A pleasant week-long trip relies not only on your itinerary but also on your luggage or carry-on bag. Imagine lugging heavy suitcases in and out of the cab or into the overhead compartment. You’ll be tired and sweaty even before you get to your destination. It’s time we all learn the magic words: travel lightly!
Benefits of Travelling Light
Channelling your inner Marie Kondo into your suitcase has a lot of benefits. For one thing, you can forget about dealing with excess baggage or airport trolley fees. The minimalist approach lets you pack and unpack in a flash. You can comfortably carry your bag anywhere your feet take you. Best of all, there’s no more waiting at the baggage claim area. You’ll have room for souvenirs, too. So, what are the secrets to packing light?
1. Use the right-sized bag
When you choose to travel lightly, it all starts with a lightweight foundation or a smaller bag. The goal is to have less space to pack less. Travellers recommend 40L to 50L carry-on-size backpacks for a week of travel, but you can go smaller than that or use a daypack for shorter trips.
Some probably prefer a similar-sized trolley case. But a backpack is more flexible, especially when commuting, walking on cobblestone streets or travelling during a rainy season. Aside from size, a bag with pockets lets you do away with separate pouches or bag organisers that add weight.
2. Rely on a packing list
Packing lists stop you from bringing your entire wardrobe when travelling, including those just-in-case items. If you travel often, make sure to create one. It will help you practice self-restraint when packing. Leave that extra pair of shoes if it’s not on the magic list. Of course, the items you pack should adapt to your destination and activities. But, to help you get started, here are some items you can include:
- Clothes (activewear, office wear, beachwear, cold wear, underwear)
- Shoes (walking shoes, heels, flip-flops, sandals, boots)
- Electronics (laptop, tablet, mobile phone, headphone, chargers, adapter, camera)
- Documents (passport, ticket/booking, IDs, medical certificates, office files)
- Toiletries and makeup
- Essentials (money/wallet, sunglasses, travel pillow, umbrella, face mask, sanitisers)
This packing checklist is only a rough draft, but hopefully, you get the idea. You can be as detailed as you want.
3. Pack clothes and shoes smartly
Fashionistas can travel lightly and look fabulous at the same time. All you need is to pack with functionality and weight in mind, plus these tips:
- Choose light fabrics. Wool tops the list. It keeps you warm in winter and fresh in summer. It fights off odours, too. Other alternatives are silk, nylon and polyester. You can also pack cotton or linen, but these are a bit heavier and slow-drying.
- Bring pieces, not complete outfits. Pack clothes that you can mix and match. It’s not best to pack a dress that wrinkles easily and is difficult to pair with other things in your bag.
- Go for simple colours and accessories. Pick out versatile pieces that look good with anything. Whites, blues, blacks and greys fit casual and formal occasions. And instead of packing a shirt with a crazy print, choose to accessorise. Bring a useful watch or multipurpose shawls or sarongs.
- Dress in layers. Thin clothing pieces work in any weather. Sweaters or jackets are not as versatile in hot climates and will only take up space. If you have to bring bulky clothes or shoes, wear or carry them instead of packing them in your bag.
- Pack comfortable pairs of shoes. And don’t even think about bringing more than two. Limit it to flats and sneakers, boat shoes and sandals, or Oxfords and rubber shoes, depending on your trip.
- Shop for clothes if needed. Should the weather changes dramatically, buy a coat or extra layers when you arrive at your destination. You can always resell or reuse them for future trips.
4. Skip toiletries if possible
If you are staying in a hotel, chances are you’ll have fresh towels and toiletries in your room. So, travel lightly and forget about bringing them. You’ll save time from packing all those mini bottles and containers. But if you cannot travel without your favourite cleaners, shampoos and soaps in solid form are best. They weigh less and often come in smaller portions. You can throw your bag and not worry about spills either.
Your hotel is likely near shops or a pharmacy, too, where you can buy things like a bug repellent, deodorant or sun lotion. The same goes for your medicines. Stick to bringing essential medications, and pick up the rest on the way. Just remember to compare prices before buying. For perfume, an atomiser comes in handy.
5. Have travel-sized electronics
A tablet or e-reader roughly weighs the same as two paperbacks, but it can store more than enough reading material. Plus, you can use it for work, e-mails, photos, music and so much more. Just remember to bring your charger. For earphones, leave the bulky headsets for now. Compact and Bluetooth headphones are just as impressive. Some have noise-cancelling features, too
All set to travel lightly? Test your newfound packing skills and plan to go somewhere nice. This list of must-see museums in Seoul is a good start!