If you are someone who regularly pays excessive baggage fees, packing light can seem daunting. Many of the tips on how to travel light will suggest packing two weeks’ worth of luggage in a small, hand-held bag. There is a middle ground, don’t worry.

Here are some quick changes and swaps you can make in your packing system to reduce your luggage weight and maximize space. You don’t have to wear the same pair four days consecutively. Some of these hacks may be easier to commit to than others. That’s fine. Because I have straight, bone-straight hair, there is no reason to bring straighteners. 

I am proving that traveling light does not necessarily mean traveling extremely light. Your bag will become lighter with every decrease you make. If you aren’t able or ready to make these changes all at once, you can always add more when you travel.

How to Pack Light

It makes my travels so much easier. If you are still not convinced, here is a list of the many benefits of traveling light.

  • No excess baggage fees
  • If you are able to achieve the holy grail of ‘carry on only’, there will be no checked baggage fees
  • Porters should not be paid excessively high ‘guilt’ tips in order to help you get your bags to your room.
  • No more airport trolley fees
  • It’s quicker to pack at home than at the destination
  • Multi-destination trips are less stressful
  • Moving all that weight around is safer.

Tips for packing light

1. Do not use a large suitcase. Instead, start with a smaller one.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your bag is, you will always fill it so packing smaller bags will be more beneficial in the long-term. If you have a large suitcase and need to pack light, this swap could be the solution.

2. Do not guess the weight of your bag. Get some travel scales to ensure accuracy

If you don’t know how much your bag weighs, how can you tell if it’s light? If you have too many bags, it’s a bit late to weigh them at the airport.

3. Do not pack by looking through all your belongings – make a list and stick to it.

You’ve probably pulled out your large suitcase and stuffed in all your’must-have’ items only to realize that you still have room. You think, as you go through your drawers looking for clothes that you don’t need. Be strong. Only pack the essentials. Use a packing list. If it isn’t on the list it won’t go in.

4. Use compression packing cubes to pack your clothes.

Packing cubes make it easier to find your things while you’re away. They also limit the number of clothes you can take. The compression element can reduce the space that clothes take up. This is more of an area-saving tip than a weight-saving one. The packing cube will be heavier the more compression you do.

To avoid creases, I take the cubes with me when I go out. For the return trip, I compress them to make sure there is enough space for souvenirs.

5. You don’t need to bring shoes for every occasion. Limit your footwear choices to three pairs of dual-purpose shoes

It’s fine to have brown sandals with your white dress, and black heels with your cute shorts. You have to be careful with your bag space, as shoes can take up much of it. Today, I only have one pair of shoes that I use every day (sandals in winter and boots in summer), plus a pair each of flats and running shoes for outdoor activities.

8. Do not pack heavy, bulky clothes. Instead, choose lightweight, technical winter clothing

Smart swaps can help you save space and weight. A thin cotton skirt is lighter than a thick pair of linen trousers. You can also use a few layers to replace a bulky jumper. My best tip for winter wear is to invest in technical clothing. The North Face is my favorite brand, but Uniqlo and cheaper brands have thinner thermal options. A pair of leggings, or tights underneath your clothes can provide warmth and weightlessness without adding bulk. Jeans should not be your friend when packing. If possible, limit yourself to just one pair.

9. Do not pack the largest of your wearables – just wear them

The temperature at airports is generally the same regardless of where they are located. Also, flights are often cold. Don’t forget your boots and jeans! Although you may sweat for 30 minutes during your arrival transfer, you will have more room in your bag.

Do not pack warm, bulky clothes just in case. Pack for sunny weather if the forecast is favorable. If temperatures drop dramatically, you can always get an extra layer for a small fee.
Check out this video to learn more about stress-free packing.