When it comes to traveling; especially out of the country, packing light is almost impossible. Of course, you are super excited about your trip and so, you go to the extra mile of making sure you have everything you need. Except, what you think you need may be too much for one bag, so you find yourself struggling to fit in your new shoes, makeup kit, toiletries; even the unnecessary cute bottles and flasks that you bought for the sole purpose of the trip into one bag. If you are like me, packing will be the last thing you will do. In fact, I usually dread packing and often wish there is a way everything can just miraculously fold itself into my traveling box without me lifting a finger.
It is safe to say that packing is my least favourite part of traveling. However, with constant practice and of course, the need to have myself the headache of hauling my luggage (that is always too heavy for my frail arms) and of course, equally saving myself some money by avoiding excess baggage fees, I have come to master the art of packing light. Note that packing light is an “art” that gets perfect as you practice and not overnight.
That said, these are some of the tips that will serve as a guide to you for your next trip:
- Always Put Into Consideration Where You Are Going To: the ultimate guide to packing light is to actually know what to pack and this will only be possible if you do your research about where you are going. Carrying out intensive research saves you a lot of money and time. For instance, you could be snagging cool cheap flights from Lagos to New York (giving if New York is your choice travel destination) and also helps you to know what to take along with you. Make sure you check their weather, if there are certain rules regarding dressing (for instance, places like Dubai has certain restrictions when it comes to dressing). It is important that you do a lengthy research on where you are going to know, what you are going to do when you get there (you have to put into consideration if it is a business trip or a vacation), the weather so you can pack only the really “appropriate and essential” things.
- Book Your Trip On Time: especially for those travelling by air, it is very essential that you book your trip ahead of time. Booking your trip ahead of time allows you bag sweet cheap flights, that not only saves you money but gives you ample time to focus on other important things regarding your trip like researching where you are going to, where to stay, what kind of services they offer; especially if you can get in house laundry services that will allow you pack less because you have the assurance that you will always have clean clothes at your disposal and you can also check for the availability of malls. All these helps in determining what exactly you need to take along with you and leave behind.
- Have A Packing Checklist: this may sound funny but trust me, this list may be the game changer you need. If you are looking to really pack light, you need to have a list of the things you need to take along with you. This list will serve as a guide on what you should take with you and what you should leave behind. It also helps you keep track of what you have already taken with you. There are times I put things I have already put in my bag over and over, especially toiletries and accessories but having a list helps me to keep track of what I already have in my bag. It also helps me to eliminate carrying items that are basically used for the same purpose like tampons and sanitary towels. Having a list makes you life so much easier, it is totally an essential tip you can’t discard when it comes to packing light.
- Choose The Right Bag: having a big traveling bag gives you an option of not packing light at all. With a big bag, you can decide to pack anything and everything. So, the major minimalist guide to packing only the essential things you need is to have the right bag. You can try laptop backpacks; this gives you little room and this means only those very necessary things will go in. However, there are cool backpacks in Nigeria you can buy and my personal favourite is the JanSport Run Around Outdoor Pack in black that sells for 19,500 naira. There are some other options that are far cheaper (some goes for as low as 11,000 naira), however the Run Around Outdoor Pack is a personal favourite because it has a roomy, lined, zippered back compartment with padded laptop and tablet sleeves (that is great in protecting your accessories like laptops, cameras, tablets, mobile devices). It also has a generously spaced center compartment is ideal for holding your essentials – all finished with a variety of zippered organizational front pockets.
When it comes to what your essentials should be when it comes to packing (well, for some, their new designer purse definitely counts as a travel essential), these are some of the things you should consider:
- Clothing Items: go with “safe” items like your denim/pants, white tee, jacket/sweater/hoodie, underwear, swimming trunks (if you want plan on hitting the beach or the pool side). Your clothing items should only contain things that you can wear at your destination (hence the importance of research can’t be underestimated). It is safe to pack for a week if you are packing light, so pack clothes you can easily launder. With the evolving of frugal fashion pieces that can be worn in more than one way, you can invest in such fashion pieces that you can easily switch up from time to time. For packing light, functional pieces are the only things you should think about.
- Toiletries: toiletries are essential; although there are some things you may find in your hotel room, you should not leave things to chances. For your toiletries, go for the travel sized versions of your favourites. Only pack the things that you will really really need on the trip. You don’t need to pack you whole range of beauty products, only pick the ones that you use occasionally like your body wash, lotion/body oil/body butter, sunscreen. As for makeup, your primer, foundation, powder and some lipstick should do the trick.
- Shoes: contrary to what you think, you don’t need a pair of shoes for every clothing item. When packing shoes, you don’t need more than three shoes: your most comfortable and functional pair of flats, sandals and flip flops. Trust us, that is all you need.
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When it comes to packing, you must also know how to fold your clothes or more efficiently: roll your clothes. Rolling your clothes gives you more room to pack more in a little space. You can also use Ziploc bags to store some of your toiletries and shoes.
I hope you find this post useful. If you have any tips on how to pack light for travel, please share with us in the comment section below; we will love to read from you and we are sure our readers will too.