Being able to pack efficiently and have enough clothes for an entire trip takes skill, hours of careful folding and painfully shifting through what you can live without- or just a bigger suitcase. Travelling light is honestly the best way to go: it saves you dragging heavy luggage around, gives you the ability to move quickly through airports and train stations and allows you to rescue some money that you would’ve spent on checking in your bag.
Having a small suitcase also causes you to resist the temptation to take your entire wardrobe abroad with you
So how can you achieve the ability to do all of that? The first step is to get a small suitcase. Check against airline restrictions for the right size so you can store it right above your head and relax without the worry it has been lost. Having a small suitcase also causes you to resist the temptation to take your entire wardrobe abroad with you.
One thing to bear in mind is the weight. So, make sure you measure your bag at home. How do you know if you’ve packed light if you don’t know the weight of your luggage? Weighing your bag before it’s too late and you’re at the airport is a good idea.
Writing up a packing list is also a great idea, making sure that you only pack the essentials. If it’s not on the list, it’s not going in. You can make your own list or simply find them online.
Only pack garments that can be colour-coordinated with everything else in your travel wardrobe
Next, limit the number of clothes you are taking. Try thinking about what you really need to take with you. Do you really need three pairs of sandals or could you survive with just one? One way to help filter down clothes is to only pack garments that can be colour-coordinated with everything else in your travel wardrobe. If an item doesn’t work in multiple outfits, leave it at home.
There are many tips on how to pack your clothes in a suitcase effectively, however I find rolling clothes helps keep them from getting too creased. Everyone has their own method from using compression packing cubes to just throwing it all in, so this step definitely requires trial and error.
Buying shampoo and shower gel once you have arrived will save you space in your bag
Another tip is toiletries. Unless you are travelling to a very remote location, you can be sure that there are shops abroad, usually stocked with the brands you know and love from back home. Buying shampoo and shower gel once you have arrived will save you space in your bag, and also not restrict you to only travelling with 100ml. Hotel freebies can also bulk up your supplies.
It might seem obvious, but it’s wise to always have a tablet or phone at hand. You can access almost all of your tickets online and it helps cut down on tickets, books, maps and travel guides. It also means that you have some entertainment for when you’re travelling as some flights can feel like you’re travelling for a lifetime. A portable charger will also become your best friend if you are only relying on a phone to keep all your necessities. Also, definitely get the plug extender with USB charge port so you only need cords and aren’t lugging around extra plugs.
Consider if what you are packing comes in a compact version
If you haven’t used a particular medication in the last few weeks/month, you’re unlikely to use it while you’re away. All those ‘just in case’ medicines can add a lot of non-essential bulk. Meanwhile, most places have a pharmacy. Make sure, however, that if you do require essential medication, that you check online for the requirements of the country you are entering to be sure you can bring them with you, as some countries differ in their regulations and legal status of certain medicines.
Consider if what you are packing comes in a compact version. Travel pillows are bulky and water carriers are a permanent space taker. Yet, both come in deflatable/collapsible form. Also remember to empty your bulky purse before you leave. It’s unlikely you’ll use your local coffee loyalty card while you’re away. You’ll be surprised at the weight you’ll save. It may not factor into your overall luggage allocation.
To make sure you have everything you need for your trip away and for more country-specific travel advice that is updated regularly, you can visit FCO’s website here.