Most people love to travel and experience new places and cultures. While tickets might still be expensive in some parts of the world, there are plenty of means of transport to choose from and many places to visit which don’t have to be too far away from your home. Knowing how to pack light will help save a lot of effort when it comes to carrying a big suitcase around on your travels.
Whether you are looking to go away for a few days of vacation, or have to attend a business meeting or conference, here are some tips on how to pack so that you are not only well dressed, but also have a small suitcase to carry around.
Make a list
The very first thing to help you to pack light is keeping track of everything you will need during your trip. This list should include anything and everything from shoes to swimwear and toiletries that your hotel might not provide you with.
In case you are traveling to a country whose language you don’t speak, you can always make a list of things you would like to ask for at the hotel/hostel reception. You can translate this list by using an online platform such as The Word Point and make sure your needs are understood and met by your local hosts.
1. Pick only two pairs of shoes
Yes, you heard correctly, pick only two pairs of shoes which you will definitely wear. When we go on vacation, we tend to get excited about going to new clubs and restaurants and it’s easy to get carried away and pack more shoes than we will actually wear. Whether you are going on a trip or attending a conference, you will most likely only need one pair of runners, as well as a pair of dressy shoes which you can wear to a more upmarked place, or to a work’s function. Wear your runners on the plane and save space in your suitcase. If you’re travelling during the summer, you should easily be able to fit in a pair of sandals as well, as they won’t take up much space and will give you some more outfit options.
2. Wear your bulkier clothes while traveling
Sweaters and coats can take up a lot of space in your suitcase, so you’ll lose a lot of valuable packing space. Instead of jamming them into your suitcase, leave those bulky clothing items out and take them on the plane with you.
Of course, you might not want to wear a sweater on the plane in the summer, but take it with you, put it under the seat, or use it as a blanket if you are travelling at night. Traveling in exercise clothes or a sweater will also be a lot comfier, especially if your trip is long. This will free up a lot of space in your case for more necessities.
3. Mix and match colours
If you have to take a small number of clothes with you, pick colours that match. It’s a good idea to always have a pair of jeans with you, a pair of leggings for women as it doesn’t take up too much space as well as a pair of pants that can be combined with more casual shirts and buttoned down shirts.
You can plan your outfits in advance and make sure you can easily dress up or dress down depending on the occasion. For example, grey and yellow tones could work with both jeans and black pants and can help you look classy and comfy when you need to.
4. Count your accessories
Belts, scarfs, necklaces and hats can take up a lot of space in your luggage. If you have to bring them along, see if you can fold them or roll them so they take up less space. You can always travel in a scarf or your favorite hat, which will help not only protect you from the elements but also free up space in your bag. As well, you might be able to find some beautiful, locally-made pieces of clothing and accessories on your trip, so leave space in your luggage for your purchases.
5. Bring enough underwear
While traveling light means taking only the necessary items of clothing with you, it’s important to remember that you should always pack enough underwear. Underwear doesn’t take up a lot of space, after all, and if you’re travelling somewhere hot, you can always skip on taking PJs and sleep in your undies. This leaves more room for shoes or clothes.
Traveling light is really not that complicated
Being prepared and organized will truly work in your advantage. Know exactly what you need before starting to pack, and make sure everything matches and can be worn interchangeably.
The goal of your vacation is to learn new things and have fun. No matter where you travel to and for how long, you will find that the lighter you pack, the more space you have for souvenirs. Also, it’s just a lot simpler to know what you are going to wear rather with a limited wardrobe than having to carefully mix and match outfits at the last minute.
By Pauline Farris
Pauline speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian. She travelled the world to immerse herself in new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council’s Portuguese Language Division.