How to Actually Pack Light for Your Next Vacation

We may all have our baggage, but when it comes to a vacation, we can definitely afford to leave our worries, troubles, and 18 pairs of shoes or 25 swimsuits behind. While packing light can seem like an impossible task (and truthfully, one I’ve never really been that good at), with greater travel restrictions and more charges, it’s not only beneficial from an organizational perspective, but it will save you time, stress and your hard-earned cash.

I’ve learned over the years that I can pack less, but that still doesn’t mean I’m packing light, but rather, light-er – a true win-win. I’ve outlined some tips below to help you get better at the packing game, making it easier with each passport stamp collected.

How To Pack Light

Packing Clothes

Packing clothing can be daunting and stressful for some people because they don’t want to leave anything behind. I’ve found a few ways to both fit more and pack less.

Step 1

When I pack for a trip, I like to do all of my laundry first so that I can choose from everything I have. I then pull out what I think I want to bring based on the number of days I’ll be away, considering the activities I’ll be doing and potentially how many outfits that might require.

Step 2

I look at my pile and determine which items can be worn multiple times, and be mixed and matched with other pieces. I then do a ‘pare down’. This is where having a capsule wardrobe would come in handy — have you been toying with the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe? Maybe a trip is just what you need!

Step 3

I determine if I’ll be able to do laundry on this trip, and if so, at which point. If I can do laundry on day five of a 10-day trip, I’ll pack six pairs of underwear, for example (enough for five days plus one extra, just in case).

Step 4

I pare down the pile once more, based on laundry access and a good, hard look at “do I really need this?” (hint: you don’t need multiples of most items).

Step 5

I fold or roll everything neatly and place it all together to determine the size of bag I will require. Ensure there is a bit of excess capacity available for souvenirs and other new purchases.

Packing Toiletries

I am a huge fan of travel-sized everything, wherever possible. I still pack things like my electric toothbrush, sunscreen and curling iron in full size, but I try to find whatever I can in a miniature size.

Tip #1

I seek out travel-sized and mini items at my local drug store and beauty boutique searching for the items that I use on a daily basis. Sometimes I hoard deluxe samples from ‘free gifts with purchase’ and save them for when I travel.

Tip #2

Always consider the weight of what you’re packing and how much you’ll really need. You don’t need a full-sized bottle of shampoo for a weekend away.

Tip #3

What if it doesn’t come in travel size? Well, then you have the option to “decant” a product into a small bottle or jar. Empty travel-sized bottles are available at all sorts of places. Just be sure to label accordingly so you don’t mix things up or have to guess what they are.

Tip #4

Do a little research and see what your hotel provides for you and what your deal breakers are. Can you live with using hotel body wash/soap for a few days? Do they provide a decent hair dryer? When I travelled to Japan, I was surprised to see that each hotel room provided toothbrushes, toothpaste, a hair brush, razors and additional toiletries.

Tip #5

Determine what you can leave behind. We all like to pack for potential beauty emergencies, but do so within reason. Do you really use three different highlighters in a week? Pick your favourite and pack that one.

How to Fit More in Your Suitcase

Whether you’re just travelling with carry-on or you’re packing a large bag for a weeks-long expedition, maximizing the space in your luggage is key.

Roll Your Clothes

Rolling clothes does make it much easier to fit more in your suitcase. It keeps wrinkles at bay, allows you to see everything you’ve got with ease, and helps to keep things tight and tidy in your bag.

Use Packing Cubes

If you’ve never used packing cubes before, you must – they are a travel gamechanger! Once you start using them, I promise you’ll never go back. They’re a great way to organize all of your items in your bag, but also keep everything neat and uniform, allowing you to maximize your space.

Tip: While this may be cheating a little bit, and won’t cut down on the weight of your luggage, compression packing cubes will allow you to fit more in your bag. My advice is to opt for compression packing cubes over suitcase space bags – the compression cubes won’t make your stuff all wrinkly.

Group Items Together

My favourite items to layer on top of one another are bras and hats. They both have a similar shape and when I stack them in my suitcase, they tend to help each other maintain their shape a little nicer.

So, whether you’re headed to Coachella, a destination bachelorette, or on a European adventure, know you can leave home feeling brighter with your suitcase a little lighter.

What’s your best packing tip to keep you from going overboard on baggage fees?