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.

Whether you want to learn how to pack light for a week, 2 weeks, a month, 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.
  2. For most people dirty clothes are dead weight. They don’t offer you anything for the rest of your trip. So rediscover hand washing. 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 launder 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. Shampoo, Soap, 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. Books, cameras, maps etc etc if your phone can do it then use your phone.
  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.
  1. Layers – Don’t take that heavy jacket, a sweater plus light windbreaker gives you more options.
  2. Fabrics — choose quick drying, odor resistant fabrics. They need washed less and if you do wash them they dry fast. Merino wool is my favorite but synthetic fabrics dry the fastest.
  3. Pack versatile neutral colors and styles for your outfits.
  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 heaviest, bulkiest items on the plane. Keep them out of 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. Take only 1 pair or even better choose lighter pants.
  8. 1 stylish pair of boots and 1 pair of sandals can cover most footwear occasions.
  9. Toiletries— Don’t pack any. Buy them at your destination or use those tiny travel bottles if you must.
  10. Pick the right bag. This is important. Choose a smaller, lighter bag that sets your limits. Then compress and compromise like a manic to make things fit inside.
  1. Choose a 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 backpack is the sweet spot for carry-on luggage.
  4. Don’t take your laptop. You can do a lot of things on a smartphone 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 ounce. 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 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. Be careful about adding packing cubes, compression sacks, toiletry bags, and other organizers. While they may help organize 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.
  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.
  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. If you do pack a day bag make sure it’s a tiny lightweight one.
  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 bag up those stairs. You are lifting that heavy suitcase into overhead lockers.
  3. A smaller lighter bag 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. 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!