How to Pack Light – What you really need.

February 10, 2017

Happy me! I left snowy British Columbia for beautiful Sayulita, Mexico where I plan to wait out Mr. Winter. I'm fortunate to be able to travel quite a lot so I thought I'd share a travel tip on How to Pack Light.



Getting ready for your next trip? Maybe an exciting holiday destination or family reunion? Traveling light is not only an art, with so many airlines restricting baggage, it has become a necessity. Learning to travel light won't only lighten your load, but it's one of the tips on Travel Trauma (post coming soon).

First, buy a larger carry-on, just make sure it fits your airlines regulations. Also buy a large personal bag. This might be a briefcase, a man-bag or a large shoulder bag. Ladies this will replace your purse.

When you pack your carry-on, roll your clothing items rather than folding. You'll get more in this way.

  1. Only pack wrinkle free fabrics. These are easy to find nowadays, plus they take less luggage room.
  2. Pack one each of jeans, dress shoes or sandals, sweater, pajama top and bottoms. You will wear a pair of jeans, a sweater over a lighter top, and a pair of athletic shoes/sandals (see How to Avoid Travel Trauma.)
  3. Pack enough underwear and socks for five days. Ladies wear one bra and pack one. If you're going to a warm place, take two or three bathing suits, one sundress, one pair of sunglasses and one pair of flip-flops
  4. One medium size pouch (one that flattens – not a bulky box) for makeup/shaving items.
  5. One large plastic zip-lock bag with small containers for your liquids. Remember you have a 100 ml/3.4 oz max of liquid per container.
  6. If possible wear hair in a style that doesn't require the use of hair dryers and irons.
  7. If you're like me, you want to make sure you have a good sleep. I pack a memory foam travel pillow and a small folded memory foam mat. They are easy to squish down into the carry-on.
  8. One small backpack or small purse for use at your destination.
  9. Cords for all your devices.
  10. Power converters if you're going out of country. Not all power outlets are made the same.
  11. Pack travel laundry soap powder. Big aid in traveling light.
  12. Don't forget your prescriptions – make sure you have enough for the entire time you're away

Items for your personal bag. Never let this bag out of your sight.

  1. This is the MOST IMPORTANT one: Your passport – in a convenient but safe place.
  2. PRINT your itinerary and boarding passes and keep with your passport.
  3. Sundry items: gum, lipgloss/chapstick, reading glasses, eReader, small zip bag with earplugs and eye blinders, snacky food (NOT fresh fruit/vegetables or drinks), wet wipes, travel toothbrush
  4. Laptop/cellphone/ear buds
  5. Clear zip bag for sundry liquids such as travel toothpaste and hand sanitizer.
  6. Cash and credit cards. **very important**If you use a money belt to transport money, never use it like a wallet. Always take out small amounts in a private setting and put in your pocket or purse for making market transactions. No one should ever see that you are wearing your money on your person.

Remember: anything you don't pack with you, you can get at your destination. Once when I needed a clean shirt in Florence, I bought a t-shirt from a tourist vendor. Clean shirt plus souvenir!

Bought too much and can't get it all in for your trip home? Consider donating your old clothes to the local thrift store or clothing bin.

Want this list as a PDF?  Click HERE.

Like this post? Check out How to Avoid Travel Trauma (link)

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