101 Tips For Packing Light

To help you learn how to pack light I’ve complied a list of 101 methods you can use to reduce the weight of your luggage and the amount of stuff you bring on your next trip.

By using these packing light tips to design a packing list you’ll be able to ditch that checked baggage, save money by avoiding excess baggage fees, and travel with just a small carry-on bag.

Whether you want to learn how to pack light for a week, 2 weeks, a month long trip, or for perpetual travel these hacks will teach you to travel lightly.

  1. Research your destination. I mean really research! I like to get on google Streetview and have a look around. Knowing exactly where you can get hold of everything will put your mind at rest and keep stuff out your bag. Check out what the locals wear. Make sure you anticipate the weather and pack accordingly.
  2. For most people overpacking clothes is the main problem. So rediscover hand washing. Washing machines are not the only way to wash clothes. Go try it now in your bathroom sink, it’s not so hard. Washing your clothes while traveling sucks. But it sucks way less than carrying a huge heavy bag.
  3. And if you clean clothes while traveling you won’t have a huge pile of laundry when you return.
  4. Bring your own travel laundry line.
  5. Bring a universal sink plug.
  6. You can even wash clothes in shampoo to save packing detergent.
  7. Speaking of shampoo… when packing pay close attention to any liquids. Most liquid items that you pack are available in lighter dry versions. Replace shower gel with a bar of soap. You are literally packing water weight. Shampoo, Insect Repellant, Toothpaste, detergent, sunscreen, and cosmetics all have light-weight solid versions.
  8. Go digital wherever possible. If “there’s an app for that” then don’t pack it. Not packing books, cameras, maps etc if your phone can do it will save so much space.
  9. Do pack your smartphone. But keep it in your pocket to keep the weight out of your bag.
  10. Go where or when the sun is shining. You’ll need fewer clothes if it’s warm and dry. Winter wear is generally heavier.
  1. Pack Layers – Don’t take that heavy jacket, a sweater plus super light windbreaker gives you more options.
  2. Choose quick-drying, odor-resistant fabrics. They need washed less frequently and if you do wash them they dry fast. Merino wool is my favorite for shirts. You can wear the same merino shirt multiple times without washing. If you insist of washing after every wear synthetic fabrics dry the fastest. Linen is also a great choice of fabric for travel clothing.
  3. Pack versatile neutral colors and styles for your outfits. Packing light actually begins long before your trip. Building a travel capsule wardrobe begins with choosing the right styles and fabrics long before you think about packing your bag.
  4. If you don’t like neutral colors choose 1 single bold color like red to form the basis for your entire wardrobe.
  5. Wear your heavy, bulky items on the plane. This will leave extra space in your bag.
  6. A marked item is a waste of space. So pack clothes turned inside out to avoid getting visible marks and stains.
  7. Jeans are heavy. A single pair of jeans can weigh almost 1 lb. So take only 1 pair or even better choose lighter pants.
  8. Pack shoes sparingly. 1 stylish pair of boots and 1 pair of sandals can cover most footwear occasions. Hiking boots are for hiking vacations only and should be worn on the plane.
  9. Toiletries— Don’t pack any. Buy them at your destination or use those tiny travel bottles if you must. Your liquids allowance is a maximum not a target. Solid toiletries are more weight efficient that liquid toiletries.
  10. Pick the right luggage. This is one of the most important packing tips. Choose a smaller, lighter carry-on size bag that sets your limits. Then compress and compromise like a manic to make things fit inside. A rolling suitcase can weight over 10 lbs before you even pack anything in it!
  1. Choose a smaller bag made from lightweight materials. Leather might be durable but it’s heavy. Ballistic nylon is extremely strong and light.
  2. Excessive compartments, gadgets and padding sells bags but it makes bags heavier too. Keep it simple.
  3. If you can, lose the luggage wheels and hard-shell case. They add weight and with these tips, your bag will be light enough to carry. A 30 – 40 liter carry-on sized backpack is the sweet spot for hand luggage.
  4. Don’t take your laptop. This is a game changer. You can do a lot of things on a smartphone or a tablet these days.
  5. Check out Sentio Desktop for an app that turns your android phone or tablet into a desktop experience. Pack a travel bluetooth keyboard and mouse if you must.
  6. Audio Books offer the best entertainment per gram or gigabyte. I know you like to watch a movie on the plane but the book is always better than the film right? And these days with big name actors narrating often the audio book is often better than the book.
  7. Get a porter, your husband or your kids to carry your things for you.
  8. Plan in advance! Or even better actually trial pack the main bag. If you pack at the last minute you’ll overpack. Do some test packing in advance.
  9. Go for a trial walk locally with your luggage. Better to learn the error of your ways while you are still at home so you can make corrections. Remember to test carrying your bag upstairs and running for a bus!
  10. Take only what you know you need. No “what ifs”.
  1. Beware the packing system. Adding compression packing cubes, compression bags, compression sacks, toiletry bags, and other organizers. While they may help organize and save space they don’t make your bag weigh less! You can do a lot of organization and compression with rubber bands and polythene food bags.
  2. Rolling clothes allows you to take a smaller lighter pack.
  3. Use the space inside shoes, bras etc. Keep your bag size and weight down.
  4. Leggings are lightweight and versatile.
  5. Raincoat plus sweater plus hat plus gloves beats a heavy jacket. 10% of your body heat is lost through your head. Pack a woolly hat if you’re going to cooler climates.
  6. Sleep naked and leave the pajamas behind.
  7. Take cheaper lightweight accessories and jewelry or none at all. You can leave behind fears of losing your most precious gold and diamonds too!
  8. Leave behind cash and take a prepaid travel money card. TD Bank doesn’t charge you for worldwide ATM fees and offers a great exchange rate if you keep a balance of $2500. Also, a Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account automatically reimburses you for ATM fees worldwide. You don’t need to carry cash.
  9. You don’t need to print out everything. Most airlines will let you board using a barcode on your phone. Your hotel has a record of your reservation. You don’t need to bring a filing cabinet. Just take photos of any important documents.
  10. There will be snacks available at the airport and on the plane. You don’t need to pack snacks unless you have some special dietary need. Save those calories for a nice meal at your destination.
  1. Never pack a towel. Sorry Douglas Adams. Hotels provide them and besides, you will dry naturally even without one. A beach towel might be appropriate for a beach vacation but they are usually very cheap to buy on location.
  2. Pack only things that make you happy. You like to wear your favorite clothes again and again right?
  3. Ladies… Lace boxers are sexy, lightweight and easy to wash in the hotel room sink.
  4. Mail your dirty laundry home. Mail cheaper clothes you could afford to lose forward to your hotel before you arrive.
  5. Take those old holy socks on a final journey. Throw them in the trash once worn.
  6. Hide your house keys under a rock or leave them with a friend or neighbor. You don’t need to take your house keys around the world with you.
  7. Avoid over-sized headphones and opt for earbuds.
  8. If you do take a laptop replace the charger with a small lightweight dart laptop charger.
  9. Buy shorter versions of any cables you take with you to reduce weight.
  10. Get your eyesight corrected with laser eye surgery. You won’t need to carry your glasses or contact lenses with you anymore. (NOTE: Packing light is a dumb reason to get laser eye surgery)
  11. A diva cup. As I guy I can’t really comment on this but just throwing it out there.
  12. Wear thin, short ankle socks rather than full length. Or better still no socks.
  13. Thongs are lighter than knickers.
  14. Heck… why not go commando!
  15. If you are an American remember you have the right to bare arms. Short sleeves rather than long. Vests rather than t-shirts. Who needs sleeves anyway )
  16. Crop tops.
  17. Invent your own uniform. Steve Jobs famously wore a black turtleneck, blue jeans and New Balance sneakers every day. Mark Zuckerberg wears jeans and a grey t-shirt to work every day. These guys didn’t waste time deciding what clothes to wear and I’m sure they could pack light if they needed to! What do you look best in? Why not wear that every day?
  18. Always remember… the most attractive thing you can wear is a smile.
  19. If you can reduce your luggage down to a small backpack you won’t need to take a day bag. Just leave the heavy things at the hotel and use the said small backpack as the day bag.
  20. If you do pack a day bag make sure it’s a tiny lightweight one.
  1. Share things with your travel partner. Would 1 phone charger suffice?
  2. Visualize your over-packing pain. You are dragging your heavy checked bags up those stairs. You are lifting that bulky carry-on suitcase into the overhead compartment try to find a space to squeeze it in.
  3. A smaller lighter travel backpack fits under the seat in the plane. Hurrah! No more fighting for space in the overhead bin.
  4. Remember…. lost luggage IS A THING. Get your weight down to carry on only and never lose a bag.
  5. Let experience be your priority. For this pack your eyes, ears, nose and taste buds. Let the sun beat down on your skin, let your feet feel the earth on which you walk. Let the rain wash away your troubles and let the wind blow through your hair. Amen.
  6. If you don’t know people where you are going. It won’t matter if you wear the same clothes 2 days in a row.
  7. Use a manual toothbrush rather than electric.
  8. Don’t like doing hand laundry in the hotel sink? Ditch the hotel and stay in an airbnb that has a washing machine.
  9. Or book a hotel that is near to a launderette.
  10. Phone your hotel and ask what amenities they have available? Don’t pack anything you can borrow at your destination.
  11. Tiny perfume samples are great for traveling. Get some before you go!
  12. Not going somewhere with a sink? Pack a scrubba wash bag.
  13. Dry clothes quickly by laying rolling them up in a towel then dancing on them. It really works!
  14. Are you a travel jogger? Then try “barefoot” minimalist running shoes. Fewer injuries and lighter to pack than sneakers.
  15. Work out! Make your bag SEEM lighter by getting bigger muscles!
  16. Lose some weight if you can do so healthily. A smaller body means smaller clothes and that means a smaller and lighter pack. It will help with those speedo vacation snaps too!
  17. Don’t pack loads of travel security gadgets i.e. body wallets etc The world is not as scary a place as you think. Pack your common sense instead.
  18. Solid stick antiperspirant deodorant will stop your clothes from becoming smelly.
  19. Pay attention to the fees you might pay for checking luggage. They will make you think twice about heavy checked luggage.
  20. Large bags often mean taking a taxi. And taxi drivers the world over just love a tourist because they can take them the extra-long scenic route! With a small light bag, you can just hop on public transport.
  21. Multi-functionality is good. Items that have more than 1 use get you bonus packing points.
  22. Empty your purse or wallet of all the membership cards, receipts etc that you don’t need. Make sure you have a small wallet or purse. A money clip is a good idea.
  23. Tear or photograph the interesting pages from your guidebook. Leave the book.
  24. When you come home from a trip. Separate your things into two piles. All the stuff that you needed and all the stuff that you didn’t. Take a photo, print it out and pin it to your suitcase to remind you next time.
  25. Change the experience of your load by distributing the weight. A backpack spreads the load across your back and hips. Take items from your pack and put them in your pockets.
  26. Ask advice from people familiar with your destination. Do you think I’ll need this?
  27. Your ego and fear about what other people think about you weighs the most. It’s responsible for most of what you pack in your case. To really travel light… don’t care so much what people think.
  28. Do pack your inner self-confidence. You don’t need “that thing” to make you feel good, look good or be special. You are special without it all and you’ll do just fine!
  29. vaccination weighs less than a hefty medical bill.
  30. Remember, if you are carry-on only you won’t need to wait at the baggage claim.
  31. Listen to Rick Steves. “There are two types of people in the world. Those who pack light and those that wish they had.” Thanks Rick!
  32. Use lockers in train stations to stash your luggage and collect later.
  33. Travel often. Because the more you travel the more you will learn to jettison things you don’t use or need.
  34. You can use a sarong as a towel and a blanket.
  35. If you grow a beard and you won’t need to pack a razor.
  36. Waxed legs will stay smooth for 3 to 6 weeks. If your trip is shorter you won’t need a razor for your legs. Or just go natural.
  37. Tie helium balloons to your backpack. But not too many or you will float away ????
  38. Ask a impartial friend to pack for you or hire a wardrobe consultant to help you pack. Yes that’s a real thing ))
  39. Study the packing lists of light packers.
  40. Ignore other people’s rules. It’s your bag put what you want in it!
  41. And lastly the final tip…. and the only 1 that you really need. Take less stuff with you!