Friday, August 7, 2015

5 Tips for Packing Light

When John and I decided to go to Europe, we made the decision that we were only going to bring backpacks. We knew that we wanted to go to multiple countries utilizing public transport while we were there, so it seemed that the easiest way to travel would be to not bring more than we could carry ourselves.

I can’t tell you how many people I saw struggling to carry bags twice their size up and down the metro stairs or fit into slam packed, crowed subways where people were not interested in making room for them. 

More than backpack vs. luggage, the point is to pack light, and bring only as much as you can carry.

Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely overpack and have a grand ole time, but for us, lugging around 40lbs of luggage each was not what we wanted to do while climbing up and down stairs and all around old cobblestone streets.

So! Here are five tips for packing light on an extended travel trip!

ONE | Make a list

Plan ahead and know what you’re going to need.

For example, if you don’t plan on going to any fancy restaurants, then maybe skip the fancy dress.  Perfect weather? Leave the umbrella and rain jacket at home. Not planning on going to a beach or pool? Leave the swimsuit at home... your suit may be small, but every little bit helps! 

Make a list, sleep on it, check it again, sleep on it... it’s a process!

TWO | Skip the shoes

I know it's painful, but do yourself a favor and skip the shoes!!

As cute as your Hunter Boots (or wellies :) ) would be to wear in rainy London, leave them at home...! Instead, pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a pair that you can wear to dinner.  I packed my Birkenstock Gizehs for walking, a pair of Tory Burch sandals for dinner, and a pair of Tory Burch flats in case I needed closed toe shoes. 

THREE | Airtight packing

Air tight packing most definitely helps save space, so if you're looking to fit a lot in a small space, shove it all in a Ziploc bag and compress out all the air... The below photo has 12 shirts in it!! 

Keep in mind, packing air tight helps save space, but not weight, so make sure you can actually comfortably wear your backpack/pick up your luggage (my bag ended up being about 20 lbs).

FOUR | Ditch the toiletries

Your hotel (or Airbnb, in our case), will likely have a hairdryer, shampoo, conditioner, etc. so save extra space by not bringing your own.

The shampoo likely won’t be as good, but save yourself the space, and pack only the items that won't be available or offered abroad.

FIVE | It’s not how much you pack, but what you pack

If you're traveling abroad in winter, this may be a different story, but in summer, ditch the bulky clothes and stick with comfortable, flowy tank tops that roll up small!  

You would be absolutely surprised how much you can pack when you choose to pack items that roll up small.  I fit everything below (and more) into my backpack... I certainly did not feel like I was sacrificing a thing!


  1. I need to be better about this. I always overpack and for no reason. Thanks for the tips. :) you definitely didn't sacrifice. Your outfits look awesome!

  2. Thanks for the awesome tips!! Going to NYC in November and going to pack in carry-ons. It's going to be a little tougher since I will need boots + winter clothes but I will definitely use these tips! Xoxo

  3. Your outfits look AWESOME and your tips are so practical and a very good reminder. I love your point about the wellies! :)

  4. You are totally my hero. 100% cannot believe your amazing skills!!

  5. Awesome post! I make a list like yours whenever we go on longer trips. It is just so much easier and less stressful to just pack what you need for each day. :-) And seriously if you run into a pinch, you can always buy it!! :-) Have a great weekend!

  6. So impressed that is all you packed! Definitely agree with the shoe suggestion. When we went it was cooler so that did make it tough but doing laundry in your hotel room is an easy way to help out with that!

  7. These are great tips! You got so much into your bags. Can you please provide information on your backpacks? I want to learn more about them!

  8. great tips! i totally agree with packing as few shoes as possible! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  9. I don't understand people who bring half their wardrobe when traveling!

  10. These are awesome tips!! I have never been good at packing lightly!

  11. That is impressive! If you can believe it, I'm a lighter packer than my husband. It kind of drives me nuts! haha Definitely agree with the shoes - I usually only pack 2 pair. Toiletries get me every time though!

  12. I am sooo terrible at packing lightly but I can see why you would NEED to when you're carrying your luggage on your back! Great tips!!

  13. I love all of these tips. I overpack for everything. We can be gone a weekend and I'm bring so much stuff. I love all your clothes too. I need new clothes now too. lol.

  14. Wonderful suggestions. The list is sooo important. Great point. I feel like I need a list on my bedside table for the "morning of" items (charger, toothbrush, etc.). Also, I love the collage you did of your trip. You need to have that printed or something. It is just phenomenal looking at all of the amazing things you did :)

  15. These are great tips! Did you have a problem with wrinkles because everything was rolled up?

  16. Amazing tips! Love how fashionable you were even when packing light. You know I'm saving this for when we go to Europe! :) xo


Back to Top