How To Pack Light For A Holiday In 5 Steps

Do you struggle to pack light? If you are one of those people who takes a full suitcase for a weekend getaway or can never manage to close their luggage – Then this post is for you!

One of the ways that we save money while we travel is by flying with hand-luggage only. When you are, on average, travelling once a month, the money you save by not paying for luggage is significant. I don’t even remember the last time that I paid for this! 

Last year, we travelled Chile for 2 weeks with only a big backpack each (hand-luggage size) and we had to carry clothes for the 4 seasons: from beach weather to minus temperatures. So, if we can do this – you too can pack for ANY trip on hand luggage.

On my way to the airport for our trip to Chile!

And to all my fashionistas out there: don’t worry – you don’t have to sacrifice your beautiful outfits to do this! It’s just a matter of organisation and logistics.

Here’s all my secrets to packing light:

1. TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED

While this sounds obvious, I am sure you have found yourself, in multiple occasions, returning home from a trip with clothes that you haven’t worn. If you want to pack light, it is very important that you don’t take more than you need. To do this, make sure to control the number of things that you take for the following:

  • Outfits: If you are going for 5 days, take 5 outfits and no more! If you also need night outfits, take something that you can also wear during the day. Can you re-use parts of your night outfit on a different day?
  • Coats: Many people who travel in winter make the mistake of taking more than one coat, but this is super unnecessary! Think about the reason why you want to take more than one coat and try to find an alternative. If it is because you don’t want to have the same coat on in all your pictures, simply take your coat off for some photos. If it is because there will be different temperatures during your trip, utilise multiple layers instead. Layers, in fact, are key to travelling light. This is because you can use a hoodie under a coat if it is very cold or only wear the hoodie if it gets hotter. It saves the bulk of a coat and is a lot more flexible.  
  • Shoes: My rule for shoes is ‘one pair only unless special shoes are required – Then, one per situation’ What this means is that if you only need one type of shoe, you won’t take any more. If, for example, you are going on a city break where you will spend most of your time walking through touristic sites, you only need one comfortable pair of shoes. If you are going on a multi-adventure trip, do you have a hybrid shoe that allows you to wear it for all planned activities? If not, then take one per situation. For example, a pair of flip-flops for the beach and a pair of mountain shoes for the treks. 

2. PREPARE YOUR OUTFITS IN ADVANCE

This is probably the most important step in packing light. And it is very simple! All you need to do is think about what you want to wear in your trip. You can do this while you commute to work or while you are taking a shower. Having prepared outfits will avoid you from packing additional clothes just for choice. This is key to comply with the rules for taking only what you need.

3. SELECT COLOURS THAT ALLOW YOU TO MIX AND MATCH

In addition, try to colour-coordinate your separate outfits so you can mix & match different parts of them between each other. This will not only enable you to reduce the total amount of clothes that you take, but also have some flexibility with what you wear when you are there.

These are the outfits that I chose for my trip to Rome. As you can see the colours all match with each other and I, in fact, changed some combinations around once I was there!

4. TAKE TRAVEL-SIZE TOILETRIES

Invest in a pack of travel-size bottles that you can fill in with your favourite products for when you travel. Test samples also usually come in handy. I have a bag at home where I put all the toiletry samples I get given; and when I am packing for a trip I always have a browse to see if anything can be useful for the trip. You would be surprised how handy this can be. Also, you would probably never try those samples otherwise and they would go to waste!

5. TAKE THE BULKY STUFF ON YOU

Lastly, always wear the bulkiest clothes to the airport so they don’t take all the space in your suitcase. This means taking the coat with you, wearing the biggest pair of shoes and the bulkiest trousers and jumper. While this might not be the most convenient, it helps massively when it comes to suitcase space! And you can always make it comfortable if you think rationally about what to wear and follow all these five steps.

See, for example, how I packed to go to Rome for 4 days with my hand luggage:

Thanks for reading – Hope this was useful! Do you have any tips to travel light? Please leave them in the comments below and let me know if you ever try to follow these 5 steps to pack. 

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