitcase, you can go straight to a bar or hit the town without stopping by your hotel, and you won’t even look like a tourist. These bags allow you to blend in with the locals most places, giving you a more true experience. So, if this doesn’t help coax you towards traveling light, I’m not sure what will.
5. Take Advantage of Technology
Look around you and take note of all the technology you have. Most likely, you have a tablet, a laptop, an e-reader of some sort, a phone, and all the matching cords to go with these. Well, if your phone doesn’t work in the foreign country anyway, leave it behind. But, more importantly, don’t bring that laptop along! Hotels have business centers for a reason. Also, with less technology to distract you, you’ll spend more time seeking out adventures. Isn’t that what traveling light is all about anyway? If you have a tablet, feel free to slide that in your bag. For the limited time, you will be reading, use this as your Kindle substitute. Additionally, you can keep your music, movies, and games on there for that transatlantic flight. This lets you forgo lugging that heavy book on the plane as well. No one likes to carry it around, especially after you’ve finished it!
6. Use Packing Cubes
They sound a little cheesy, but they are perfectly limiting and helpful when it comes to figuring out how much to bring. These lightweight zippered pouches let you organize just enough so that you know exactly what you’re bringing. Grab one for tops, one for bottoms, and one for toiletries. The socks and underwear can fill in all the gaps in your bag. One thing to be wary of when shopping for minimalist packing cubes: Don’t get them too small. Yes, I said that. You do want a decent size in these. If you have too many small pouches, like makeup bags, they leave a lot of wasted space. So, pick three to four that combined take up about eighty percent of your bag. Then, you’ll be ready to pack efficiently and crush this whole traveling light challenge.
Traveling light is not for the faint of heart, but for the adventurer looking to get the most out of their next excursion.
By investing in clothing that works for you, you’ll have less baggage to deal with and have an easier time choosing outfits. This allows you to be freer to have a spontaneous day trip somewhere without being bogged down with stuff. If you need to switch hotels for any reason, go for it. You have everything you need on your back anyway. By traveling light, you won’t ever have a lost suitcase again, unless you’re incredibly prone to leaving your purse somewhere. So, dress up and pare your things down, because your next adventure is going to blow you away.
Related Article: Best Lightweight Carry On Luggage (Plus How to Make the Best Choice)