How to: Pack Light

By: Anna Persson

By: Anna Persson

Imagine arriving at your destination knowing nothing stands between you and the crisp air of London or the humid heat of Thailand? No fumbling and waiting at baggage collection for you! You’ve packed light, you’ve packed smart and you’re ready to grab that 22in x 14in x 9in (give or take) backpack and are able hit the ground running.

There are several benefits to traveling with just a carry-on besides simply skipping the wait at the baggage carousel, trying to spot the red ribbon on your suitcase amongst the other red ribboned suitcases. Traveling light makes for easier travel. The less weight you’ve got on your back or that you’re dragging behind you (do yourself a favor and buy yourself a good backpack that you can carry on you) - the quicker you move and the more freedom you have!

So, whether it be a weekend trip or a longer destination, it’s totally doable to pack light and get away with just carry-on.

Firstly, you’ll want to check what the carry on requirements are for the airline you’re flying with; make sure that your chosen bag/backpack fits those dimensions and stays under that weight! Whilst some airlines can be lenient (always be extra nice to the person weighing your bag) with a little extra weight, some will charge you extra, a lot extra. Not fun!

I’ve learned the hard way when packing for an adventure you won’t need half the stuff that you’re putting in your bag. Struggling to lift a backpack that weighed a third of my body weight in an airport in Dublin springs instantly to mind...

So, how do you do it? Pack cleverly!

As far as clothes go, pack several different options for tops and bottoms that can be mixed up! A faithful pair of black jeans that can be paired with different tops goes a long way. Same goes for shorts if your destination sees you reveling in the warmth.

If you know what you’re going to be doing whilst you’re away - prepare for that. If you know you’re going to be going to a fancy restaurant, going out for a boogie or going for a hike - pack what you plan on wearing! This may seem obvious but it can easily be forgotten. Rolling your clothes over folding them will save you space. I even tie mine with rubber bands to make sure things don’t go too haywire and that I can find my clothes easier.

With restrictions on toiletries and liquids being 100ml/3.4 ounce containers, you’ll need to make sure your shampoos/conditioners/soaps meet these requirements. You can pick up these containers in most supermarkets or purchase travel sized versions of the ones you already use. Alternatively, you can pick up soap/shampoo bars which will save you space and are better for the environment! LUSH does really lovely ones that I’ve used on occasion.

Most airlines will allow you a laptop or camera bag in addition to your carry-on which will save you precious packing space, as will opting for a kindle over several bulky books (I know, I love the feel and smell of a “real” book too).

Microfibre travel towels are fantastic space savers and dry quickly too. If you’re staying at a hotel/hostel - check ahead to see if they provide towels! If you’re staying with Aunty Jan or that old friend from college, don’t be shy in asking if they’ve got one you can pinch.

I’ve always found that wearing your heaviest shoes and heaviest jacket on the plane will save you a significant amount of space. Plus you can take them off and stow them overhead/underneath as soon as you’re onboard.

Generally though, just pack what you will actually need and if you have reservations about something - don’t pack it!

And if all that fails, just wear ALL your clothes on the plane and fill your pockets! ;)