How to Pack Light and Not Look Like a Slob

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Travelling light, especially carry on only, can sound kinda daunting if you’re used to packing half your wardrobe. I managed to pack light for a month of travel, and it was actually easier than I thought it was going to be. It’s definitely weird not checking in baggage when you normally have a 23kg case for a two week trip, but it makes life way easier. You get in and out of airports quicker, it’s easier to lug it up staircases and you actually wear everything you pack. It’s magical.

I picked up a few things you need to know to pack light and not look like a total slob – if I, queen of overpacking, can manage it, you can too!

Check the Luggage Requirements

The very first thing you need to do is check the luggage limits for whichever airlines you’re flying. There’s no universal standard, which is annoying as hell. Make sure your bag is close enough to the requirements – usually if it’s a little bigger it’ll be okay, but nothing too major. Although, if you tend to get stressed when you travel, make sure it fits the limits. No need to give yourself a panic attack!

See also: How to Avoid Extra Fees on Ryanair

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Plan in Advance (!!!)

If you’re normally the kind of person to just chuck a bunch of clothes in a case 30 minutes before you need to leave for the airport, you might wanna try a new approach. When you’ve got room to pack more than you need, you can get away with it. But, if you’re going to pack carry on only for an extended trip, it’s really going to help to plan in advance. Pay attention to the clothes you always wear, and pack those. You can’t afford to waste space!

Mix & Match

Everything you pack should be able to make a bunch of outfits. Tops & skirts/shorts/pants that all look nice together with good, cute walking shoes, plus a few dresses & playsuits and outerwear. If you’re heading somewhere colder, you can always throw a pair of stockings in to wear under dresses/playsuits. Remember that jeans don’t need to be washed regularly, so you’ll only need one pair.

Get Rid of Repetition

You probably won’t need 4 striped shirts, or 3 pairs of jeans, or 2 black jumpers. You can always wash your clothes! If you’ve laid out four pairs of sandals, put two away. Go through everything you think you need, and see what you can live without. At this point I usually take out anywhere from a third to half of the things I’d laid out. If you need to pack light, get rid of repetitive items!

Balance Rolling & Folding

It’s a pretty common belief that rolling is always the way to go, but I’ve found a balance is best. Lighter materials are good to roll, while heavier/thicker things are usually better to fold. Underwear, socks and bathers can usually just be stuffed down the sides of your bag. You can also put them inside hats & shoes to save space.

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Pack Light, Take the Heavier Stuff on the Plane

When you have jeans, heavy jackets, big scarves & heavy shoes, wear them on the plane. Your bag will weigh less and have more room left in it, so you can take a few more things with you – always a bonus! Plus the temperature onboard is usually Antarctic, so you’re gonna want those extra layers anyway.

Figure Out How You’ll Do Laundry

Hotels usually charge absolutely crazy fees to do your laundry, so you need to figure out an alternative. Whether thats using local laundromats or washing your clothes in the sink, it’s a good idea to know what you’re gonna do… Otherwise make sure you have a great deodorant and perfume. If you’re travelling more on the go, it’ll be easier to go to a laundromat since you don’t have to air dry. But, if you’re going to be somewhere for a few days, you don’t have to pay anything to wash them in the sink.

Accept the Fact You’re Gonna Repeat Outfits

I’d guess that my jeans and green jacket made up my outfits at around half the time I was in Europe. Accept that you’re gonna be an outfit repeater, and that you still look rockin’. Own it.

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If you know how to pack light, your life will be way easier! Packing light was almost revolutionary for me, so hopefully these tips will have the same impact for you. The most important thing I found was figuring out the laundry – there’s nothing worse than looking in your bag and not seeing anything clean.

What are your top tips for packing light? Let me know in the comments below! 

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  1. Good tips! I’m currently agonizing over what to bring for a 3-week winter trip to Europe so this is super helpful – I’m bad for packing too many of similar items. Thanks!

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