Traveling with just hand luggage is unknown comfort to many. When we travel, many of us choose to bright a large suitcase, a small backpack and maybe even a bag of loose things. Unless your trip is 6 months long, you won’t need half of those things you’ve packed. But you can learn all about the art of light packing with this little guide and never overpack again!
First things first
Before you start packing, you need a quality hand luggage bag—something that’s durable, spacious yet practical and TSA-approved. Since many airlines have restrictions on the weight of your bag, look for a lightweight bag frame. Usually, soft-shelled are better than hard-shelled because they allow more movement and more things to fit. Additionally, when choosing between a backpack and a rolling case, keep in mind that the former is easy to carry when you have a lot of stairs or cobblestones, but the latter is better for heavier hand luggage.
Usually, airlines have strict bag size policies and they allow the max size of 55x35x20 cm or 22x14x9 inches. Make sure to read the requirements and buy a bag that will fit most airlines’ standards.
Buy packing cubes
When buying hand luggage, consider also investing in packing cubes. Packing cubes come in different sets with different pieces and sizes. And most of the time, they are also color-coded so you don’t lose track of your items. This way, you can separate your clothes and belongings and stay organized even when you’re super-tight on space. And as soon as you open your luggage, you’ll know where to search for what you need without making a mess all over your bag. When putting things in your packing cubes, consider rolling instead of folding—this minimizes creasing and fills out even the smallest nook and cranny in your packing cubes.
Pack versatile items
Some things are 100% essential, no matter where you’re going and how long you’re staying. When traveling, you need quality bamboo underwear for women that will serve you well during even the longest of hiking days. Bamboo undergarments are breathable, eco-friendly and warm in winter and cool in summer—perfect for any trip. Well, besides comfy undies, you also need to pack neutral-colored garments and coats/jackets/shoes that fit with any pieces. This way, you’ll maximize the number of outfits you can create with your limited number of items.
Wear your biggest items
Space is your worst enemy when traveling light, mainly because you have very little of it. To save space for important things and be able to sneak in an extra dress or pair of shoes, wear your heaviest items while traveling. Heavy walking boots and thick hoodies take up so much precious space, but you can comfortably wear them all through the airport.
Use the dead space
Did you know that a lot of your bag is usually wasted, especially the parts down the sides of your bag and the space inside your shoes. To eliminate this dead space, you can shove sunglasses, jewelry or socks inside shoes (and offer extra protection for them). Also, when packing, play around with the order of items, and maybe you’ll find a hole that can fit an extra t-shirt or hold one more souvenir.
Prepare your liquids
Ah, the liquid struggle on the plain, here we go again. As you already know, it’s not possible to bring liquids over 100ml into the cabin. Also, all your liquids need to be kept in a clear plastic bag in an accessible place. A good idea is to place them in your front backpack or suitcase pocket. This way, if they leak, your clothes will stay dry. If you’re a frequent traveler, it’s high time you invested in travel-sized reusable bottles. These are green, suitable for all sorts of liquids and products and much more practical than having to buy new bottles before every trip.
Pack solid toiletries
If you need more than just 100ml of liquids in your luggage because you need to pack soaps, creams, conditioners and shampoos, consider grabbing solid toiletries like soap bars, shampoo bars, toothpaste tablets, etc.—these are all allowed without a limit. And also remember that you’re probably going to destinations with stores and malls available, so you can buy something in case you can’t push the whole trip without it.
Bring bags for dirty shoes and laundry
If you have packing cubes, it’s not hard to get organized, but if you don’t, your laundry can get mixed up. And mixing dirty things with clean things is not hygienic. To create clear clean and dirty compartments, grab canvas laundry baggies (just to be more eco-friendly) and you won’t have to mix your clean and dirty laundry ever again. Plus, they are very useful for storing shoes.
Whenever you can, try to replace paper with digital devices—this will save a ton of space in your bag. For instance, you can download boarding passes and other documents so you don’t have to carry files with papers inside. Also, if you’re a big reader, grab an eReader and download all your favorite travel books on there so you don’t have to pack heavy and bulky books. And with tech, you can always have all your books, documents and other entertainment in one thin and compact place.
Block your urge to overpack
Packing items just in case you might need them is never a good idea. You will almost certainly not need these extra items that just take up space and make your bags heavier. If you see that you’re running out of space in your carry-on, go back through all the items and remove everything that is not essential—be merciless. And in case you really happen to need something, you can almost always buy it at your destination.
Once you start traveling with just a carry-on or a backpack, you will never go back to bulky suitcases. Being able to feel free and light is the whole point of traveling, and your small luggage will provide you with just that—freedom, mobility and adventure.