I’ve come a long way from being an over packer. I think Digital Nomads would have considered me an on the road hoarder of sorts. My first trip to Italy I packed a 50 pound suitcase believing that everything inside was absolutely necessary for my comfort away from home. FIFTY pounds isn’t easy to carry up and down the Rialto Bridge stairs or on cobblestones. It is even more of a nightmare to bring onto a crowded train. So much for comfortability away from home.
From then on I promised myself I would travel lighter and since then have been finding it easier and easier with each trip abroad. I’ve went from a 50 pound suitcase to my new Osprey Farpoint 40 litre suitcase for a two week trip to the UK. If you’re gasping and thinking that it is impossible for you I say to you: Step away from the 50 pound suitcase fellow hoarder. Let me walk you through tips on how to travel lighter and why it is the only way to travel!
First thing you have to do is find the right luggage. A carryon is all fine and dandy but if you’re lugging it around some ancient city you’ll find it isn’t practical. That’s why I am switching to a backpack. I am not losing any packing room and I am becoming more agile with everything resting (comfortably!) on my shoulders.
Here’s an awesome video by Youtube star Anna Van Gorp that shows the pros and cons of the Osprey Farpoint 40. It also comes in larger versions too if you plan on using your bag for long hiking trips or camping.
Both myself and my husband will be using this pack. It comes in S/M for anyone under 5’6″ and M/L for those who are taller. I’ve tested it out and fits perfectly.
I first discovered packing cubes two years ago and have never looked back. They save an amazing amount of space and you can pack plenty of items in them. I always bring 3 packing cubes in different sizes with an additional laundry bag. The laundry bag helps to keep me organized and the packing cubes store all my clothes and electronics neatly in separated compartments for easy packing & unpacking.
AirBnB, Accommodations with Kitchens & Laundry Facilities
I have completely done away with hotels when I stay in cities for more than 2 nights. Hotels are (almost) a thing of the past for me. I mean, why would you stay in a pricy hotel when you can rent an apartment, home or room that fits your budget and has the amenities that you need? When looking for an AirBnB I always rent the entire place with my husband or family. It must also have a kitchen(ette) and laundry room provided in the apartment or on the property. I save so much money on laundromat or hotel laundry fees with the added bonus of not having to pack as many clothes because I can wash the articles I do bring.
Perhaps the most troublesome part of packing, you need to make sure you’re not over your liquid and gel limitation of 3.4 ounces (100 ml). Bring only what you need and buy small travel sized items when you get to your destination. I bring only the most important and harder to find items. My skin care routine is the most important thing to me. I use the items above to put pack my face wash, moisturizer, toner and any liquid or gel type of makeup.
Wash your face in between flights. I use Checks and Balances because it helps me in any environment when my skin is stressed. Comes in various sizes!
My go-to when blemishes form on the journey. It comes in a small 0.3 oz container so it’ll be carry-on approved! A little goes a long way!
If I have room or if I know I won’t be able to make it to my nearest Sephora I am sure to bring these face cleansers and masks with me. They help me keep my skin in check no matter what the environment or water PH levels. A bonus: The Charcoal mask comes in 3.4 ounce size perfect for flights!
As a reformed overpacker I remember my biggest struggles was not knowing when to stop when it came to clothes and shoes. I would throw everything in no self editing! Thinking, what if I wished I brought that sweater or I needed to wear heels for every evening out. I wouldn’t exactly coordinate my clothing either. I threw in a few skirts and pants without thinking about what shirts, blouses or sweaters could go with them. Often I wouldn’t wear 1/2 the clothing I brought because I didn’t bring the right tops to match. So be real with yourself. Self edit as much as possible. Bring the clothes you tend to wear consistently from week to week. Dark clothes are more durable for trips than white pieces.
I tend to pack in threes so for jeans I bring 3 of my favourites. All three are darker and I am clumsy so no white pants here. All three work for evenings out or meandering the city by bike during the day.
As for tops I’ll bring 3 staples such as two t-shirts and a dressy tank top that can double underneath a blouse. I then go for three dressy tops such as tunics which are versatile, easy to wash and fast to dry. To pack these shirts and blouses roll them rather than fold. You’ll fit plenty if not all your clothes into the packing cubes as mentioned above.
Versatility. A word that you should get to know well as I did. This extends to shoes as well. I bring 3 maximum which includes the shoes I wear to the airport. Try to wear your bulkiest pair to the airport like boots or running shoes. Don’t show up to the airport in a pair of heels. As much as I would like to arrive looking fresh as Lady Gaga or Kate Hudson I guarantee they aren’t packing all their clothes in a carry-on. So be practical.
Finally, one of my favourite inventions for someone who tends to misplace my passport from time to time is the scarf with a zipper. I love scarves and use them to keep me warm on the airplane or as a makeshift pillow or even to prop up my iPad as I watch a movie. This is my favourite travel companion and it comes in plenty of different colours.