Most of us can agree: travel is great, but luggage is not. Not only is it clumsy to haul bags up and down stairs in an airport or a train and bus station, but more and more airlines are also charging hefty fees for checked bags. And as if that weren’t enough, the whole process of checking a bag and then picking it up takes time— time you’d rather spend doing something else. Luckily, there are numerous packing tips that allow you the freedom to enjoy your travels without worrying about your luggage. So let’s go over some of them here.
1. Pack twice
It may sound silly, but if you want to pack light, pack twice! First, pack everything you can’t live without. Then, once you have all the necessities, take out half of what you packed and pack again. Remember, you can buy most things you need once you get to your destination, which is especially helpful with toiletries and liquids. They’re often heavy, bulky, and prone to leakage. You’ll save space and weight in your luggage if you simply buy them later. If you have specific toiletries you use, which are hard to find, transfer them to small containers (3.4 oz or 100 ml is the standard liquid size allowed in carry-on luggage). You can further prevent leakage by sealing each container with plastic wrap before sealing the lid.
2. Vacuum seal clothes
Why does sealing clothes in a ziplock save so much space? It prevents you from over packing. After all, once a ziplock is full, it’s full. It also helps shrink your clothes. You can use one bag for each type of clothing, or one per outfit. To create the vacuum effect, you can either get specialized ziplock vacuum bags or use ordinary ziplocks. If you’re going to use ordinary ziplocks, roll all of the air out of them first and then insert a straw and suck the rest of the air out. You can also use rubber bands to tie up your clothes before putting them in the ziplock bag.
3. Wash as you travel. It’s not always convenient, but it works
By packing packets of laundry detergent and washing your clothes yourself, you’ll be able to cut your luggage in half, or more! If there isn’t going to be a washing machine at your destination, you can use this neat trick: put your detergent in a big ziplock bag, put your clothes in with water, then seal the bag. Shake the bag vigorously until the detergent has dissolved. Then, simply leave the clothes to soak and later rinse them.
4. Roll, don’t fold
This tip can be paired with the vacuum packing tip, as rolling clothes into a ziplock is much easier than folding them. You can roll items individually, or you can put similar items into bundles and then roll the bundle. Furthermore, you can roll up small items, like socks or underwear, and put them into shoes (delicate items also do well in shoes). If you have any bulky items with you, like jackets or boots, wear them to save space while traveling instead of packing them. You can always remove layers as you go if you get overheated.
5. It’s what’s inside that matters: pack versatile clothing
Focusing on clothes in basic neutral colors like black, white, gray, and navy will make it easier for you to layer outfits as needed and pack less. For example, if you take six pieces of versatile clothes, you’ll be able to create up to eighteen different outfits! Also choose clothes that have multiple uses and are appropriate for different kinds of weather. For instance, consider packing synthetic materials, which are often lighter weight, take up less space, wrinkle less, and dry faster. Merino wool can also be worn for days without smelling or needing to be washed. Finally, remember to throw in one scarf! It makes an incredibly versatile accessory; you can use it as a mat, towel, picnic blanket, travel pillow, privacy curtain, and so on.
6. Don’t forget the basics: choose the best bag
Last, but not least, reconsider your choice of a travel bag. There are three things you want in a good travel bag: a good size, portability, and durability. A small bag is the way to go, ideally something you can carry on planes to avoid checking bags. The size limit for a carry-on bag depends on the airline, but a 21 x 14 x 8 bag should work for most airlines. Be sure to invest in a quality lightweight bag that will help you avoid excess weight, but won’t fall apart as you travel. Also, make sure that it opens up all the way to ensure that you have access to everything. Small items tend to shift to the bottom and may be forgotten.
Travel can be many things, but it doesn’t need to be bulky. By packing less and maximizing the space you have, it’ll be easy to breeze through your trips so that you can enjoy more time at your destination. As long as you’re versatile, crafty, and have plenty of ziplock bags, you’ll be all set for lighter journey.
What are your best packing hacks? Send us your comments.
About the author: Lisa is a twenty-something travel and food lover who enjoys sharing her travel tips and experiences with the world. When she doesn’t travel, she pretends to be a sociology student. In her spare time, you can find Lisa perfecting her macaroon baking skills or reading a book on women’s issues across different cultures.