We’ve never met a traveller who, after five trips, bragged: “Every year I pack heavier”.
From the moment you set off for your flight, to the moment you arrive home and try to jam all your dirty laundry into the machine – packing heavy makes things more difficult.
But is there a magic formula to packing light?
WeSwappers Ilana (I.M) and Liam (L.C) sought the help of expert travel bloggers and colleagues to settle this once and for all. Here are 10 essential tips for packing light.
Write a List (L.C)
Topping our list of essential tips to packing lightly is, of course, to write a list. Get everything down you think you should pack. Seeing a blue wooly jumper, navy wooly jumper and midnight blue wooly jumper scribbled down will force you into a cull.
Pack for 7 days
Nick Huggins of Nick’s Travel Bug doesn’t believe you should spend 7-days packing, but he thinks you should pack for a 7-day trip, no matter how long your journey. He says it is easier to find a laundrette once a week than to carry all that extra weight. Especially true if you’re on the move a lot.
Leave the shampoo/toiletries at home (I.M)
Unless you’re being dropped into the Amazon rainforest via parachute, there will be somewhere to pick up toiletries. In Airbnb accommodation there is often toothpaste as well as shampoo and soap. If you are actually in the Amazon, use coconut milk.
Skip the travel gadgets (L.C)
That mini massage cushion will probably sit in the bottom of your case for the entirety of your holiday anyway. Do you really need that mini subwoofer or batman travel flask?
Pack items that can perform double duty
Travel writer Katie Coakley is a big fan of items that can perform a double duty. One sarong from Thailand also serves as a tablecloth, picnic blanket, makeshift satchel (hobo style), pillow, head scarf and privacy curtain. Industrious.
Take a kindle (I.M)
Technology has saved us from having to fill half our suitcases with paperbacks – make the most of it. If you don’t own a Kindle then smartphone audiobooks are great and there is a now podcast for every genre and taste.
Ball up your socks, stuff your shoes
Spatial awareness is super important hence this tip from Isabel Clift, senior content editor at Web Reservations International: “Ball up your socks and underwear and stick them inside your shoes – this saves space in the rest of your bag”.
Limit yourself to two pairs of shoes (I.M)
Sounds difficult but the right pair of shoes can be incredibly versatile. Bring one pair you think you can wear in both the day and evening and a second pair that will depend on the type of holiday – hiking boots, flip flops, trainers or, erm, flippers?
So you really need that jacket? Wear it to fly in. (L.C)
If you absolutely must take your trusty leather jacket “just in case” then wear it for the flight to save some space! Job done.
Don’t pack towels
Forgo towels – they are heavy, big and hard to dry. Hotels and apartments will provide towels always and hostels will have them available for free or to rent.
Next time you’re sat on your suitcase trying to squeeze it shut at 3am, take a deep breath, print off this list… and start writing a list! And if you have any other tips to add to this – fill in the comments section below and we’ll add them on!