Whether you’re taking a holiday or backpacking, packing light can be tough – especially as most of us have a tendency to want to over-prepare for any extended period of time away from home. However, by not taking too many items on your trip, you are freeing yourself up to be able to manoeuvre your luggage with ease, avoiding long suitcase check-in queues, and potentially saving yourself from injury. In this guide, we take a look at a few top tips to help you pack light for your travels.
Consider your itinerary
To pack light, you’ll first want to think in detail about your plans for your trip, to ensure that you’re packing only what you really need, and avoiding any items that aren’t completely necessary. You may want to consider any activities you’ll be partaking in – will you be swimming, or spending time hiking? Will you need clothes for hot weather or colder temperatures?
By thinking about your scheduled plans ahead of time, you can start to recognise which items are necessary for your trip, and avoid packing any ‘just in case’ items that are extremely unlikely to ever make it out of your suitcase.
Choose the right travel bag
Once you know which items you’ll need for your trip, you’ll want to consider the kind of travel bag or suitcase that would be most suitable for you. To decide, it’s a good idea to think about your mode of travel – many airlines will publish the size and weight restrictions for luggage allowed onboard, but this often serves as a helpful guideline for those attempting to pack light.
You’ll again want to think about any activities you’ll be participating in. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time on your feet, a comfortable, appropriately-sized backpack is a good option – whereas those expecting a laid back holiday may find a more basic suitcase practical.
With the help of your travel itinerary, you should be able to work out which items, if any, you’ll need to purchase for your travels. You’ll want to make an effort to shop for small, light items, and avoid heavy garments that will take up a lot of space in your bag or suitcase.
To shop smart, you’ll first want to consider any items that you already have at home – and then whether it would be worth shopping around for a more compact alternative. This may mean that you buy clothing that is more expensive, but perhaps needs less fabric to be warm or durable. Similarly, you’ll want to invest in versatile items where you can, for example, a jacket that is activity appropriate and waterproof, but will also look great and function as appropriate clothing for a social event.
For a top tip, think also about which items you may be able to borrow or rent once you get to your destination – this will usually be things like sports equipment, or waterproof clothing. This is a great way to avoid purchasing items that would take up a lot of space in your travel bag, that you may only need for a short period of time.
Get the essentials packed
Ultimately, the best way to ensure that you are packing as light as possible, is to start by packing only the most essential items you’ll need for your trip. You can do this by first prioritising your different items to figure out which ones are absolutely necessary and which ones you may be able to leave behind if you run out of space. Then, once you’ve packed the most basic items that you know you’ll need to get by, you can reassess everything else that you have, and fit in as needed.
The best part about this packing process is that it can often help you to really understand which items are most important to you, and which items you could probably do without – potentially allowing you to give them away to someone else who might need them, or to return them in exchange for a refund. This is often a welcome bonus for anyone planning an extended (and potentially expensive) travel trip!