I used to be the girl paying the extra money to check in her massive suitcase full of 2 weeks worth of clothes, with multiple pairs of shoes for a 7 day holiday. The way I used to pack is very different from how I prepare for a trip now. I think the back and forth work-trips to Serbia killed my excitement for packing.
I’m definitely now one that can’t stand the thought of dragging my luggage around an airport or too and from the place I’m staying, especially after staying at the top of some steep streets around Lake Como.
Packing light is certainly a bit of an art, and I don’t know about you, but I worry about the consequences if I don’t pack something I may need. First world problems, eh? However, this is something I am getting better at. After all, we don’t need a lot of what we take on a trip so here are my top tips to packing light and reducing what you take with you.
Leave your “what if’s” at home
This first one is the thing I used to be horrendous with. “Going for 7 days? I better take 14 pairs of underwear incase I start to shit myself every day.” No. Leave them at home.
I take one spare of some items but the truth is, you will rarely go somewhere that means you can’t buy them in an absolute emergency. And in a world where we use places such as AirBnB, we have more opportunities to wash our own clothes without insanely high dry cleaning charges. Pack your must-haves. Not your what-ifs.
Pack as though you’re Shrek
I got your attention with that one, didn’t I? I don’t mean pack everything from your swamp including the kitchen sink. We all know the famous line in Shrek “Ogres are like onions. Ogres have layers, Onions have layers”. Apply that to your packing – layers.
Ditch the jumpers and pack your vests, t-shirts and long sleeve tops, this will save you so much space and you can mix and match for longer trips. Layers are your new best friend.
Who even packs a coat?
Obviously, it’s good to take a jacket or a waterproof to even the hottest locations. You never know what you’ll be presented with weather-wise, however – don’t pack the damn thing. It will take up so much space and they can add a lot to your luggage weight.
I personally refuse to ever pack a coat. I wear it through the airport and if I’m getting too hot, I wrap it around my waist.
They see me rollin’, they hatin’
… on me because they’re jealous of all this space in my suitcase.
When I asked my followers on Instagram what their hints and tips were for packing light and cramming what they can into their suitcases, I got 19 responses. All bar one response was to roll your clothes. Admittedly, I genuinely didn’t know about this one until 2 years ago, and I don’t know how but it just works. Not only does it save space, but it stops my T-shirt’s from getting so many creases and fold lines which is always a win.
Stuff your shoes
This is a pretty easy well-known one, but even I actually forgot this when packing for my trip to Italy last year. Wear the bulkiest pair for travelling and stuff your socks into the shoes you do need to pack. Simples.
You don’t need your hairdryer
Obviously, check with your accommodation, and if they genuinely don’t have one then yes you could take it. However, I can’t remember the last time I stayed somewhere that did not have one. They take up a lot of room and are frankly unnecessary to take. I know the ones you can get in hotels aren’t usually as good, but for the sake of saving space, it’s worth leaving it at home in my opinion.
Also, I never take my straighteners if there’s a hairdryer. Following a trip to Turkey where I suffered from serious frizzy hair, I had to quickly learn the trick on how to straighten my hair as best I could with a hairbrush and my hairdryer. On damp hair, a spray-in conditioner after your shower/bath helps.
Get your toiletries on the other side
Toiletries are the biggest waste of space. It’s one of those things that you can get no matter where you go so something I rarely get before I go away. I’m the one stocking up in Boots on the other side of security before my flight so I can add it to my carry on and not have to worry about the tiny bag you try and squeeze all of your liquids into.
I also only ever get the travel size and if I don’t finish them, I leave them behind so I don’t have to worry about getting them in my suitcase on the way home. Unfortunetely, due to COVID-19, I have had to abandon this golden rule as my airport’s drugstore is temporarily closed (ffs).
I hope there is something helpful or new in here for most of you. If you have any hints and tips, get in touch. Until then, happy packing!