Pro Tips for Packing Light

by GO GlobeHopper

No matter how you look at it, packing light is the first step to enjoying a hassle-free vacation.  But somehow, we all end up taking along much more than we need in our luggage. So here are some tips for packing light that will help you lug less, pay less checked-bag fees, and save room for souvenirs to bring back home.

Start with your bag first, not with clothing and other items. That way, you’ll always have in mind the size and shape of everything you bring. Lay out every item you plan to pack. If you’re not sure you’ll use the item, chances are that you won’t need it.

Consider basic wardrobe pieces that you can mix and match and wear in multiple situations. Versatility and low maintenance are key. Choose colors that go with everything – neutrals are your best bet, particularly for bottoms (pants, shorts, skirts).  And select pieces that can be worn comfortably and casually or dressed with accessories such as a belt or jewelry.

To avoid wasted space in your suitcase, pack belts, socks, and similar small items inside your shoes. If you’re concerned about dirty soles rubbing off on your clothing, slip them into a plastic or brown paper bag.  And speaking of shoes, avoid packing more than two pairs: a packed pair for dressier activities and a more casual and comfortable pair (the pair you’ll be wearing when traveling). Roll shirts, shorts, and pants. Rolling them up with care will minimize the space each takes up without causing undue wrinkles. Or, opt for packing cubes which help with organization as well as space.

Wrinkle-free and synthetic items are your friends. They pack quickly, and unpacking and repacking them won’t cause them to crease as easily as cotton, linen, or silk.  Moreover, they’re often relatively stain-repellant, and synthetic threads tend to dry fairly quickly if you need to wash them out in your hotel room or get caught in the rain.

If you’re going on a beach vacation or to any warmer climate, your clothing options likely won’t be bulky and you’ll need fewer clothing items.  If you’re heading to a cooler climate and will require heavier clothing, try to wear the bulkiest items on the flight, if possible, such as jeans and a jacket or sweater.  If they’re on you, they won’t be taking up space in your luggage.

Avoid packing toiletries that are included with your hotel/resort room, or that you could easily buy at your destination from a local drugstore or superstore (obviously, buying from a hotel gift shop would be unnecessarily pricey). Also, no need to pack bulky towels that will be waiting for you at your hotel. And leave any maps or travel books at home. You can look up most things on your phone if needed. Or, consult your hotel concierge to help you plan activities and make reservations.

Finally, the accommodations you choose can also assist in helping you to pack less.  With so many condo-type hotels available, as well as Airbnb and VRBO options, in-unit washers and dryers are becoming more common. This allows you to pack less and wash your clothes whenever needed.  Throw in a load before you go out for dinner and pop them into the dryer when you return to your room. And launder items before you depart for home so they’ll be clean, fresh, and ready to wear when you get there, thereby making unpacking just as quick and easy as packing.


Photo: Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash




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