Packing light requires you to really think about what you need to bring for however long you intend to be traveling. For many people, packing for a trip often means bringing two or more pieces of luggage on top of a laptop bag and carry-on purse. However, traveling this way is often more cumbersome than intended—especially when traveling alone and visiting multiple locations.
Thus, traveling with just one bag is a great way to go. Bringing a carry-on with all your essentials means you don’t have to worry about checking in your luggage or having a difficult time managing all your belongings. And because your luggage stays with you at all times, you can instantly begin your adventure once you alight your plane, bus, or boat.
But how do you get started? This article explores what you need to do before your next trip so that you can travel lighter and still have a great experience wherever you are.
Choose the Right Luggage
Packing light begins with choosing the right carry-on bag or wheeled luggage. Ideally, you should find a bag that has multiple pockets and storage areas, with several zippers and safety features as well.
It’s a good idea to practice with your carry-on bag. You should be able to easily find your essentials, such as your mobile phone and passport, and not have to spend too much time scrounging through your bag just to get them. Keep in mind that most thefts occur when people look preoccupied with their personal luggage. Thus, appearing confident with your carry-on bag significantly reduces the risk of any untoward incident.
Pack Versatile Clothes
When choosing clothes to wear while traveling, it’s best to pack items that can be mixed and matched into different outfits. A great place to start is by packing two of your favorite cozy denim leggings along with three neutral shirts. From there, you can decide on other items based on your personal style and the specific needs of your intended destination. For example, you may need to bring a raincoat if you’re going to a tropical area or a scarf if you’re headed to places with cooler temperatures.
When packing light, it’s best to go for classic items rather than one-off pieces that follow a fashion trend. This means prioritizing well-fitting pants and t-shirts over clothes such as bejeweled cropped tops.
Choose Lightweight Fabrics
As much as possible, try to choose clothes that are made from lightweight materials. Not only does this lessen the space you need in your carry-on bag, but it also reduces the weight you need to carry as you travel. Silk, cotton, linen, and breathable polyester are some popular options.
For example, you can trade your bulky jeans for a pair of high-quality leggings. Darker-colored leggings can be worn as pants and can be easily matched with different tops to create several outfits. If you are heading to a destination with a cool climate, you can wear a heavy or bulky jacket on the plane and use several light clothing layers to keep warm instead of packing several sweaters.
Invest in Packing Cubes
Once you’ve decided on the clothes you’ll bring and the specific bag you’ll be using, you need to use the right packing cubes. There are a variety of packing cubes available on the market today, each catering to a specific need. A good rule of thumb is to have three to five packing cubes that organize your essentials by category. Choose a larger cube for bulkier items and a smaller one for your undergarments and socks. It’s also recommended that you find packing cubes that have a clear top so that you can see where everything is.
Work Your Way Up
The best way to know what you need and travel light is to experience it firsthand. Before traveling internationally with just a carry-on bag, try smaller trips within your locality or state first. This will give you a great idea of the clothes that you should pack and even the type of bag to bring. For example, while many people prefer a backpack, some solo travelers prefer an over-the-shoulder messenger-type bag instead.
Having first-hand experience using a carry-on bag for local travels will help you determine what works best for you. Keep in mind that your goal should always be your comfort, so choose a bag that you will feel comfortable carrying and doing all your activities in. You also need to consider how much you should pack in your bag. Make sure that you don’t put so many items in your luggage that it becomes too heavy to carry.
While you may have carefully followed all the tips above to travel lightly, keep in mind that sometimes travel doesn’t work out as expected. Regardless of how well you plan, it’s possible to encounter a situation that you didn’t consider. But this is the beauty of travel, and it can be an opportunity to exercise your creativity and adaptability.
Keep an open mind and maintain your sense of adventure so that you can enjoy all the experiences—with a carry-on bag that allows you to freely explore the world.