Packing light is about more than just saving room or money; it’s about having freedom while you travel the globe. Don’t get bogged down by cumbersome, bulky bags. Follow these tips for packing light to make the most of your vacation.

suitcase being packed before a trip
Taken by A. Lūsiņa via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Here are 7 tips for packing light on your next trip:

1. Use a smaller suitcase

This tip is simple, but highly effective. If you give yourself a larger suitcase, your natural inclination is to fill it. Rather than packing a bunch of items you don’t need, opt for a smaller suitcase to reduce the urge. A carry-on size is ideal, as you can bring it with you easily and you don’t have to worry about it getting lost.

2. Create a packing list

Never pack blind. Before you know it, you’ll have packed high heels and snorkeling goggles “just in case.” While you may think you need these items in the moment, all they’ll do is take up precious space. Write up a list before you start packing, so you know you only bring the essentials.

3. Roll your clothes

You may feel strange doing it, but rolling your clothes will afford you much more room in your bag. Although there’s a debate between the merits of folding versus rolling clothes, the rolling method will give you the most room. It will compress your clothing items greatly, and your bag is open for more of the essentials.

4. Go light on the shoes

It’s tempting to bring along every dress shoe, pair of stilettos, or chunky heel in your wardrobe. While it would be a fashionable accessory for a night out, it’s very unlikely that you’d wear even a fraction of the shoes you bring. Stick to lightweight shoes, like sneakers and flip-flops, and add in one nicer pair for evenings out.

5. Pack versatile pieces

This tip for packing light will help you out in the wardrobe department. Traveling to a new location is always a fun time to show your fashion sensibilities, but rather than bringing statement pieces, go for versatile clothing options.

A scarf that doubles as both a shawl and a blanket is handy to have, and a pair of basic, black flats always look great. You don’t want your clothes sitting in your suitcase, so go for pieces that would work in a variety of situations. (Do you know why you should pack light?)

6. Wear the clothes that take up space

Boots take up a huge amount of room, but if you’re going to a cold location, they’re a necessity. A simple way around this is to wear the boots, or any other clunky articles of clothing, on the plane. Airplanes are typically on the colder side, so discomfort won’t be an issue. (Check out more tips for flying and travel advice.)

7. Don’t pack for the worst-case scenario

Just because there could be torrential rainfall at your destination doesn’t mean there will be. Rather than packing every umbrella, rain slicker, and poncho you own, avoid the instinct to over prepare for the worst-case scenario. What matters is bringing items that will keep you in the moment, having fun, and focused on the memories ahead. (And, here’s what to do on a rainy day while traveling.)

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