Packing light doesn’t come easily to most people. However, it’s a skill you can hone with a little planning and organization. Here’s some of my best tips for evolving into a light packer.
1. Choose versatile clothing and footwear that fit into your travel activities. Versatile clothing means you pack fewer items, especially if they can do double duty.
2. Stick to simple color schemes and patterns so that all clothing mixes and matches. Separates give you lots of outfit possibilities. Add colorful accents if desired.
3. A packing list can help you organize the items you’re bringing. Critically look at the packing list and see where items can be eliminated or replaced with lightweight or double duty items.
4. Do what I call a “shakedown” a week or so before departure. Lay everything out that’s on your packing list and make sure all clothing coordinates. Try things on if necessary because you may not have access to a full-length mirror during your trip and you want to ensure all your outfits fit well. Edit out any unnecessary items. Note any thing you might be missing.
5. Bring enough outfits to last a few days and plan on laundering clothing. That can mean doing laundry in hotel/hostel sinks, laundromats, or using a laundry service.
6. Lightweight materials dry quicker and take up less space than bulky knits. Look for clothing made from modal, viscose, rayon, tencel, cotton blends or lightweight cotton. Avoid 100% bulky cotton clothing, it takes too long to air dry and takes up too much precious space.
7. Wear bulky items on travel days. Items such as jeans, sweaters, boots, and coats worn on travel days keep your luggage light.
8. Choose clothes that help you layer appropriately for the weather conditions of your destination.
9. Accessories increase your outfit options and keep your looks from being boring. A belt changes a look instantly, so can a scarf. Introduce color and pattern in you accessories if you like.
10. Pack double duty toiletry items. If you are carrying on luggage make sure all toiletry items meet TSA standards.
11. Keep your secondary carry on bag light as well. There’s nothing worse than lugging around a heavy carry-on in addition to your luggage (I’ve been there).
12. Constantly edit and evaluate what you plan on bringing. Look at your packing list after a trip and note any unused items. This will help you pack for your next trip and become a light traveler.
What are your favorite packing light tips?
The visuals above show a suggested wardrobe for a visit to any cosmopolitan city with a typical tourist agenda of sightseeing and dining out.