A woman with a rolling bag:
Travelling is a great way to expand your horizons and have a memorable experience that you can treasure forever. Some even prefer to travel instead of rushing after material comforts, claiming that it’s the best way to have a rich, fulfilling life.
However, travelling can also be quite uncomfortable and bothersome if some things aren’t done right. Your ride gets delayed, the weather becomes too hot, or the food doesn’t agree with your digestive system. However, one of the most common issues that can plague a novice traveler is heavy luggage. It can be all too tempting to pack everything you can think of in case of any emergency, with the result being that your bags and suitcases weigh you down at every stop.
On the other hand, there’s a certain knack to packing light. If you can master that, you’d probably be able to enjoy your journey more. Here are a few tips that can help you out on that next trip:
Choose Your Bag Carefully
It might seem strange, but your bags or suitcases might be the reason why you can’t seem to travel lightly. Keep in mind that you don’t need a large bag to travel. Seeing all that space inside your huge suitcase might tempt you to take more stuff. The trick might be as simple as getting a smaller bag and using that as your packing limit.
With a limited size, you’ll automatically start prioritizing. You might even save some money, and many airlines charge extra if you get your luggage booked. Carry-ons are usually free, so learn how to make do with those 40 liters capacity more often.
Think About the Must-Haves
When you’re packing, separate the necessities from the comforts. You might think it’ll be ‘nice’ to have a certain item on your trip. Some common examples might include an extra book just in case you get bored or several changes of clothes so that you don’t have to do laundry.
In the first example, you’re not likely to get bored while traveling. There’d be too much to do, too many sights to see, and a lot of adventures to experience. Even if you feel like reading something, most places have bookshops or magazine stalls. You’ll be soaking in some of the culture and getting a nice souvenir at the same time.
For the second example, experienced travelers have said that it’s easier to do a load of laundry rather than lug around several outfits. It’s best to go with some versatile core favorites and some simple colors so you can mix and match your clothes. This way, you’d be able to make your wardrobe stretch as much as possible when on the go.
Go for Multiple-Use Items
Pack those items that either have several uses or will be used frequently on your travels. For instance, you can get a power bank that also doubles as a flashlight.
Before you pack anything, think about its usage. Can you possibly make do with renting or even buying the same thing at your destination? Most places have shops, so you can probably get basics like detergent, toothpaste, etc. See if the place you’re visiting will rent out skiing or snowboarding gear. These little precautions can make a world of difference when you’re packing.
As you might have noticed, these musings and preparations take time. This is why you should start packing at least a day or two before you have to set out. Packing the day you travel will only add to your stress, resulting in a too-full bag.
Finally, make it a rule to leave at least a quarter of the bag empty if at all possible. This will make carrying, loading, and unpacking much easier.
Rolling, Not Folding
Clothes take up a lot of space in any traveler’s bag, but there are ways to minimize that volume. One of the most common tips here is to roll your clothes instead of folding them. That way, they’ll be less likely to create. This way of packing also makes it easier to see what you have in one glance.
Get Packing Cubes
You might have to invest in a few additional things in order to streamline the packing process. Packing cubes are one of these, so see which ones seem to be the best for your needs. Some travelers might just stow away all their stuff in plastic bags to keep them separate, but the packing cubes are much more convenient. You can opt for some slim designs to save more space.
With the packing cubes, you’ll be able to keep items from mixing with each other. This is especially useful when it comes to small things like socks, vests, underwear, etc. Unpacking is also easier this way, as you can just take out the cubes and unpack them as per your need. If you get the kind with windows, it’s also possible to see the contents without unzipping.
While organizing your stuff won’t make it lighter, it would certainly make your luggage easier to handle. The bag won’t be so bulky, which means easier loading and unloading.
Know What Not to Pack
Seasoned travelers know that there are always some items that you can get in most hotels. If you plan on staying in hotels rather than hostels, keep in mind that there’s usually no need to pack towels, soaps, or shampoo. Hair dryers are usually provided as well. If you have any doubt, call ahead and ask about these basics.
Even if you prefer to take all your own toiletries along, go for the travel-sized options. There are quick-drying travel towels available that weigh a lot less than the regular ones. It will also be less risky to pack shampoo bars and soap bars instead of the liquid kinds.
Make a List
Novice travelers might make the mistake of rummaging through all their stuff and packing whatever seems like it might be useful. This is not a practical method, as you’d end up packing necessary stuff and might overlook something that’s really important. Plus, it’ll take a lot more time.
As with most chores, the preferred way is to make a list. You can look up some printable travel lists or make your own. Consult your travelling partner or someone who’s travelled to the same destination in the past.
Once you’ve finalized your list, stick to it. Don’t put in more stuff just because you have the space. If something is not on the list, that means you don’t need it. Lugging it around on your travels will likely just weigh you down.
Packing light is not easy; at the end of the day, you’re taking some risks by leaving out certain items. However, once you get the hang of it and have some journey with light luggage under your belt, it’ll be easier to gauge what’s necessary. With those lighter bags, you’ll hopefully be able to move around much more easily and have ample room for souvenirs on your way back home.