You’re looking forward to your holidays, thinking about what you’ll wear, what you’ll do while away and then it dawns on you…you have to pack! It seems like a good idea when booking flights to choose hand luggage only and travel light, especially if only away for a few days. How hard can it be? And look how much you save! But in reality, once you’ve chosen your favourite outfits, let alone shoes, getting it into the tiny suitcase is much harder than you imagined.
Is it possible to travel light?
I must confess, I am am not known to travel light. I want everything with me, all of the time!
If I go somewhere for the weekend, even just to stay at a friend’s house, I will bring a suitcase. A small one, but not as small as cabin luggage.
After booking cheap flights to Hungary without adding luggage allowance, I was determined to learn!
It was a great holiday deal, a 6 day trip, and very inexpensive (check out www.travelrepublic.co.uk) so I didn’t want almost half of that price going on extra luggage.
I’m very pleased to tell you that I managed it, with space to bring back more! And have managed to continue to pack light.
Two days of the trip were mostly travelling to London and then to Hungary. However, I still needed clothes for that! It was right in the middle of Winter, so I needed some warmer, space-taking clothes.
How to travel light.
- Buy the right sized case – it’s less stressful knowing the case will definitely be allowed. You can find luggage dimensions on the flight website for your journey.
- Lay everything out – if you lay everything out on the bed or floor, you’ll be able to determine if you really need some items.
- Mix and Match – choose clothes that mix and match with each other and outfits will be much easier. You don’t always know what you’ll need or what you’ll be doing.
- Bring a big handbag – this is a bit of a cheat, but I keep everything that needs unloading and loading in a handbag so no need too unpack at every stop.
- Roll your clothes – a tip learned and practiced for years. It stops the creases half way down your clothes and you will wrap them tightly, and manage to fit much more in than if neatly folding.
- Make use of every space – if you are bringing boots, fill them first with underwear or t-shirts, or other light items.
- Shoes in first – once your shoes are in, you can work around them, but if you put them in last, chances are you will need to rearrange. I know you think you need 5 pairs of shoes, but realistically, you need one nice pair and one pair for walking around in the day.
- Share – if you’re going with someone, I’m guessing you’d know them pretty well. So why not share things like shampoo, sunscreen, maybe even clothes that you can mix and match if you are similar sizes.
- Toiletries – keep these in a separate clear bag, and make sure it is the last thing you put in the case, so that it is easy to get to at the airport. Do the same in a separate clear bag for jewellery, just in case, so you don’t have to go digging through your neatly packed suitcase/bag.
- Wear lots! – in true Cool Runnings style, wear as much as you comfortably can, especially when winter packing, as jumpers take up a lot of space in a small case. You could probably manage with 2 neutral jumpers or cardigans that go with a lot of outfits. Wear one on the plane, you can always take it off if hot. Also, wear your coat and a scarf.
If you do want to bring a chunkier item, rather than rolling this one, leave it until last and fold it over the top, as if a cover for your clothes. This will flatten and take up extra spaces left over when you close the case, without ruining the shape. The same goes for a blazer or nice shirt.
- Bring a spare bag – I use a canvas one, but it could be a carrier bag. This is for dirty clothes and washing. These don’t need folding nicely, but people tend to do it anyway when repacking to go home. If in a separate bag, you don’t need to worry about them and they will squish into most shapes.
- Keep electricals at easy reach – I actually used my extra handbag to keep some wet2dry straighteners in (which are incredible by the way, hairdryer and straighteners in one!). I also put my charger, etc in there.
- Use a plastic wallet for documents – You can use any folder really, but a plastic wallet is splash proof and see through so you can easily find documents. In here I put all boarding passes and information, transfer bookings, bus times for the journey, and my passport. It was in the front pocket in my suitcase so easy to grab. Especially when you need it every time you try to purchase anything in the airport – I just want some food!
- Use a Kindle or reading app on your phone/tablet – Even one book can take up space, but if you’re an avid reader, or near the end of one, the Kindle app is ideal.
Please share any of your own tips!
Travel light, be safe, have fun!