5 Tips on Traveling Light

Traveling is always easier when you have less stuff to lug around. Here are five ways to lighten your load.

By Yvette Tan
November 22, 2011

The best way to travel is to travel light.

We tend to worry less when we aren't weighed down by baggage, not only because there is less to carry around, but also because there are less things to keep one's eye on, and because it makes the whole checking in and out of an airport a breeze. There is an art to traveling light, with many people challenging themselves to bring anywhere from the maximum two carry-on bags to no baggage whatsoever, which is what travel writer Rolf Potts did for six weeks. While not many people are as daring as Potts, one can always benefit from traveling light, especially for short trips, where one can get away with carrying a medium-sized bag, and not have to suffer for it.


Photo by Stuart Miles from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Make a list and check it twice, thrice, four times. A packing list is important. It helps you remember what to pack, and can give you a clear picture of exactly what you need. Instead of throwing everything you might need into a suitcase or three, take time to plan out the essentials you will be needing in the amount of time you will be spending out of town. If you're new to traveling light, you can start by making a list of everything you bring, then continually paring it down to the essentials as your travel date nears. When you travel, take note of the items you actually use, and pack only those.

Planning is the key. Plan what you're going to wear each day of your trip. Center your outfits around a central theme or color, so that you can mix and match clothing and accessories as needed. If you can get away with bringing only one pair of shoes, do so.


Photo by YaiSirichai from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Roll up, roll up! Your clothes, that is. Rolled clothes take up less space. Choose items made out of lightweight fabrics and roll carefully, to avoid wrinkling them.

Pack it in plastic. Bring travel-sized toiletries or decant them into into bottles 100ml or less, and store them in a 1 quart Ziploc bag, which is the maximum amount of liquids one can bring onboard an aircraft. While not all destinations practice this rule, it's still a good way to travel light and to avoid hassles at the airport.

Do not be afraid to leave some things behind. Don't freak out if you forget soap, toothpaste, a t-shirt, or over the counter medication. The world is getting smaller, which means that if you forget something at home, there's a big chance that you can buy a replacement in your destination. And depending on where you're going, there's a chance that you might be able to get it at a cheaper price, too.