Travel Tips #3: 5 Steps to Packing Light

I can’t wait until tomorrow, I’m going to Barcelona!! I’ve never been to Spain and I’ve wanted to for ages, so I’m pretty excited. I’ve spent the last couple of days printing out tickets and confirmations, getting some euros together and today I’m packing.

After much trial and error, I am now the Queen of packing light. I hardly ever travel any where with more than just a small carry on suitcase, and let me tell you, it is soooooo liberating! Knowing you don’t have to wait for ages at the baggage collection conveyor belt after a long flight is great, but more importantly, trying to navigate a strange city by yourself with a massive bag you can’t even carry up the stairs is no way to travel. Ever had to catch a train with a big suitcase? Not fun. Everyone hates you and by the time you reach your destination, everything hurts. So to help you avoid some unnecessary stress (and pain!) I’ve complied a few key tips to packing light and enjoy your holiday so much more!

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1. You don’t need a different outfit for every day of the week

You just don’t. No one will judge you for wearing the same t-shirt twice in a row. If anything I would pack as few outfits as you can get away with, because there’s always the chance you will buy something while you’re travelling anyway. And you want to have room for souvenirs right?

2. Colour coordinate your clothes

Probably the most important tool in packing light. If you can curate the clothing you pack so that they can work in multiple different outfits, you’ll get away with packing less. The easiest way to do this is by colour coordination. Some people go with black for everything, or black and tan. I wear a lot of blue and red so that’s what I tend to go with when I travel too. Take a look at the photo below for example: I’ve got three tops: red,blue and navy, all of which go with the navy skirt and pattern shorts I’m packing with them. I’ve got a white and navy cardigan and a warmer red cardigan to go with them, the red cardigan also goes with the floral dress on the left. With only a few pieces of clothing I can wear a different outfit for every day of the week I’m away if I want to, and I’m not even packing that much. If I wanted to pack even lighter, I could take away one of the cardigans and one of the tops, and I’d still have plenty to wear.

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3. Buy your toiletries in mini

This is kinda necessary anyway thanks to the size restrictions on liquids for carry on luggage, but it makes good travel sense too. There’s no point packing a full sized bottle of shampoo if you’re only travelling for a week. There’s a huge range of products made in travel size now at chemists – I’ll tend to buy ones that come in bottles that can easily be refilled. That way I won’t have to buy travel sized products every time I travel, and I can fill it with my preferred brands of goop. Often at the bigger chemists and supermarkets they’ll have empty travel sized bottles that you can buy pretty cheaply, so there are plenty of options available.

Extra hint: Sharing is caring. If you’re travelling with someone, it makes no sense for both of you packing a tube of sunscreen or toothpaste each. The more stuff you can share between you, the fewer bulky bottles you need to pack.

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4. Take advantage of the hostel laundry

If you’re travelling for a couple of weeks (or months) the hostel laundry is a life saver. Not all hostels have them of course, but if you can strategically plan it so that every week or so you’re staying somewhere with a washing machine and a dryer, you can pack so much lighter. In the mean time, pack a plastic bag to keep your dirties in so that your clean clothes aren’t mixed in with yesterday’s undies!

5. Packing bulky stuff? Wear it on the plane.

Seriously one of the biggest travelling cheats ever, but one that makes perfect sense. If you’re planning on taking a pair of hiking boots and a pair of sandals, for example, why would you put the boots in the suitcase, taking up heaps of space that you can use for an extra t-shirt or that super awesome knick knack you found at a local market? The staff at the check-in can stop you taking an extra bag on the plane, (or even a handbag, Easyjet!) but they can’t stop you carrying your big bulky coat or wearing your ski boots.

Do you have any helpful hints or tricks to packing light? Let others learn from your expertise and share in the comments! 🙂

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