One of the big secrets to traveling cheap and comfortably is packing light. This helps a couple things:
– No long lines at the airport if you do online check in! Just show up with your printed boarding pass and head straight to security.
– No luggage charges!! This one’s huge. Most value plane tickets don’t include luggage and the prices for checked luggages get higher and higher. Take advantage of carry on
– No need to wait for your luggage after you land! After those long immigration lines no one wants to wait another 20 minutes for their luggage, just have your luggage already with you.
– No lugging around a big suitcase when you get to your location! If you have to take a train or a bus from the airport, or walk through a city, a big suitcase is that last thing you want to have to carry with you.
There’s tons of reasons why packing light is the better option and it’s completely doable! So many of us get caught up in the idea of “it’s better to have it and not need it,” or “i need to have options” and the truth is, you can totally have options and have it and not need it and still be taking only a carry on with you! Here’s a few tricks I’ve learned over my multiple trips to various places of the world:
– Packing cubes! These are the best purchase for any avid traveler. They allow you to not only keep your bag organized (shirts in one, pants in another, etc) making it easier to find things as you pack and unpack during your trip, but it also saves SO much space. It’s actually shocking how much you can fit in those and how much space they save you. I managed to pack winter wardrobe (thick sweaters, tons of long sleeves, scarves and multiple pants) into a single carry-on, and still had some space left over for all my little “extras.”
– Roll your clothes. There’s always been the argument of what’s better, rolling or folding your clothes, and for the longest time I thought folding them was the better option because they lay flat. But after trial and error, it’s true, rolling is such a space saver! and the simple reason behind that is you can fit things into every corner of your luggage. Small spaces that you don’t think too much when you’re packing and folding your clothes, actually add up to a lot of lost space. When you roll them, those small spaces start fitting small items that otherwise would take up unnecessary space.
– Pack items you can wear more than once. If you’re going on a short trip, it’s always a great idea to pack items that you can reuse a couple times. I always focus on this when it comes to pants. Jeans and pants can usually be worn a couple times before you throw them in the hamper, making this a huge item to save space on. Also, packing pants that aren’t as thick, such as leggings, allow you to roll them into small spaces and have tons of space for other items. Other things that can be reworn are jackets, don’t pack three jackets, instead pack one that goes with most if not every outfit and then pack a sweater that’s easily rolled and fit into the carry-on.
– Pack things that go well together. It’s a great idea to plan out outfits beforehand, but it’s even better when you can plan outfits that would all go great mixed and matched, so from the same few items you can come up with multiple outfits! Pack pants that are universal with most of your tops, like jeans, and make sure the colors are pretty neutral and easy to match with each other. You don’t have to give up looking cute in order to save space, just come up with neutral cute outfits and you’re set for your whole trip!
– Only pack a couple shoes. I know we like to pack lots of options and have different outfits for pictures and nights out, but frankly, no one except you will know if you’ve already worn those shoes the night before. Pack a good pair of shoes that go with all your outfits, including your airport one, so these don’t need to be packed. Then just pack a second pair for those days you’re feeling a little change. Again, neutral and easy to match, and this way you’ll have extra space for things like a towel or your hair straightener.
As much as we want to take our whole closet on our trips and have different and exciting outfits every day we’re abroad, it’s sometimes (I would say always) much better to save space and money with a carry-on luggage and spend that on the actual experience while you’re exploring around the world! The extra money could mean a nice meal, or a ticket into a museum, or simply something to fall back on incase you need it (which is usually the case).
Packing and traveling light is the smart way to travel!