I’m always harping on about how important it is to travel light. Traveling light gives you extra freedom and flexibility that you just don’t have with heavy luggage. You can move quickly through airports and train stations and it’s so much easier to take public transport with a small bag. You’ll save money by not having to check your bags in on a plane and you can keep your luggage close when you’re on trains and buses. You’re also less likely to lose things when you travel light because it’s easier to keep track of your belongings.
I could go on all day about the benefits of traveling light but I’ll leave it at that and start sharing my top tips for traveling light.
#1. Use a small, lightweight case
The oldest trick in the book and possibly the simplest way to pack light: Use a small suitcase or backpack so you can’t possibly fit too much in it. Don’t be tempted to get a case that’s slightly too big because you will fill that space with unnecessary crap.
For more inspiration and proof of the benefits of travelling with a small bag, check out this post by Chris over at Backpacker Banter: My 25L Backpack Challenge. Yep, he travelled for 3 weeks around Thailand with nothing but a 25L backpack!
I like to travel with just hand luggage and recommend Cabin Max for their lightweight suitcases that are the perfect size for cabin baggage. Something like the Cabin Max Stockholm is a good option as it’s the world’s lightest cabin approved trolley bag. A slightly sturdier option would be the John Lewis Miami as it has a hard shell, it’s really light and doesn’t come with a crazy expensive price tag.
#2. Pack 2 pairs of shoes and no more
Shoes can often be the bulkiest items in our bags so never travel with more than 2 pairs. Wear your bulkiest pair on the plane and an easy to carry pair in your bag.
You can’t beat a light pair of Converse for the day and an easy kitten heel for the evenings.
#3. 1 pair of trousers/jeans
Jeans or trousers are another bulky item to travel with so never travel with more than one pair and you should always wear these on the plane.
I usually opt for cotton Leigh jeans from Topshop. They’re soft and comfortable but they’re easy to dress up for the evenings too. I have them in a few different colors but black is the best for travel because they’ll match everything and no one really notices them, so you can get away with wearing the same jeans for days (don’t judge).
#4. Minimize toiletries
If you’re staying in a hotel you can guarantee you’ll be provided with shampoo and shower gel so leave these at home. This means that most guys can get away with nothing more than a travel sized deodorant and toothpaste.
Most ladies will find it a little more difficult because there are some toiletries you just can’t leave home without.
Look out for hardworking products that do a few different jobs. Baby oil is great for removing waterproof mascara and is also really moisturising. Opt for 2-in-1 products like BB creams that have SPF (I really like Clinique CC cream) and stock up on sample sachets of products that come free in magazines. Always wax rather than shaving so you don’t need to take a razor. Leave the bulky hair dryer at home and take a couple of head scarves if you have crazy, curly hair like me.
#5. Take an iPad/tablet
Cut down on tickets, books, magazines, a laptop, games, notepads, music, maps and travel guides and simply pack a tablet. My hand luggage used to be chocker with all sorts of entertainment options but now I just have my iPad and it’s made traveling so much easier.
Consider buying a portable charger if you’re planning on taking long journeys. I have one that isn’t much bigger than a lipstick but it will charge my iPad for about 5 hours. It’s a good backup for emergencies too – like if you’ve got your hotel confirmation email stored on your iPad and the battery has died.