Packing well has never been a forte of mine. I use to take a suitcase and fill it with things “I might need” or “just in case” items. With any extra room, came the need for me to be extra prepared for literally everything that may, and truthfully did not come my way.
This packing habit didn’t really bother me when I vacationed with my family, since there was always someone helping me move my luggage. And really, my luggage was only being transported from the car, to the plane, to the hotel and back.
But now that I’m travelling differently, aka backpacking, my packing style has evolved too.
Instead of packing everything for a potential (let’s be real, usually made up) occasion, I now pack very strategically.
Here’s three main guidelines I now pack by:
There’s absolutely no need to forfeit looking stylish and fabulous when travelling light. But it can be tricky when there is no theme to go with. You can pack all these amazing pieces, but sometimes they just won’t go together to make that perfect outfit.
To avoid that, I pack clothes and accessories that are colour coordinated or have a theme. This way, I can easily mix and match my pieces and I’ll know they’ll definitely go together.
On my recent trip, I decided to go with a blue theme. My colour palette consisted of blue, green, purple and grey. I also had pieces in various shades within these colours, as well as prints and textures. Since they were all linked together by their colours, pulling outfits together was a breeze.
Relating to my previous point, packing clothes in terms of outfits also helps narrow down the potential of unworn pieces in the suitcase. Laying each piece out before I pack it encourages me to see how many combinations I can get out of them. It also gets me thinking of how I can maximize the use of each piece.
Having an idea of my outfits also simmers down my time dedicated to outfit planning when I’m travelling, leading to more time for play!
Multi-purpose pieces are really key items used to slim down my luggage weight. A go-to of mine is the all-encompassing scarf. I prefer medium-sized square scarfs when travelling. This way I can wear the scarf for warmth or as an accessory.
Reversible clothing is also having a moment right now, especially with bathing suits and jackets. These are usually items I avoid bringing multiples of, but when I get them in reversible versions they give me options without the bulk!
Aside from these guidelines, some other tricks I use to keep my packing light and streamlined are:
I like to be organized and packing cubes are perfect for that! They’re also awesome at saving space. I honestly don’t know how they do it, but I’ve tried packing with and without packing cubes and the difference is more than subtle!
There are many to choose from, but my favourite ones are Pack-It Original™ Cube Set by Eagle Creek. I particularly appreciate how it opens like a suitcase so I can easily see everything inside.
These have been lifesavers, especially for travelling to destinations with a variety of climates. I can “store” clothes I’m not immediately wearing and squeeze all the air out so it’s as small as possible.
Getting local products
Whenever I’m packing for a trip, I constantly try to remind myself that I can get all my basics wherever I go. This especially pertains to toiletries, cosmetics and basic pharmacy needs. Unless I’m heading to an isolated island, chances are they’ll have a variation of the product I’m looking for.
Getting a properly sized bag is actually an important step. Aside from preventing me from over-packing, it also makes sure I can actually carry my luggage for an extended period of time.
It may not seem like a big deal when preparing for your travels, but getting a poorly sized bag can really upset the whole rhythm of your travels.