There’s an undeniable upside to going minimalist with your luggage. Less hassle, less to keep track of, less waiting around- nothing beats the self-satisfaction of breezing past lines at the counter because you have your ticket printed and nothing to check in. You can hit the ground running, unencumbered by luggage and ready for the chaos of travel to unfold.
Packing light for a trip is somewhat like a game of Tetris, but instead of blocks you have clothes and mini shampoo bottles. The smaller the bag, the more challenging the game- so, Skyscanner Australia is here to talk strategy with our travel packing tips.
Packing tip 1: One week is all you need
At the risk of stating the obvious, in order to pack light you must be willing to live with less. There are many ways you can maximise space, but at the end of the day you probably will not be able to fit 3 pairs of shoes and a hairdryer into a carry-on bag alongside everything else you need to bring. Take a breath, take stock of your itinerary, and get ready to start whittling your items down to the essentials.
The general rule of thumb here is to bring along a week’s worth of clothes. If you’re travelling for a longer period, you’re likely to end up doing some laundry while on the road anyway, and dissolvable washing detergent sheets take up far less room than another outfit.
Packing tip 2: Look at the bigger picture
Pack your bag with outfits in mind, not individual pieces. Simplicity is key when you want to get multiple wears out of what you pack, so go with low key, neutral tones that are easily coordinated. Save splashes of colour and pattern for your jacket or scarf.
Ladies, a side note on scarves- it could easily be the most versatile item in your wardrobe and a key to travelling light. It could work as a wrap when visiting sacred places, a sarong for the beach, a picnic blanket, or a pillow to rest your head on a long commute.
Packing tip 3: Fold or roll… or compress?
To fold or not to roll… that is the age old question. Rolling is a definite space saver and a good choice for clothes made out of stretchy fabrics (less wrinkle prone). Folding on the other hand, comes in useful when you’re using a structured suitcase and have work shirts and other tailored garments to bring along. And then we have compression bags- the saviour of the over-packers. Most travellers swear by them, and they are incredibly useful in maximising space. The only kink would be the wrinkles in your clothes afterwards, and the fact that it doesn’t help you stay within weight limits.
No one ever said packing methods had to be mutually exclusive though, so employ whatever hybrid model suits you best!
Packing tip 4: Layering
A handy trick when it comes to fitting everything in your carry on bag is to pack in layers. First in would be bulky items like an extra pair of shoes, and then you can arrange smaller items and rolled clothes to fill in the spaces in between. After that comes your folded clothes, and finally your electronics and ziplock of liquids for easy reach.
Packing tip 5: Downsize
Size does matter- and bigger isn’t always better. Books to kindle, laptop to tablet, and if you plan to spend a few nights at a hostel, a quick drying microfiber towel instead of a huge fluffy one will do the trick.
Packing tip 6: Personal items
Most airlines allow you to take one carry on and one personal item along with you on the plane. This personal item is subject to few restrictions depending on the airline you fly- it’s usually just a handbag or laptop bag. But so long as you can slide it under the seat in front of you, maximise every bit of that extra space.
Packing tip 7: Wear your bulkiest stuff on the plane
Have a woolly jumper, or lace up boots? Save yourself the hassle of trying to squish it all into your bag and just wear them on the plane. Being strategic about your plane outfit is the easiest way to trim down luggage weight, and it’s a cozy way to travel (at least when it comes to hoodies and jumpers).
Packing tip 8: And if all else fails- look the part.
Confidence is the Hail Mary of hopeless packers- that, and a generous helping of luck. If your luggage doesn’t look like it’ll tip the scales at half your body weight, if you sneakily queue behind a fellow with a bag that does- you’re more likely to get away with things.
And finally, if you’re not sure how big a bag you should take with you on your holiday, we’ve created a guide which recommends the size of bag to take based on the number of days you’re away for.