Whether you’re an experienced backpacker visiting the world off the beaten path or you prefer fancy 5-star hotels, it’s always better to travel light. If you’re the kind of person who brings too many things that never make it out of the suitcase, these 5 tips are for you.
Tip 1: Reduce at the source.
Want to know a sure-fire way to travel lighter? Buy a smaller suitcase! Admit it: no matter what size it is, you’re going to fill it up. Bonus points if you can limit yourself to just a carry-on! You’ll avoid additional charges for your bags, and they won’t get lost.
Tip 2: Buy light
Every detail counts when you’re trying to lighten your bag, so the weight of each item is important. You can now buy very strong yet ultra-light suitcases and backpacks, which is an excellent place to start. Also, opt for “performance” fabrics like merino wool, which will keep you warm without weighing down your bag. A microfibre towel is another must: it’s very light and compact.
Tip 3: Make the most of your wardrobe
Bring clothing you can mix and match, and limit yourself to a few colours. When everything goes together, it’s easier to create more outfits with less. Instead of packing a bulky coat, dress in layers. You can even bring clothes at the end of their useful lives and leave them behind to make room for souvenirs.
Tip 4: Do you really need it?
Now THAT is the question to ask yourself before you put something in your bag. Be ruthless! Few things are indispensable—A third pair of stilettos? Seriously?—and unless you’re going to a desert island, you can find whatever you're missing at your destination. No need to bring items “just in case.” If you forget anything, you can buy it when you get there. Stick to the essentials, in small formats, like medication you might not be able to purchase abroad. And remember, the hotel has toiletries.
Tip 5: Think multipurpose
Don’t fill your bag with different products when a single item will suffice. For example, you can use a small bottle of concentrated liquid soap (like Campsuds, which is biodegradable too!) to wash everything: your body, hair, clothes, dishes and so on. How about a pareo? It’s a skirt, shawl, blanket, towel… Lastly, technology can be a great tool on your quest for a lighter bag. Your tablet is a book, travel guide, map, GPS, camera, movie screen and game all rolled into one!
So think light, and bon voyage!