Packing to go travelling can seem like a mammoth task, especially if you always find yourself being charged extra for your baggage weight at the airport! Whether you are going away for a long romantic weekend or two weeks backpacking with your friends, we are all guilty of either taking too much stuff or taking one t-shirt and one pair of socks for two weeks away. To battle these two extremes, I have compiled some top tips on how to pack light and reduce your baggage weight without leaving things behind that you actually need.
Write a List
The first and most important rule for travelling is to make a list of things you need. Don’t sit and go through your wardrobe picking things out that you think would be nice to take with you – if you do this, I promise you will end up with ten dresses, fifteen tops, three pairs of jeans and your framed photo of Justin Bieber for a long weekend.
A better option to pack light is to make a list of activities you are expecting to do whilst away and a list of things you will need as a result, this will help to eliminate bringing things with you that take up unnecessary space and weight. For example, if you are planning on lying on a beach for a week then you really won’t need your hiking shoes. If you are looking at packing light because you will be backpacking, this is even more important to ensure you are comfortable carrying your own luggage around. No matter how much your wardrobe is telling you, you do not need to take five pairs of shoes!
This tip is handy for pretty much any packing and will really help you to avoid dragging your suitcase from a taxi to your hotel reception. Travelling is meant to be an enjoyable experience so let’s not ruin that with a heavy bag that you can’t lift to your rental car or costs you an arm and a leg extra before you have even left the airport.
Pack Practical Shoes
I know I am not alone when I say, I have once packed ten pairs of shoes to go away because I want the blue flats to go with those leggings and I want to take high heels because I’m going on holiday and we might go out somewhere fancy. Oh, and I can’t leave my running trainers, what if there is a gym near where we are staying, and I wake up early?
Let’s face reality, you won’t wear those heels that you haven’t worn in three years just because you are going away. You will wear your trusty sandals that you live in at home because you know they won’t give you blisters, and they look good with all your clothes. You won’t go to the gym, even if there is one nearby, because you are on holiday and you will want to make sure you get the good stuff from the all you can eat breakfast at your hotel. If, like my best friend, you will actually go to the gym when you are away, then firstly I applaud you and secondly, your trainers are your practical shoes!
It really is a lot simpler than we all make it. Wear the shoes you wear at home, wear the shoes you like walking in, wear the shoes that go with all your clothes.
Depending on how long you are travelling for really does depend on how many shoes you take, but I would say no more than four pairs no matter how long you are away for. When I go away on holiday this year, I will take my trusty battered brown boots that go with all my clothes and are super comfy, my Birkenstocks that are nicely worn in and good for hot weather, and my Vans because I live in them. All of which are completely adaptable for weather, outfits and activities. There is a ban on heels in my luggage!
Wear the Heavy Items
Do not pack your coat, do not pack your trainers, do not pack your jumpers! These things take up valuable space in your luggage and make your bag heavy. Wear your coat if you want to take it, you can always take it off when you are on the train, bus or plane. Wear your cosy jumper that you can’t leave home without because it will be comforting for you whilst you are travelling and it won’t take up loads of space in your suitcase.
Usually, airports are cold and so are flights so you will want to be in your jeans and hoodie. This way you can save your cute chiffon skirt for a day in the sunshine where it belongs.
Buy Toiletries when you arrive
This is a tried and tested solution to packing light. You really don’t need to take your month’s supply of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. You don’t need to take your big tub of moisturiser or a whole bottle of perfume. Decanter your perfume into a travel sized container and buy everything else when you get there! I’m pretty sure cavemen and women knew this one, so you have no excuse.
I’m putting a few other things in this category too; Please do not pack a hairdryer! Most hotels and hostels have hairdryers in the rooms or in the communal bathrooms, even most campsites have hairdryers now! The same goes for towels, most places you can borrow or buy one. Don’t pack a load of sanitary products, you can buy these in any shop. Do not take loads of heavy jewellery with you, wear what jewellery you want to when you are travelling and leave the rest at home!
The Age Old Myth of Saving Space
We have all heard of the myth of rolling your clothes instead of folding, it really does work. You will be able to fit more clothes in your luggage if you roll them, but this doesn’t work for every bit of clothing so be selective! I might be teaching you to suck eggs here but please don’t leave empty space in your shoes! Fill your shoes with socks or underwear, otherwise it really is wasted space. And my final tip for you, leave space to bring back souvenirs. You don’t want your final day on holiday to be full of stress because you can’t fit everything back in your suitcase.