7 Tips on How to Travel Light and Avoid Overpacking

The excitement of traveling can push people to forget about keeping things simple. We often feel the need to take more items with us than are needed. This can cause hassles for you, such as having to carry heavy bags on your way to your destination or breaking your bag. The key to smart traveling is to pack light, and here are 7 tips on how to travel light and avoid overpacking.

Photo Credit: Stock-Asso/Shutterstock.

Step 1: Planning in advance

Planning what clothes to take in advance can help you take any unnecessary items out of the mix over the next few days, eventually leaving you with what you should take and nothing more.

Tips on how to do this:

  • Tip 1: Checking what the weather will be like in advance can make a huge difference in your packing. 
  • Tip 2: Sticking to neutral-colored clothes can be easier as you can mix them with other colors.
  • Tip 3: Opt for multipurpose or versatile clothing that you can wear differently. Things such as jeans or a dress you can wear during the day and evening. 
  • Tip 4: Create different combinations days before and match as many items as you can.
  • Tip 5: Don’t forget a warm piece of clothing like a jersey.

Step 2: Use smart resources

There are a variety of different resources that you can use to pack smart and simple. A great suggestion is to make use of packing cubes. These vary in shapes, sizes, and materials, saving you lots of space. This Carl Friedrik website explains everything you need to know about packing cubes and how they can help you pack like a smart traveler.

Tips on how to do this:

  • Tip 1: First things first, buy a set of packing cubes; recycled ones are cheaper.
  • Tip 2: Once you have your cubes, separate your outfits according to type: socks in one cube, trousers in another, etc. 
  • Tip 3: One great way of packing is by rolling your clothes instead of folding them; they take up less space.
  • Tip 4: Keep the smaller cubes for the end and fit them in the spaces in between.
  • Tip 5: Take an extra cube to keep your dirty clothes separate from the clean ones. 

Step 3: Toiletries – Take what you need and nothing more

You should minimize your toiletries when packing by taking only what is necessary and what you can’t do without. You can buy other essentials at your destination. 

Tips on how to do this:

  • Tip 1: Keep in mind airport liquid restrictions and invest in travel-sized containers for essential toiletries. 
  • Tip 2: Especially for travel purposes, take multi-purpose toiletries with you, for example, 2-in-1 products like SPF and moisturizer or shampoo and conditioner combinations.
  • Tip 3: Hotels often provide toiletries, so only take what you absolutely need.
  • Tip 4: The smaller your toiletry bag, the less you will pack.

Step 4: The shoes you pack

Selecting the right footwear is key when trying to avoid overpacking. 

Tips on how to do this:

  • Tip 1: You only need two pairs of footwear—one formal and one casual. 
  • Tip 2: Don’t forget shoes that are comfortable for walking. 
  • Tip 3: Everyone must have one pair that matches all their outfits.
  • Tip 4: If you are taking heavy shoes, wear them instead of packing them.
  • Tip 5: Put your socks inside your shoes (if you aren’t using packing cubes) and put them at the bottom of your bag.

Step 5:  Choosing the right bag matters

Once you’ve got all your clothes sorted out, choosing the right bag or suitcase should be the priority. This can make or break your plans for traveling light and avoiding overpacking.

Tips on how to do this:

  • Tip 1: Bags with many compartments are a good idea for this.
  • Tip 3: Items that you will need easy access to should be placed in the outside pockets of your bag.
  • Tip 4: To make it easier to carry your bag comfortably, spreading the weight equally is key.
  • Tip 5: Take a tote bag or a foldable bag pack for any day trips you plan on making.

Step 6. Go paperless

If you need to take books or magazines with you to read on the plane or while lounging next to the pool, digitizing them helps to lessen the load.

Tips on how to do this:

  • Tip 1: Nowadays, e-books and magazines are available online on apps such as Kindle or Audible. Download this beforehand so you don’t need to carry a paperback with you.
  • Tip 2: Tickets, identification, and reservation information can all be downloaded and stored on your phone.
  • Tip 3: Invest in a good-quality portable power bank to carry with you and charge all your devices before you leave.
  • Tip 4: Translation and mapping apps are a good idea instead of paperback versions.

Step 7: The final bits

Do a practice run of your packing a few days before your trip; this will give you a good idea of what to further remove or take with you.

Tips on how to do this:

  • Tip 1: Packing as a trial run a few days before can help give you a clear picture.
  • Tip 2: Make a list of things you may still need, but keep it simple.
  • Tip 3: Packing doesn’t stop after the trip. Make a note of the things you didn’t use on your trip for the next time. Keep updating this list after any other trips. 
  • Tip 4: Sharing tips with other travelers can help give you some valuable information as well.

With these steps above, you can easily master the art of traveling light! In the end, it’s about taking only what you need.