I fashion myself a bit of a packing connoisseur, not nearly as great as this guy, but pretty damn good in my own right. I’ve managed to fit 2 weeks worth of clothes, shoes, plus snorkel fins in a carry-on. Applause welcome.
Packing is a gift, and it starts with the very simple question, what do you need? Not want, but need. Laying out everything you need gives you an idea of how much room you have left for the “want”. As a woman, I carry no less than 4 pairs of shoes with me at all times, in my carry-on, with all of my other clothes, accessories, toiletries, etc. It can be done.
- Pack multi-purpose things. There is nothing worse than realizing you packed a top or a bottom that can only be used once in conjunction with all items that you packed. Based on the weather, make sure you can mix and match appropriately. Also, as a woman, pack dresses, they take up less space.
- Do you really need those shoes? Again, I just mentioned I pack with no less than 4 pairs of shoes wherever I go. But here’s a tip. Going on a vacation where you’ll be active? Think running, hiking, etc. Buy a new pair of sneakers before you go and pack your old ones. Then leave your old ones behind, making room for souvenirs.
- Also, pack shoes last, as they can be stuffed in random corners of your suitcase
- Bringing socks? Put your socks in your shoes so that socks do not take up extra space in your suitcase.
- Roll, roll, roll! There is something to be said for rolling your clothes. When done right, your clothes will not wrinkle, and you will be able to squeeze in more with less.
- Wear bulky items on the plane. I don’t know about you, but I’m always freezing. While you might not be the most fashionable person on the flight, if you intend on bringing a large sweater, hoodie, whatever to your destination, wear that on the plane, don’t pack it. That goes the same for sneakers. My husband just went on a live aboard boat experience and everything needed to be in a medium duffel bag. You bet he was wearing his cargo shorts, sneakers, and hoodie on that flight in both directions to save space.
- Packing cubes. I have a love / hate relationship with these. I used them for Australia and found them very useful, but on shorter trips, I don’t really use them. Packing cubes (roll your clothes in them) help you segregate your items, i.e. a cube full of just tops vs. workout clothes vs. fancier items etc. But I find that they may take up more space in the long run when used. So if you’ve used packing cubes before, leave your feedback in the comments, I’m curious to hear from you!
- Never check these things. Seems obvious, right? But never check anything you would need if your luggage got lost or stolen. Of course you can replace most of these items while on vacation, but why should you have to?
- Tooth brush
- Two full mix & match outfits
In sum, pack smart. Packing light does not mean fashion is being sacrificed, but quite the opposite. If you pack smart, you can get a great diversity of outfits in one, tiny little carry-on. Makes it so much easier. But like I said, make sure you leave yourself with a little room for some souvenirs. My keepsake of choice, a Christmas tree ornament.