How to pack light and travel smart?

Traveling is exciting and packing bags is like a countdown – excitement building up every minute. As a kid I have seen Papa pack bags with perfection and I am glad I’ve inherited some of his skills. I have always been praised for my ‘only-one-light-backpack’ travel style even for longer trips and it just keeps getting better with time. So if you’re not a light traveler yet, fret not, you’ll be there soon. I am listing some packing tips that help me a lot; these especially come from my holidays/backpacking trips.

The Big Bag

I am a person who likes to carry her stuff on her own. I only own a backpack that I carry on all my trips. Carrying the backpack keeps my hands free and gives me the freedom to hop on public transportation – yes going local is fun! Also, I don’t have to check-in the luggage at the airports and so don’t have to wait at the conveyors too. Invest in a good and sturdy bag. Some people may be comfortable with wheeled bags but, remember while you can roll it most of the time, there will be times when you will have to lift it (stairs, uneven roads, etc.) plus the bag has its own weight. So choose a right bag and stuff accordingly, keeping in mind that you may have to pick it up sometimes.

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The Small Bag

This could be a handbag or a sling bag. Choose a bag that has many separate compartments/sections/pockets to accommodate various items. This way you don’t have to empty the bag upside down every time you search an item. Along with your regular stuff, the small bag should accommodate all the important stuff like money, credit cards, cell phone, IDs, passport (while traveling abroad) safely and easily. I prefer a cross body bag or waist bag as it securely stays as a part of my body almost zeroing the chance of being left behind/dropped/snatched (this should not happen to anyone, but sadly happens sometimes) too easily.

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Choose right clothes

While I prefer cotton, materials like chiffon and like, can be folded into tiny folds and also don’t crease. Also, these materials are quick-drying so you can wash and reuse on long holidays. I pick clothes that can be mixed and matched to create more clothing options with the minimum. Pick the colors smartly – for example a black tank top can be worn with any colors and can be paired with shorts, denims, skirts, with/without shrugs/jackets/scarves, etc. Be creative and try out your fashion ideas.

Clothes

Roll them

This is my favourite tip. We are a big family, and as kids we siblings (under Papa’s supervision) always managed to fit our stuff in one bag. Rolling your clothes tight than folding or keeping in any other way, makes room for more. I have tried some other methods of folding too but, by far this is the best way. Once you start rolling them, you’d be amazed to see how much you can fit in.

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Add/Delete

Often we pack up stuff thinking ‘I might need this’. Don’t do that. You know for sure what you would need and what can be managed without. Only add stuff that you absolutely need. Delete everything else that comes under the ‘might need’ category. When you ‘delete’ the unwanted stuff from your packing, obviously you make room for other important things like books/journals, cameras and accessories, chargers/batteries, etc. which you actually need. I usually pack a pair of clothes for each day+2 extra tops/tees in case of any unwarned situations (rains/spills/soiling/non-drying of clothes, etc.) Yes, you may get tempted to carry extra things and also get confused as to what should be eliminated – but take your time, practice more and you’ll get there eventually.

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Make compartments

Organized packing saves a lot of fuss that is otherwise created while retrieving a desired item from the travel bag. Make separate compartment for clothing items, footwear, toiletries, medicines, gadgets, etc. Use vacuum bags that serve the purpose of both – compartmentalizing and saving space. The see-through bags will also help you know which bag contains what.

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Small is good

Yes, when it comes to travel, small is convenient, small is light and small is good. Pack miniature versions of toiletries that will be light to travel with. It is also helpful when you’re flying, due to the restriction on amount of liquids you can carry. Pack them up separately (compartmentalize) to avoid any mess due to accidental spillage. The hotels you would check-in at the destination usually will provide you with some of the basic stuff. If not, you could always buy them from the local market. Unless it’s a remote village or if you’re trekking into the mountains/forests where you’re definitely not getting them, you can either pack the miniature versions or shop locally.

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Knot-not

Long fold charger wires, earphones, etc. and tie separately with elastic bands or those little wire twisty-ties that come with the electronic cords and adapters. Keep them in the box/ case of sunglasses/eyeglasses in your handbag or in the pockets of your vacuum packed clothes if you’re not going to need them sooner and they will travel tangle-free.

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Carry light

Pack away the lighter stuff and wear the heaviest ones. For example: I wear my trekking shoes/boots while traveling and leave at the hotel when not using, never carrying it on my back. Similarly if my packing contains denims I wear them while travelling as they are comparatively heavier than the shorts or summer dresses. Of course, you cannot always do this but when you can you should. The key here is not just to pack but also carry light. Traveling light keeps you fresh and energized to enjoy your travel.

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If you have any other tip, do comment below and share with us.

(Image source: Google images)
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