Overpacking is one of the biggest mistakes we all do when travelling, regardless of the type of trip, the length or whether we are taking a suitcase or a backpack.
Be honest with yourself and answer this question: what % of the clothes or gadgets that you pack do you end up not using at all? I´m pretty sure that more than 20% of the stuff packed come back home folded, unless of course you´re already travelling light.
To be completely honest, I tend to overpack as well: “I´m going to take this just in case we go out one night” you think even though you know for sure that you are going to the mountains and there is no place to go out at night. Yet you think it´s possible but, in the very inside of you, you truly know that the odds are zero. It doesn´t matter, it is in your mindset, it´s how we think on a daily basis and this is because you are thinking as if you were going to be at home but you aren´t.
How to travel light?
That´s the question, isn´t it? The answer is more behind a change of attitude, a new mindset: the traveller´s mindset. Easy? Not, it´s not, but below you will be able to find a couple of tips that could help you. At least I hope so!
Make a list
This is the best starting point. Make an initial list and then create categories and priorities within categories. It will help you to identify the unnecessary stuff or the stuff that potentially can be taken out of your luggage.
Do I really and trully need it?
This is the best question you can ask yourself. At the beginning the answer is going to be “Yes, of course!” but when you think about it a couple of times you may start hesitating about it. If that´s the case, remove it straight away.
Change your mindset
You are not going to be at home, you are going to be travelling!! which means that you are not going to have everything handy, everything that you have at home. Remember, you are not travelling with a closet, you are travelling with a suitcase or backpack which means limited space and reasonable weight.
If for instance you are going to be travelling for 2+ weeks think that you are going to be out for just one. If you are going to travel for 3 days, think that you are going to be out for 2. There is no mathematic rule, just apply your logic, but the first one works really well when you are going to travel for 2-3 weeks. Be practical.
Evaluate the opportunity to use
Forget about “Just in case“, “I´m going to need this if…” type of thoughts.
Go general, the occasion may happen or may not and if it happens I´m pretty sure you can please yourself with one of the things you have already packed. Otherwise, go and buy it.
How much does it cost?
If it costs less than 20 pounds, leave it at home. It´s a general rule indeed, what I´m trying to say is that if it´s cheap enough and it is not going to make a hole in your pocket then leave it, you can buy the affordable stuff at your final destination.
Roll it baby
Start rolling and forget about folding, it saves a lot of space.
Cons: perhaps your clothes are not going to be as ironed as you like, but you are travelling, who cares!
If you are not into rolling, use space saver travel bags
To be honest, this is kind of cheating but if you are still not convinced about rolling, you can use space saver travel bags, they will compress your clothes and you will see that you are saving lot of space.
Hint: if you can combine rolling and space saver travel bags, do it! You will make the most of the most here.
Fill in the holes
Fill in your shoes, fill in the gaps, don´t leave any profitable space empty.
Yet, remove 20% of your clothes
I´m pretty sure that even though you have been following all the steps you have still over packed and I know it because I make exactly the same mistakes as you make. Ok, maybe not the 20% but don´t be afraid and remove at least one t-shirt or a pair of trousers, or perhaps this dress that you love so much that you have packed only just in case you go out one night is it worth the effort for one night? A couple of hours maximum? Think about it.
You can still wash your clothes on the go or, as I said, buy some stuff at your final destination that it´s the perfect excuse to go shopping and who knows perhaps you´ll find another and new beloved dress!
And the last but not the least…
Don´t forget to leave space for souvenirs, memories of your trip… you are going to need this space on your way back.
Try it, it´s very recomforting and you will see how great you are going to feel when you come back home and you say “Finally a trip where I have used all my clothes!”, you are going to be very proud of yourself, yeiiiiii you made it!
Hope you found these tips and hints about travelling light useful and if you have any other ideas that can help me or other travellers to travel light, please feel free to share them in the comment notes. I´m more than happy to hear from you witties!
See you soon and stay tuned!