It’s amazing just how easy it can be to over-pack when going on vacation — we’ve likely all done it at least once (or twice). There’s always temptation to pack much more than you need and fill your suitcase with items you “think” you might need, but it’s those items that can really start to weigh you down. In general, it’s a good idea to pack in advance so you have time to reconsider superfluous items that often find their way into your suitcase. Lighten your load with our guide to packing smart. We offer tips on which items to ditch and what it may be wise to pack instead.
Neutral hues, not multiple outfits
When packing clothes think in terms of items that all go well together in neutral shades like gray, black, white and tan. That way you can pack less but still rest assured it will be easy to pull together outfits. Trying to pack one separate outfit for each day of your trip will just result in packing way too much. A good rule of thumb? If you don’t wear it at home, you probably won’t wear it on vacation.
Dry shampoo, not a hairdryer
No matter how you try to fit it in your suitcase, a hairdryer is bulky – and you don’t need one. Most hotels have an in-room hairdryer if you really want one, but why not give your hair a break and let it air dry while you’re on vacation? You can pack a travel-size dry shampoo to keep locks looking fresh and to add volume in a pinch.
Sarong, not a bulky beach towel
Towels take up a ton of space and while it might be tempting to take one just in case, you’re much better off swapping it out for a multi-purpose sarong. When heading to beach destinations like Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean, a sarong can be used as a towel, beach blanket and cover-up all in one, making it one of the best and lightest items to add to your must-pack list.Search for flights to Mexico
Flip flops and flats, not multiple pairs of shoes
If you’ll be traveling someplace warm, all you really need footwear-wise are comfortable shoes you can walk in like a pair of flip-flops and one pair of flats. Flip-flops are good for anything from the beach and pool to any casual outings, and a good pair of flats like TOMS in a neutral colour is ideal for anything else. If you want to bring a pair of running shoes or sneakers, wear them on the plane rather than having them take up space in your bag.
One tech device, not all of them
In this day and age most of us are in possession of multiple gadgets, but there’s no reason to bring all of them. Lighten your load and choose one. More often than not, your phone can act as your camera, eReader and be used to check email (if you have Wi-Fi or a data plan for where you are). Think small, think minimalist – you’ll be on vacation after all so it will be nice to detach from some of your technology.
Rolled items, not folded
When you’re finally ready to pack your suitcase, you can save a significant amount of space by rolling items rather than keeping them folded. Fold any delicate items like dress shirts, but otherwise maximize space by rolling. This method also helps prevent wrinkles.
Scarves, not a ton of accessories
Leave the hats, belts, bags and expensive jewellery at home. Instead, pack a few colorful scarves. They’re ultra-light, won’t wrinkle and make for an easy way to add a pop of color to your neutral clothing. You can also use scarves as blankets or pillows on planes and buses.
Mini toiletries, not full-size items
Too many toiletries can really add to the weight of your bag. Leave the full-size items at home and instead find mini versions of your go-to beauty and skin care products. Hotels will have the basics like shampoo, conditioner and body wash so leave those behind, but if there are face creams or makeup items you don’t want to travel without make sure they’re small.
Layers, not bulky items
Layers are a traveler’s best friend. Rather than try to cram a bulky coat into your luggage, find lighter items that can easily be layered. Merino wool, though a tad expensive, is a great material for travel since it’s light, breathable, regulates body temperature and even controls odor.
Travel apps, not guidebooks
Before you leave, download travel apps for the destination you’ll be visiting rather than lugging along a heavy guidebook. A small map or mini guide is never a bad idea since both can be used anywhere, but ditch anything bulky – you probably won’t need it.