Learn how to travel light is an important issue, because the biggest downside of traveling is having to lug around a suitcase. While the goal is almost always to keep personal items restricted to a carry-on, this is much easier said than done.

If you have multiple destinations on your itinerary, packing light is crucial for making the stressful part of traveling manageable. As everyone has their own sense of style and comfort, packing is something that is different from person to person. However, there are a number of tried-and-true strategies for preparing with a minimalist mindset.

Even though you might not be able to bring EVERYTHING you want on your adventure, your sanity will thank you. Without further ado, here are eight tips to become a master at packing light.

Travel Light – Tip #1
Start with a checklist

Travel Light - Checklist

While this may seem obvious, creating a list beforehand forces you to figure out which items are absolute needs, and which are commodities. Begin by considering the intangible factors. What will the weather be like? How long will you be gone? Then, write down the essentials (e.g. socks, underwear, toothbrush, ect.) Once you have prioritized your inventory, place it next to your bag and assess the space you’re working with. Once the necessities are packed, you can see is there’s room for the extras.

Travel Light – Tip #2
Plan on doing laundry

Travel Light - Laundry

Clothes are typically the items that claim the most real estate in any given travel bag. Unless you’re only traveling for a couple days, you don’t need to bring a different outfit for each and every day. Chances are, there will be plenty places to wash your clothes. Most hotels and hostels have machines you can use for a fee. Worst case scenario, you can wash them in a sink. Just be sure to pack a small bottle of detergent!

Travel Light – Tip #3
Roll the clothes!

Travel Light - Clothes

Even though it won’t lighten your load, rolling articles of clothing can save an incredible amount of space – as opposed to folding. Start by taking the bulkier items, such as sweatshirts and jeans, and pack them into the corners of your bag for proper weight disbursement. Then fill up the middle with your lighters items.

If you’re going on a business trip, it’s recommended to fold the clothing that cannot be wrinkled. You can also place a sheet of tissue paper between the articles to help prevent creases while in the bag. Be sure to place all rolled clothing at the bottom, with the dressier items at the top.

Travel Light – Tip #4
Pack Shoes Wisely

Travel Light - Shoes

It can be extremely tempting to travel with several pairs of shoes. But, footwear takes up A LOT of space in a bag. Truth be told, you can almost always get by with two pairs, regardless of whether it’s a business trip or vacation. For business, stick to dress shoes and casual footwear. For a vacation, consider close-toed shoes and pair of sandals or slip-ons. Remember, always wear the bulkier pair while you’re in transit to save room.

Travel Light – Tip #5
Keep toiletries to a minimum

Travel Light - Toiletries

While your bathroom routine at home is probably heavily influenced by the products you keep, you don’t need to bring them ALL when traveling. If you’re staying at a hotel, there will likely be soap and shampoo provided in the room. With this in mind, most guys can get by with a travel-sized stick of deodorant, toothbrush, and mini tube of toothpaste. Girls, however, have it a little tougher. Try to look for products that serve multiple functions. For instance, baby oil is great for both moisturizing and removing makeup. Also, leave the big hairdryer at home!

Travel Light – Tip #6
Ditch the guidebooks!

Travel Light - Guidebooks

Even though guidebooks are definitely worth buying and reading, you don’t need to travel with a library. Back in the old days, it was recommended to tear out only the useful pages to save room in your bag. Now, you can simply take a picture of the information you want with your phone.

Travel Light – Tip #7
Use Your Smartphone As Much As Possible

Travel Light - Smartphone

Cell phones can do things today people only dreamt of 20-30 years ago. These days, the “calling” function seems to be secondary. The average smartphone can currently serve as a computer, camera, music player, gaming device, ticket holder, and much more. Try to use your phone for all the essential tasks. There’s no point in hauling around a bag full of electronics if you don’t need to. A camera is an obvious exception. If you want to capture ultra-quality pictures, a smartphone will only take you so far.

Travel Light – Tip #8
Don’t Pack For The Worst Case Scenario

Travel Light - Packing

This may be the only time the Boy Scouts led you wrong with their “Be Prepared” motto. Preparing for the absolute worst when traveling is a common American thing to do. While it may be tempting to pack an extra charger or pair of headphones, do your best to resist. Unless you are going to a super remote location, you can buy replacement items as needed.

In addition to saving time and stress on the road, packing light is crucial for making the most of the traveling experience. When you look back on your adventures, your memories will be about the places you went and people you met. You won’t be thinking about material things you wish you had. Have fun and enjoy your trip!

Don’t forget to take nice pictures on your trip, these tips for travel photography might be helpful!


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