Let’s face it. We all look forward to family travel, but no one looks forward to packing! Over the years, we have learned that the more we can pack light, the better the travel experience we can have. Well, most of us have learned this. Clint is still trying to pack light. 😉
If you want to travel on budget airlines, cover a lot of destinations in a short period of time, or just enjoy international travel a bit more, there really is nothing that impacts this more than packing light. The beauty of this is that it can also save you money on baggage fees as well as saving your back from lugging that suitcase up tons of stairs or over cobblestone streets!
Read on for some of our favorite tips to help you pack light for your next adventure! In the meantime, if you want to go to our favorite destination (St. John, USVI), packing light is very easy. A few bathing suits and snorkel gear, and you are good to go!
Invest in a Few Important Pieces of Gear to Pack Light
There are a few pieces of gear that will make your life easier if you will invest in them before you head out on your next trip. First, invest in a bag that meets the luggage carry on requirements for as many airlines as possible. Mika carried this one on our recent 10 day/3 country/6 city trip. It was perfect for all of our Ryanair flights and carrying all over Italy and Santorini.
Second, do yourself a favor and invest in some packing cubes. If you have never used packing cubes, you may be thinking what I was before we got some. What is the big deal? When the key to packing light is taking up every square inch of space, these things quickly become your best friends. Why, you ask?
First and foremost, packing cubes really help with organization and repacking. This is especially true if you are only staying in locations for a day or two. Second, by rolling your clothes within these cubes, you can fit WAY more into the same suitcase all while easily zipping it, as the cubes keep their shape. Finally, packing cubes are great for keeping dirty clothes or outfits separate from clean ones until you get to that AirBnB that has the coveted washer. These cubes are made by lots of companies and come in all price ranges. Here are the ones that we use, and while on the cheaper side they have served us well.
Now that you have the right packing tools, the question becomes, “What do I actually need to pack?” While this will vary a bit depending on the season and destination, here are some guidelines that have worked for us.
Undergarments typically take up the least amount of space, so you can often pack more of these than other things. For a ten-day trip, 5 pairs of undergarments and socks work well if you are planning to do laundry at least once on your trip. If something goes wrong, they are also easy to wash in the sink and will dry overnight. While we are on the topic of socks, consider buying some good wool socks. Not only can you wear them multiple days without them smelling, but they are warm or cool as needed and help prevent blisters.
Next, decide what shoes you absolutely MUST take. If you will be doing a lot of walking, this may be your most important decision. We don’t recommend taking more than two pairs of shoes (as they take up a lot of room), so think about versatility and comfort. For example, a good pair of boots can do double duty as good walking shoes as well as being stylish.
The key to being able to pack light with the rest of your wardrobe is to pack items that can be mixed and matched and layered to make other outfits. It is also helpful if you pack non-cotton items for your base layers. Bryce likes to lay out all of the different ways that she can put her few items together to make outfits. Then, she takes photos of them in order to see how many actual outfits she will have for the trip.
We hope this helps you pack light, so you can enjoy every minute of your next trip. There really is something so freeing about traveling with a single bag!