How can I Pack Light for my Vacation?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2019
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Many of us overpack when we go on vacation. There's an old saying that advises travelers to "Pack half as much clothing, but twice the amount of money as you think you’ll need." If you find that you end up not wearing a lot of the clothes you're packing on your trips, that’s a good indication that you need to pack light.

You can start with a roller bag or a duffel bag. Shoes and anything heavy such as a book go at the bottom of the bag. It’s a good idea to put each shoe in a separate drawstring pouch bag so that your shoes don’t track any bits of soil into your bag full of clean clothing. Most people who pack light bring only two pairs of shoes on vacation. Often, a pair of comfy sneakers for day and a pair of dressier shoes for evening are all you need besides maybe a pair of flip flops.

A shaving or make up kit can be placed on top of the shoe bags. Try not to bring any toiletry bottles that leak, but use zipper close plastic bags to put the plastic bottles in just in case. Clear plastic bottles in small sizes are perfect when you pack light for most trips. A clear vinyl cosmetic bag allows the contents to be easily viewed by both you and airport security personnel.


Pants and jackets can be rolled neatly to go into a duffel or roller bag. Rolled up tops and t-shirts can form the next clothing layer. If you’ll need dressier clothes, a larger suitcase with a hanger section may work better. However, just because the suitcase is larger doesn’t mean you need to cram it full of clothing you probably won’t use. When you pack light, your socks and underwear and lighter items can go at the top of the bag, or be added to fill in empty spots throughout the bag.

Many travelers who know how to pack light can fit everything they need for a week in an airline-sized carry-on bag. Of course the big reward here is skipping the baggage carousel altogether. Experienced packers think about what they'll likely be doing on each day of their vacation and then plan the clothing they'll need.

Other tips to cut down the amount of clothing you need is to stick to two neutral colors and two accent colors. This way you can mix and match everything and not have to spend your precious vacation time worrying about what to wear. If you really think you’ll feel deprived of color if you can’t pack twelve t-shirts in different colors, try packing a couple of multi-colored shirts instead of solid-colored shirts.


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Post 3

@Suntan12- I have to say that I always try to pack about a week in advance.I will usually pack from a list that I put together and this helps me to avoid forgetting certain things.

It also keeps me from packing too much. The same way that you should use a list when you go to a grocery store, I think you should also create a list when you are going on a trip and if you give yourself a week in advance you will be well prepared for your trip and will not stuff your suitcase at the last minute.

I hate that frantic feeling of packing at the last minute and often pack more than I need because I did not plan properly when I do that. I think that planning ahead is the key.

Post 2

@Sunny27 -I never thought of that. I really need pointers on packing light because I am one of those people that bring everything but the kitchen sink and then I find that I didn’t even touch half of the stuff I brought.

It is also more work when you have to unpack so I am going to focus on that aspect so that I don’t pack so much. It is true that I always do find new things that I want to buy, but because I pack so much it makes it really hard to squeeze those things in my suitcase.

Post 1

I really like the idea of using neutral colors in order to pack light. I have done that and it makes a difference and it makes traveling less stressful.

I think that the reason why a lot of people pack too much is because they are afraid that they might be missing something but the truth is when you are on vacation you often buy new clothes and outfits that you see so you really don’t need to pack as much and packing lighter might even help you accommodate for the extra things that you will buy.

That is what my motivation is. Since I will need room for whatever I buy, I always try to pack light.

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