Packing Light: 10 Professional Travel Advice (From a Fellow Traveler)

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I’ve never been adept at traveling lightly.

After a few trips when I brought considerably more than I needed and didn’t wear or use half of it, my husband used to tell me that if I packed it, I’d have to carry it, so I started to pack less and less.

But I didn’t truly master the skill of traveling light until I traveled to India on a backpacking trip with my sister in 2019.

We only brought one carry-on bag apiece, weighing 7kg, for the three-week trip from Nepal to the Maldives through India.

There was something really freeing about traveling light across a big nation like India, bringing my suitcase on and off airplanes, and bypassing the protracted lines at the airport baggage claim.

Additionally, I came to the realization that we really don’t need as much as we believe we do, and that all it takes to pack light is being knowledgeable, looking into all possible choices for doing so, and employing the best travel equipment on the market.

Today, there are so many amazing tools, alternatives, gadgets, and tech gear that can make our bags lighter.

So let’s go to work. Here are my best suggestions for traveling light:

1. Pick a small bag.

Choosing bulky luggage or bags is a serious error that many travelers make.

Yes, it would be wonderful to get that bag back that functions as both a backpack and a wheeled case, but if you’re going to carry on luggage, keep in mind that every additional feature adds weight and reduces the amount of space in your pack.

To fit everything neatly within a backpack or suitcase, choose one that weighs no more than 2 kg (2.2 lb) and has a volume of around 40 liters.

I myself use either my Matein gray backpack, which is robust, weather resistant, comfy to wear, and has many pockets and storage places, or my Fireback backpack, which unzips like a suitcase, so I can organize my packing very well.

The 40-liter lightweight backpack from Fendong is another suggested bag.

The 21-inch Travelpro Maxlite expandable case is your best option if you’d like a bag with wheels. Since it weighs 5.4 lbs (2.5 kg), you’ll need to pack more effectively, but if you desire the convenience of wheeling rather than carrying, this case is among the lightest available.

2. Utilize packing bags or cubes.

Utilize packing cubes or bags to organize your wardrobe.

Putting your belongings in smaller suitcases does not automatically make your luggage lighter. Simply put, compression implies “smaller.” Although it may seem clear, some of the marketing copy for these items can be slightly deceptive.

Additionally, you don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive packing bags. I used these bags on my most recent three-week vacation around Europe and then to Dubai; they were just $7.99 and did a great job of helping me separate tops, shorts, underwear, dirty things, etc.

This 8-piece collection in various hues is suggested if you’re seeking more colorful bags.

3. Don’t fold; roll.

There is no guarantee that rolling your garments will save space. Whether you roll, fold, or simply dump your clothing in, they will still take up the same amount of room.

Your best chance is to pack clothing by rolling them rather than folding them to avoid creases and be able to optimize luggage capacity without leaving many gaps.

I spent 19 days traveling around Europe with a dress that I planned to wear in Dubai. It was wrapped up at the bottom of my backpack. There was hardly any creasing when I took it out!

4. Just bring enough for a week to 10 days.

The key is to simply bring enough for 7–10 days of travel, regardless of how long you plan to be gone.

When necessary, bring a little bit of washing powder to wash necessities in a sink, and be ready to stop at a laundromat on the way.

My sister and I discovered a launderette in Venice during a recent journey across Europe, and we sat at a cafe across the street drinking wine as our clothes cleaned and dried. And once more in Luxembourg, where I was enjoying a hot, sweet macchiato coffee next to a cafe!

Who said laundry couldn’t be enjoyable?

5. Employ a luggage scale.

A baggage scale is necessary if you’re set on taking only hand luggage.

Depending on your airline’s restrictions, you should make sure your carry-on luggage weighs no more than 7 kg or 12 kg. Over the years, I’ve used a ton of scales for carry-on luggage as well as some quite hefty bags (before I figured out how to pack light!).

Even if it sounds foolish, it’s crucial to choose scales that are comfortable in your hand and made to make lifting baggage simple while displaying the weight!

To raise a 20 kg bag and view the weight on the side of one set of scales I owned, you had to be a contortionist!

The baggage scales I use and suggest are listed below. both simples to lift and to view the weight. Additionally, if you need to bring them with you while shopping abroad, they are really light.

6. To keep things smelling good, use dryer sheets.

You will inevitably need to wear the same outfits numerous times in between washing. The addition of the dryer sheets often used for tumble dryer washes is a terrific method to keep your garments smelling fresh.

This keeps your luggage, shoes (put them inside the shoe), and clothing smelling nice and new.

7. Ladies! For all hues of apparel, bring a skin-colored bra.

In order to accommodate different-colored clothing, I used to travel with a black bra and a white bra. Even a separate plunge bra for lower-cut skirts and tops would be acceptable to me.

A skin-colored dive bar can now accommodate any events and attire!

For lazy or low-exercise days, I also bring a super-light, skin-colored, non-wired t-shirt bra that folds up to nearly nothing.

8. The underpants should be folded into a little cuff.

Folding your underwear into a little cuff-like form is an excellent method to conserve space and bring as much underwear as you can. Both women’s underwear or trousers and men’s boxers or briefs can be used in this way.

Your underpants should be laid flat and facing up. From left to right, fold the sides towards the center. The underwear should then be rolled up and tucked into the waistband, beginning at the bottom

A compact, tight oblong form that can be neatly placed in a packing bag or cube can be achieved with little work.

9. Apply the same moisturizer to both your face and body.

Ladies, if you moisturize regularly, use the same product on your body and face.

Clearly, this isn’t advice for you if you frequently use exorbitantly costly face cream. However, this is a terrific trick to reduce weight and space, and these days, there are some amazing goods that will function just as well wherever you use them!

10. Bring sandals or wear sneakers.

I live in flip flops (also known as thongs or sandals), athletic shoes, or sneakers.

I’ll want to put on my trainers for long hikes. I’ll want to put on my flip-flops on days when I feel more laid back.

Always wear your heaviest shoes and bring the least amount of luggage while moving from one area to another!

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