Packing light for travel is easy with our 10 packing tips for traveling light

by Aug 6, 2023Packing

Packing light for travel is easy

Packing light is essential for today’s travel – and it’s not that hard with modern fabrics. Here are 10 easy packing tips to help you pack lighter, which will make your travel adventures that much better and certainly more fun.

Unless you have a personal valet, you’ll be much happier on a vacation if you pack light. Packing light makes all travel easier and a lot more carefree. The trick is changing your mindset about how you dress and what you really need for a week or two when traveling. And it’s a lot less difficult than you may think.

Here are 10 packing tips for making your travel packing easier and lighter while staying comfortable and looking great, too. Some of these items could also make great gifts for the traveler in your life!

Packing Tips For Traveling light

Try merino wool. For about everything. Michael and I both are devout users. I even swear by my merino bras and undies. It doesn’t stink, you can wear it for days on end without washing it, and merino wool handwashes well, too. Less common merino wool brands are Chill Angel for women with its sleepwear and casual items, and Branwyn with simple bras I swear by, although popular brands such as SmartWool and Icebreaker have plenty to offer too, including socks. Of course, there are multitudes of other merino-specific brands to choose from, and many traditional brands also have merino wool items in their line. If you don’t know Kühl sportwear, try its products for basic wool items for men and for women. We’ll let you in on a little secret too, just for Subscriber Club members. Subscriber Club members get 15 percent off any Chill Angel order!

Stick to plain colors. You may love that purple plaid shirt and that blue striped jacket but put them together? Oh my, no. Stick to plain colors – not boring, but little or no pattern – so everything can be easily worn repeatedly and can go together well. Doing this means you’ll have less need for specific outfits which is yet one more step to succeed at packing light. Plus, if your travels include countries outside of North America, you will want to more easily blend and not call attention to yourself as a tourist.

Choose one color palette. Instead of choosing a range of colors – pink, blue, green, red – stick to a single palette that all mixes and matches. That way you can put together multiple outfits on your travels that look a bit different. You use the same items you have repeatedly, but in different combinations. I will call a trip my “blue trip” or my “red tones” trip, and have been known to choose item to pack coordinated with a particular jacket or sweater I want to take.

Pick lightweight, wrinkle-free fabrics. You don’t want thick denim and dense workhorse twill, or frail silks and many linens. Why? If your items are light, the suitcase stays light. If the fabric is light, it washes and dries more quickly during your travels. And if it’s wrinkle-free (like merino!), you can just roll it or stuff it in bags and luggage without worries of finding an iron while traveling or looking like a frumpled mess. We love the technical performance fabrics in Kuhl travel pants.

Choose your “travel uniform.” Depending on the weather, Michael and I both have a couple of travel pants and shirts that we often wear for traveling to our destination and usually have several go-to items we pack for most trips. That makes packing easier – fewer choices or hemming and hawing about what you should pack for a vacation or trip. You know certain items travel well, so you can grab them to pack.


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Travel Packing Tips To Pack Light

Layering makes the packing light. I know, this is old news, but no harm to reinforce it. I have been known to wear 3 or 4 thinner layers all at once if the weather turns chillier than expected on a trip. No reason to pack a thick sweater when a merino t-shirt topped by a long sleeve top, topped by a hoodie or fleece will do. And they will all work separately, then, too.

Forget the “just in case” items. If your travels are longer than a few days, weather can of course shift, turning hotter or cooler than expected. Forgot those “what if it gets cold” or “what if it gets hot” items when packing light. If you really are desperate on your travels, then stop in an inexpensive store and pick up an extra T-shirt or light fleece. My rule on that is to not necessarily pick the cheapest item, but also not the most expensive, selecting something that isn’t junk, and you will also wear once home. No need to waste money.

Accessorize with beads or a scarf. This tip is for women: I know, pulling on the same red top for a few days in a row may feel odd or make you self-conscious. Help yourself feel better about it by packing along a couple of lightweight scarves or inexpensive pieces of costume jewelry. They will go a long way to helping you feel fresh and different. (Nevertheless, we promise nobody but you will notice you have worn the same top three days in a row.)

Packing Light Travel Packing Tips

Pare back the shoe wardrobe. Generally, they are space hogs, so paring back on footwear is key to succeed at packing light for travels. Unless you are planning evenings out in 5-star restaurants, your shoe wardrobe can be very slim and light.  Michael and I will pack one pair of what we call “walkabout” or “travel” shoes — ones we wear for flights or train travel, that look decent enough for an evening out, and are comfy enough for all-day sightseeing. If we are planning outdoor activities, a pair of light trail shoes will be needed – ones that can double as street wear normally too (I choose a trail running shoe so I can then use them for runs, too). I also like a pair of what I call “hotel shoes” – flip-flops or tiny slip-ons that I can slip on for trips to a lobby, around the corner to breakfast, or down the hall to find ice.

Prep a toiletry travel kit. Have a travel toiletry kit filled with small containers of your favorite shampoos, lotions, and other necessities so you can grab and go when travel packing. Do not carry heavy glass or full-size bottles. I have found small leakproof containers online or in travel sections at stories. Seek out smaller tubes of items you may use or buy empty small tubes and fill them yourself.

Travel packing light may seem challenging but once you realize you don’t need an outfit for every day, the world of travel is a much more friendly place! We both swear by these packing tips, and I call it a success when I have worn and used every item in my suitcase multiple times.

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