Each year travelers spend about $716 billion on leisure travel. Those that travel the most are experts in traveling light.
But if you have never traveled or don’t travel often, this concept may seem bewildering and frustrating. How do you know what to pack and what to leave at home? What if you get to your destination and realize you under packed?
So you’re packing for that perfect girl’s trip to Mykonos, but you’re struggling to limit yourself. Not to worry! Follow these eight tips to pack like a pro and pack light.
1. Start with the Right Bag
The best way to get started with packing light is to use the right bag. Custom tote bags in a smaller size prevent you from over packing by limiting your space.
Use this smaller bag as your carry on so that you aren’t tempted to pack everything in your closet. They are the perfect size for carrying the essentials that you don’t want in your checked luggage.
2. Do a Must Have vs. Nice to Have Test
Focus on only packing those items that are a “must-have.” Your hairbrush and toothbrush fall into this category.
Your one dress that is slightly fancy and might be nice to have if you go to a restaurant where this fancier dress is appropriate is a “nice to have.”
Most first time travelers try to overcompensate for their insecurity by being overprepared. But when you ask them how that worked out, they wish they had packed half as much.
3. Aim for Versatility
When you go to pack your clothing and shoes, try to pick pieces that are versatile. That way you only have to pack a week’s worth of clothing.
Those clothes can last more than a week by pairing them in different ways throughout your trip. No one will notice or realize you are recycling your outfit pieces.
This strategy works really well for shoes. Shoes tend to take up a ton of valuable real estate in your luggage. So if you can create multiple outfits from one pair of shoes, you free up a lot of space for other essentials.
4. Don’t Wait to Pack
If you wait until the last minute, then you are stressed about leaving and rushing to get done. You won’t make clear, well thought out decisions. You end up stress packing which consists of shoving a bunch of unnecessary things in your bag.
5. Don’t Stuff Your Luggage to the Max
A good rule of thumb is to try and leave a quarter of your suitcase empty. This may seem like a tall order for a newbie to traveling light.
You’ll find that it is well worth it to try and accomplish for two reasons. First, it gives you some breathing and maneuvering room when you load and unload your suitcase during your travels.
The other thing it does is it leaves you space for anything you may buy during your travels. If you leave home with no spare space, you’ll have to buy another piece of luggage or mail your souvenirs home.
6. Roll Your Clothes
When you fold your clothes, they take up more room than if you roll them. This means you can fit more in your luggage when you roll. Rolling will also help you keep your item wrinkle free.
Don’t just do any rolling method. The best method to use is the Ranger Rolling method.
Start by laying your item of clothing out flat.
Then take the bottom of your item, let’s say a shirt, and fold it up two inches. Do this by flipping the bottom up, so the inside is out and creates a sort of pocket. Fold the entire shirt in thirds making sure to keep the sleeves flat.
Now start rolling from the opposite end of the fold. Then fold one side of the pocket over the roll to secure everything in place.
This method is similar to the rolling sock method you may be familiar with. With this method, you lay one sock on top of the other. Then roll them up starting at the toes.
When you get to the end, you take the top of the one sock and flip it over the entire roll. Now your rolled clothing is tightly secured in place.
Don’t limit yourself to rolling each item individually. For quick and easy unpacking and dressing, roll an entire outfit together. Then when you get to your destination, you only have to grab a roll to have your entire outfit in hand and ready to go.
7. Use a List
Instead of sifting through your belongings and deciding what to bring, use a list. Think of this like going to the grocery store with a list. If you go grocery shopping without a list, it is much harder to only buy the needed essentials.
The same dilemma applies to packing. Without a list to follow it will be much harder to stick to your “must haves.”
When you stick to a list, it is also easier to resist the urge to fill extra space. So now the list is helping you accomplish #5 on this list.
8. Get Creative with Toiletries
Large full-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner take up way too much room in your luggage. You also risk them accidentally opening and making a huge mess.
Instead, you could opt for the solid version. Yes, that’s right, there are solid versions of all of your essential toiletries. This includes shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.
If this doesn’t appeal to you, you can always buy your toiletries when you get to your destination. Just try to find a local store so that you don’t have to pay tourist prices.
Your final option is to pack the travel size of your favorite products. This ensures you have the brands you want but doesn’t require you to bring huge containers.
Traveling Light like a Pro
Traveling light is all about planning and being realistic about what you need. Focus on items that have multiple uses and don’t take up a ton of room.
Want more tips and tricks to improve your travel experience? Be sure to check out our blog.