Packing for a vacation should be fun, but honestly, it’s not. The premise of going away is so exciting UNTIL it comes down to the actual packing…especially if you are planning on packing light as a seasoned traveler. And no one – even those who love ultra-minimalist travel – wants to reach their destination to find that they have left necessities behind. Boo!
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With the right planning and execution, you can learn how to pack quickly for a weekend trip or get by on your next trip with only a carry-on. Promise! You’d be surprised, but packing light is doable with these carry-on packing tips.
You can take everything you will need by just packing a carry-on!
Packing Light – Carry-on Packing Tips
Why should you be packing light?
Even though it’s tempting, packing for a vacation should not include toting along all of the contents of your home. Right? Vacations are about enjoying yourself and having adventures, so if you want to know how to pack light for 2 weeks be sure to leave your house behind!
When packing, bring things matter and only what you truly need. This is easier said than done, but keep reading and you will have a better idea of how to pack in a carry-on.
Purchase a quality carry-on.
Packing tips wouldn’t be complete without addressing the thing you are packing IN. First and foremost purchase a case that meets airline carry-on size dimensions. If you are trying to learn how to pack light for 3 days or more, it may be good to get a carry-on that has wheels, especially if you are taking a flight.
Also, the more pockets/zippers/compartments, the better! It’s easy to lose track of where things are in a bag – especially one as small as a carry-on. So, if there are small compartments, it makes it that much easier to keep track of what goes where. Another key is to have a system as to where things go, so you don’t have to relearn where everything gets placed inside the bag.
Below are a few recommendations for carry-on bags for packing light.
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After all, packing light can mean more things in one bag, which can get heavy. Having your hands free is important, too, especially when you are at an airport and have to show ID or your ticket. So, investing in a quality carry on is a big step, and then pack it as efficiently as you can.
Take just the basics.
Make a mental list or write down the items you want to take along. Curate an itemized list of wearables such as jewelry, clothing, undergarments, and shoes. Don’t forget a bathing suit and cover-up if you’re going to be going somewhere tropical and beachy. Make sure to put practical things on your lists like chargers, cords, toiletries, medications, and jewelry. It’s amazing what you “know” you will take only to have it not arrive at your final destination because *drumroll* you forgot!
How to pack light for a week is about optimizing everything you do bring. For example, pairing the same skirt with a different top the next day is perfectly acceptable. Try to coordinate colors or stick with a certain palette to maximize mixing and matching your pieces. Try to curate a special wardrobe of pieces that travel well and don’t require ironing to look pressed.
Start to pack smart.
Packing a carry on is all about packing smart. A good strategy for maximizing limited space is to roll your clothing tightly and use all of the available compartments in your luggage. Rolling up your clothing right down to your underwear ensures not a bit of valuable space is going to waste. For example, you can use the insides of your shoes to pack socks or sealed small toiletry items such as toothpaste or shaving cream. This is such a great tip for ultralight business travel.
Bring things that are travel-friendly and take up a little bit of space. Instead of a big, bulky winter coat, invest in a thin, down-filled puffer coat that can keep you just as warm yet takes up minimal space. Need an umbrella? Buy a travel-sized one.
Another rule of thumb is to take a small bag along with you for extras. If you purchase souvenirs – honestly, even when you don’t buy anything, it seems like there is always more coming home than you left with – you may need something to put them in on the way home. Having a tiny shopper’s tote can help with extra purchases.
Traveling by plane? Be sure to stick with the travel size rule! The maximum amount of liquids is one quart-sized clear bag filled with containers no larger than 100 ml (3.4 ounces) in size. I have seen MANY liquids abandoned at the TSA line due to disregarding that rule.
Limit the number of items you bring.
Headed to the beach? You’re probably going to be barefoot and not even need true shoes or socks. So if you must bring socks along on your vacation then just pack one or two lightweight pairs, and even if you have to wash them (or underwear) in the bathroom sink it’s perfectly fine. Many lightweight clothing pieces can be washed and air-dried on the go if necessary.
How to pack light for Europe? If you are traveling to various locations, plan on wearing a few things more than once. Jeans can certainly be worn multiple times, and chances are that tops can, too – especially if you didn’t sweat or if you wore a tank or camisole underneath. Think about layers as a way to maximize your outfits and wearability instead of bringing along more stuff.
A key to packing light is remembering that less is better.
Paring down what you pack and perfecting how to save space in a carry on is a fabulous way to travel. Taking along only what you need for your vacation means you’ll never worry about lost luggage again. If you have everything with you, it can ease your mind and make your travels more enjoyable.