Brush up on art of packing light

Pack light and smile at those who haven't mastered the art.
Pack light and smile at those who haven't mastered the art.

THE importance of packing light cannot be underestimated.

You will never meet a traveller who, after five trips, brags: "Every year I pack heavier".

The measure of a good traveller is how light they travel.

One bag - that's it.

Limit yourself to one small to medium-sized suitcase. For many, this is a radical concept but they manage, and they're glad they did. And after you enjoy that sweet mobility and freedom, you'll never go any other way.

When you check your bag in, mark it inside and out with your name, address, and emergency phone number. If you have a lock on your bag, make sure you are using locks that are compliant with the country you are travelling to - ask us for details.

Remember, packing light isn't just about the trip over and back, it's about your travelling lifestyle.

Too much luggage marks you as a typical tourist. Changing locations becomes a major operation. Con artists figure you're helpless. Porters are a problem only to those who need them.

With only one small/medium bag, you're mobile and in control. Take this advice seriously.

What to bring?

How do you fit a whole trip's worth of luggage into a small suitcase? The answer is simple: bring very little.

Don't pack for the worst scenario. Pack for the best scenario and simply buy yourself out of any jams. Bring layers rather than take a heavy coat.

Think in terms of what you can do without, not what will be handy on your trip. When in doubt, leave it out. I've seen people pack a whole holiday's supply of deodorant or razors, thinking they can't get them there.

Whether you're travelling for three weeks or three months, pack exactly the same. Rather than take a whole trip's supply of toiletries, take enough to get started and buy what you need as you go.

Pack your bag only two-thirds full to leave room for souvenirs and things you buy along the way. Bring an empty, almost-weightless nylon bag to use as a carry-on for your return flight.

Entire books have been written on how to pack. It's really quite simple: Use plastic or mesh bags (one each for toiletries; underwear and socks; and miscellaneous stuff such as a first-aid kit, earplugs, clothesline, sewing kit, and gadgets).

Roll clothes and store them in packing cubes to keep them compact - or, to reduce wrinkling, zip them up in airless bags.


The bulk of your luggage is clothing. Minimise by bringing less and washing more often. Every few nights you'll spend 10 minutes doing a little wash.

This doesn't mean more washing; it just means doing it little by little as you go.

Be careful to choose dark clothes that dry quickly and either don't wrinkle or look good wrinkled. You should have no trouble drying lightweight clothing over a night or two in your hotel room.

For winter travel, you can pack just about as light. Wear heavier, warmer, high-top, waterproof shoes. Add a warm coat, thermals, scarf, gloves, hat, and an extra pair of socks and underwear since things dry more slowly.

Pack with the help of a climate chart. Layer your clothing for warmth, and assume you'll be outside in the cold for hours at a time.

Go casual, simple, and very light. Remember, in your travels you'll meet two kinds of tourists - those who pack light and those who wish they had. Say it once out loud: "pack light".


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Topics:  clothing lifestyle travel

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