The 5 Laws To Packing Lightly

These are my 5 basic laws to packing lightly.

I also have a separate list of items to pack each time I travel, but since I travel for different reasons to different locations all the time, I tend to switch it up on the fly when I actually pack.

Be flexible.

1. Bring fewer things because LESS IS MORE. Really.

The less you bring, the better. I bring more tops than bottoms because I tend to sweat more around my back, front and under my arms.

My legs? Not so much. Dry as a bone.

I also tend to pack separates, so that I can mix and match. Bringing a jersey dress (that won’t wrinkle) is also a good idea because you can wear a sweater over it, or another top to change it up.

Plus, you never know when you have to dress up a bit for an impromptu meeting or dinner.

Also, roll up everything instead of packing it flat. You’re going to fit more in the suitcase and have fewer wrinkles on your clothing.

2. No big or bulky things, you gotta carry all of that!!

The smaller the better.

I mean.. shoes are a bit of a pain in the butt, but I tend to wear my thick running shoes (meant for comfortable 14 hour days of walking), and put my ballet flats or flip flops into the suitcase.

Which kind of goes against what I like to do — wear flats on the plane so I can take them off and relax.

But sometimes you have to make compromises depending on where you are going and what you are planning on doing.

On business trips, I only bring a pair of flats for the plane & nights out, flip flops to wear in the hotel room and heels for business.

I know women like to pack curling irons, special ionized hairdryers and all that.. but if you TRULY don’t need that (aren’t going to a fancy dinner or wedding) in the time that you are gone, try to go without for the 2 weeks and see how it goes.

I mean, really. Are you going to curl your hair poolside at some beach resort? I wouldn’t.

I’d be swimming and getting my hair wet and frizzy, but that’s just me.

FYI: There’s a low chance that you’ll ever see those people again. 😛

3. If it doesn’t fit, don’t upgrade to a larger bag to carry


If you can’t fit in a special set of shoes, then don’t. Pare down. Make decisions. Think about what you might be bringing back from vacation as well.

I mean, you have to carry this stuff around, unless you have a personal butler..

The best thing to do, is decide on your bag to carry (1 carry-on and a small purse) and make it work.

You won’t use or need everything. Trust me. My sister went backpacking across Europe and brought 2 pairs of heels and 2 dresses.

I told her she was crazy and she’d never use them. She said: “But So-And-So says we might go clubbing”

Did she go to a club or wear those items?


Did she regret carrying that excess weight and taking up space?

Hell yeah. She was mad she could have brought an extra pillow or something instead.

4. Make items do double duty

For example, if I plug in my iPod to sync into my laptop, it charges as well. So I don’t bring a separate charger.

Or, I bring my Belkin wall charger with 2 USB ports, and I just plug it into the wall, charge my cell, my iPod, my camera and my laptop all at the same time rather than bring a power bar and separate chargers for my camera and iPod.

If I bring a t-shirt to sleep in, I make sure it’s still a nice t-shirt so I can wear it on my last day or just in case something happens to one of my other tops.

5. Bring things you don’t mind losing or leaving

Bring clothes you don’t want to wear any more, so that you can leave it behind or toss. Or bring books you want to finish reading along the way, and leave them for someone else to enjoy.

I tend to bring shoes that are really ratty and about to fall apart. I wear them and then if they finish breaking, I throw them out and wear my new shoes I got on vacation instead.

This rarely happens, but I’ve been known to do it.

You also don’t want to bring your most expensive dress and shoes unless you are planning on going to a wedding and babysitting the outfit.

Bring something you don’t mind losing so that you don’t cry about having lost your favourite teddy bear or something when you should have left her at home. (True story.)

What about you? Any personal “laws” to packing you follow?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.