There are so many good reasons to pack light these days… easy to jump on and off local transport, don’t feel weighed down, safer than hauling around lots of bags, save time at airports and the big one, no airline baggage fees!
But, how to pack lightly? That’s the real questions…it’s actually not as hard as it sounds!
Here’s a few tips to help you pack light with precision
Here’s how to travel light by packing only what you need – and a few packing hacks to help lighten your suitcase!
1. Buy shampoo when you get there
There’s no risk of having to clean up after a leaky bottle disaster, no liquids in your hand luggage and it cuts down on weight. Take travel size screw top bottles with you so that it doesn’t matter if you buy flip top shampoo (always risky), plus you can re-fill the same bottles for years.
2. Take your mobile/cell phone
Okay, we know that you’re definitely taking your cell phone with. But…it also helps you to pack lightly as it can double as a camera, calculator, alarm clock and torch in one, even GPS and endless other app features.
3. Spend a little extra on your travel wardrobe
Buy the UV protection, non-wrinkle and breathable fabric – common in most outdoor clothing stores. The best thing about these clothes is that they are lightweight, look good for longer, so you can get away with less washing.
The ideal standard wardrobe is 2 pair of trousers with zip-off legs, 2 t-shirts and 2 collared travel shirts – all made from this material. Then depending on your destination add the layers, like a fleece and waterproof jacket.
4. Shoes – take one good pair
Footwear take up a lot of space, so just take one comfortable pair that you can wear on the plane and use for all your sightseeing. Goretex shoes are breathable so keep your feet dry and warm, but also easy to wear in hot temperatures. If you want to shoes to match your outfits, go for a neutral colour. The only other shoes you should then need are the lightweight and very practical sandals, thongs or flip-flops.
5. Download guidebooks and e-books
If you have a smart phone or iPad, download your guide book (or at least the chapters that you need), plus save city info, reviews, maps and other references so you can refer to it off-line. Also forget about lugging around 3 books of 600 pages each, store your favourite trilogy as an audio file that takes up no space at all. Or, if you prefer the written word, download your books on a Kindle.
6. Electrical cords – plan in advance
Check the power supply and electrical sockets for where you’ll be travelling. Then look at what devices you’ll be taking and see if you can cut down on cords by charging together eg charge your phone via your laptop. A lot of devices today run from kettle cords and you can get international kettle cords adapters or couplers.
7. Clothes folding vs. rolling
Many travellers swear by the rolling method (and it’s a good one for carry-on bags and backpacks), but at the risk of starting an international debate, here’s another option to try: laying clothes flat. It will depend on the size of your bag, but if you don’t even fold your items (except for your trousers) some travellers will swear this is the most space-efficient method that leaves clothes relatively wrinkle-free.
8. Make a packing list and keep it for future trips
Keep a spreadsheet on your computer that you can refine over the years and list all the possible items you might need to take on an overseas trip. Next time it will only 10 minutes to pack because you have an expert list already prepared, plus you’re less likely to weigh yourself down at the last minute with unnecessary items.
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