My Guide to Packing Light

Guide to Packing Light

In terms of packing light for travel, I can confidently say that after years of over-packing or packing the wrong things, I feel that I have finally mastered the art of carry-on luggage.

I realised this recently when Julia, my fourteen year old niece who lives in Perth, came to Melbourne to visit her Nana and me for a week during the school holidays. When Julia arrived, I couldn’t believe how much luggage she was carrying for a seven day stay. In addition to carry-on luggage, Julia had packed a super-sized suitcase filled with what looked like her entire wardrobe, including accessories.

I won’t bore you with all the details of what Julia had packed but needless to say she had multiple items of every type of clothing imaginable. Just as an example, she’d packed a pair of converse sneakers and three pair on Nike runners. In different colours of course!

As an experienced traveller and a loving Aunt, I respectfully offered Julia the following tips for packing light, which I thought I would share with my readers.

Guide to Packing Light

  • Use a carry-on size case if possible. Most people pack according to whatever size suitcase/backpack they have. Using a small suitcase/backpack will ensure that you don’t over-pack.
  • Pack your suitcase to about 80% capacity. That way you’ll have some room for any holiday shopping or souvenirs you purchase.
  • If you’re travelling to a cold climate, wear bulky or heavy clothing such as your coat, heavy jeans and boots on the plane and pack your light changeable clothes in your carry-on case.
  • The key to packing light is choice of clothing. Thin clothes like blouses, cotton t-shirts and shorts are ideal if you’re travelling to a warm destination. They are also quick-dry, which is important when you’re on the move. For cool climates pack a merino wool sweater. Marino wool is lightweight and will keep you warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.
  • Pack clothes that are versatile and will co-ordinate well with almost everything else you have. For example I always pack a casual skirt that I can wear with a pair of comfortable flat shoes for a day of sightseeing, or dress up with a pair of heels for a night out to dinner.
  • Pack clothes that are durable and have great wear-ability. Clothing that can be worn several times before washing means you can pack less. Items made from Marino wool are a good example as they tend not to smell.
  • Pack sufficient clothing to last a week or so, no matter how long the journey. It is easier to find a laundromat once a week than it is to carry around the extra weight of additional luggage.
  • Use packing cubes bags to help minimise what you bring. They are also great for keeping everything organised and in place.
  • Don’t pack heavy toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, body-wash and sunblock if you can buy them cheaply at your destination.
  • You can buy almost everything you need from anywhere in the world, so buy what you don’t have when you get to there.
  • Avoid taking books on your trip. Downloading e-books and travel guidebooks to your phone using the Kindle app will save weight and space.

Hopefully my guide to packing light will help my niece Julia as she matures and starts to spreads her wings further afield. And as you Embrace the Wanderlust, I hope my guide to packing light will help you too!

Now, it’s over to you! Let me know what you think of this guide to packing light and/or share your best packing tip in the comments.

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