Eight tips to keep your packing light on your next holiday

woman over packing suitcase

When travelling, are you an overpacker or an underpacker? Either way, these tips for packing light should sort you out!

I’ve encountered both. I went to Queensland for a week with a friend and she had a separate outfit for every day and night. I don’t think Bundaberg in the 1990s was quite ready for that level of fashion dedication.

On the other hand, I watched a young bloke in his 20s pack for a houseboat weekend, which consisted of him grabbing an extra pair of shorts on the way out the door.

I pack light, but only because I can’t be bothered hauling suitcases around, but there is no plan to what I pack, it’s just the bare minimum and I buy something if I need it.

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However, with airline luggage weight limits getting tighter and tighter, maybe it’s time to knuckle down and get a proper strategy.

Plan ahead

I’m not much of a list maker – I generally lose them – but getting a list together of everything you think you will need will smooth the path ahead. Check the average temperature of your destination and pack accordingly.

Double up

Try to choose items that can live a double life. A sarong can be a skirt or towel, a wrap can keep you warm on cool nights or double as a plane blanket, a beach cover-up can be tucked into a skirt as a shirt. We love Thousand Miles pants and shorts because they are comfy enough for hiking but are dressy enough to wear out to dinner. And no wrinkles!

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Travelling with friends or family? Try not to double up on things like sunscreen and toothpaste. Depending on your level of trust, you might even be able to share clothes.

Ruling class

Try the 1-2-3-4-5-6 rule. One hat, two shoes, three pants/bottoms, four tops, five socks and six pairs of underwear and a bra for women, or men, no judgements here. This should last you a week before you need to do laundry. It’s a good idea to handwash your smalls as often as you can, as everything else you can wear twice at a pinch. If you are planning to do laundry on your trip, always pack powder detergent or laundry soap sheets which have no danger of leaking into your case.

Start small

If you can, do a trial run on a suitcase smaller than you think you need. You might fill a bigger suitcase just because you can.

Leave toiletries at home

If you are staying at a swank resort or hotel, unless you are hopelessly wedded to your brands, you probably won’t need shampoo, conditioner or body lotion at the very least. Some even have toothpaste, razors and cotton buds. Also try to decant your must-haves into smaller dispensers, you probably aren’t going to need a whole bottle of your favourite perfume for example.

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Bag it

If you can afford to upgrade your luggage, there are plenty of lightweight options going around these days. And consider the type of holiday you are going on. If it’s more of an active getaway, a travel backpack or duffel bag may be more suitable than a wheeled suitcase.

Save your sole

Shoes are vitally important when you are travelling. You must pack one pair of comfortable walking shoes and anything else you pack should serve a double purpose. Strappy beach sandals can also double up as evening wear for example. I love that white sneakers are making traction as a fashion item. They are perfect for traipsing along a market by day and with a swishy floral dress by night.

Do you have any tried and tested packing light tips? We’d love to hear your secrets in the comments section below.

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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