Are you tired of waiting in the carousel line at the airport? Do you hate lurching around with all your luggage? Do you want to easily walk down the airplane aisle or down a city street? Do you want to be able to fit everything you need for your vacation in a small backpack?

It’s not as hard as you think and it is definitely worth it. Once you try traveling light, you’ll never go back. It’ll change the entire way you vacation and will make everything more adventurous.

So, are you ready to experience the awesome freedom of traveling light? If so, here’s a few tips to get you started.

Packing Pointers

  1. Planning: Look over your vacation itinerary and decide what clothes are truly necessary. If you are going swimming, you’ll need a swimsuit but maybe not goggles, a huge beach towel, or a wrap. Leave those at home. Only bring the essentials. And make a list before you start packing.
  2. Rolling: Rolling your clothes is your best friend. You’ll be able to fit more clothes in your backpack if you roll most of them, plus it minimizes wrinkles.
  3. Laundry: Plan to do laundry on your trip so that you can wear your clothes more than once. You can buy a sink stopper and some Tide travel sink packets or a bar of Fels-Naptha or Zote for less than $10. And it takes less than an hour to do a load of laundry in the sink. Or you can take your clothes to a local laundromat or have the hotel do them, but that will cost more and isn’t as fun.
  4. Clothing Types: The best types of clothing for packing light are those that are light, resilient, versatile, comfortable, and dry quickly. These clothes pack smaller and can be used for more activities. Also consider dual-purpose clothes like pants that can be turned into shorts by zipping off the legs.
  5. Selective Shoes: Shoes can be the worst enemy to packing light. They take up a lot of space in a small backpack, so you have to be selective. We were doing a lot of sporty activities on a trip to Costa Rica that involved a lot of different terrain so we packed some rugged Keen sandals with the toe covering and wore a pair of light running shoes. And think about using your shoes as storage space. A lot of your socks can usually be stuffed in your shoes.
  6. Layering: If it suddenly gets a lot colder than you expect, layers are a lot more effective than you think. We brought a running rain jacket that packed super small, a dri-fit long-sleeved shirt, and lots of dri-fit t-shirts. And when we were zip-lining at high speeds through a cloud forest during a freezing rainstorm being pelted by raindrops, we were still quite warm with our one or two t-shirts, the long-sleeved shirt, and the jacket over the top. Layers are magical.
  7. Pack a Daypack: For even more versatility, you can throw in a daypack. We had one that rolled up tiny so it hardly took up any space but it was great to take on our small hikes in the rainforest or to use as an extra bag for snacks.
  8. Pack Your Phone: No need to bring heavy books, travel guides, or maps when you’ve got a smartphone. Download copies of those onto your phone or email yourself a PDF. And remember to keep digital copies of your important travel documents on your phone too.
  9. Go Solid: Try packing solid toiletries instead of liquids. They are usually smaller, lighter, and make it easier to stay within the airport liquid allowance. Bring soap instead of shower gel, a laundry bar instead of liquid detergent, and a stick of sunscreen instead of a bottle. We used the stick of sunscreen on our vacation, which went on like deodorant, and thought it worked pretty well.
  10. Use Travel Size: There is travel-sized items for a reason. You don’t need a huge tube of toothpaste for your two-week vacation, same goes for shampoo, lotion, sunscreen, etc. You can also look at getting miniature versions of toothbrushes, brushes, flat irons, and even hair dryers (although most hotels have these).

Now it’s time to take these tips and actually do them. Try them out on your next vacation. Take a chance, be adventurous, and try something new. You won’t regret it.

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