I managed to pack all of my things in one carry-on suitcase and a backpack for 9 days in Europe and I have to say I’m super proud of myself. We had one flight with Ryan Air from London to Genoa and I didn’t want to be stuck paying a ridiculous travel fee because of the size or weight of my bag. They really get you on everything. In addition to that, I didn’t want to be lugging around a heavy suitcase! Obviously I love to wear different outfits and have options… (I take so many pictures!) So I made sure to pack the things I really needed with a few extra options.
Here are my recommendations for packing light:
- Pick out your favorite basics. Whether it be a pair of white pants or shorts, or simple black and white tees, having neutral clothing is a great way to set up many different outfits without actually packing too many.
- Choose only a few shoes. I tend to walk everywhere on vacation and never really need too many pairs of shoes. For Europe I packed sandals, tennis shoes, and one pair of cute flip flops. Comfort is key for traveling and I didn’t want my feet to be sore each day. Having only a few pairs of shoes to choose from is an easy way to make your suitcase weigh less…
- Make a list of things you can’t travel without. I.e underwear, a toothbrush, hairbrush etc… work your way from the absolute essentials to the things you just love to have on you (a small bag of jewelry for me!)
I love this image from blogger Corals & Cognacs… Makes your packing list really easy!
- Entertainment — whether you download a couple of games to play on your phone or bring a book, make sure you have something great to occupy your mind while in flight. I prefer my Kindle Paper White because its light, can store many books, and the perfect size to fit in my purse. I always bring headphones in case I need to mentally check out and listen to some music or don’t feel like reading or watching a movie.
- Travel Size Toiletries— if you have certain products you can’t live without (I need my Miracle 10 leave in hair treatment), see if you can buy them in a travel size container. Most of the time you can. If you can’t find your favorites at your local drug store, check online. Having small toiletries are not only necessary for comfortable traveling, but are mandated by airlines (unless you are checking a bag). So do yourself a favor and plan ahead!
- Portable Phone Charger— If your phone dies as often as mine does, you’ll need to snag a portable phone charger. This is especially necessary if you are traveling overseas and are on a long plane flight. Batteries don’t last forever! Make sure to have a fully charged portable charger on you at all times. They are small and fit right in your bag!
- Camera— I carry around a chunky DSLR but I never regret the amazing pictures I get to keep forever after an unforgettable trip. Our phones can do amazing things these days but they still do not compete with a real camera. DSLRs can be expensive (and quite heavy), so if you’re not 100% sure what your photography aspirations are, I suggest purchasing a great point and shoot. I don’t own one so I can’t give you my own advice about what kind to buy, but here is some ideas for you I found online.
- Light sweater or jacket— You never know when you’ll get on a flight that is super cold. More often than not, I find that I am freezing. I always wear layers on flights, even when I’m traveling from Austin where it is 100 degrees! A light sweater is easy to wrap around your waste or pack in your purse.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes— When I travel somewhere new, I spend the majority of my time on my feet. I want to see & do as much as I can and it’s necessary to be comfortable in my adventures. Tennis shoes aren’t always fashionable, but they get you around pretty well. Always have something in your suitcase that makes you feet feel good.
- Neck pillow! For flights longer than 5 hours— My neck pillow quickly became my best friend on our trip to Europe. With all our flights and train rides, there were plenty of opportunities to kick back and nap. I highly recommend buying one before you head to the airport as they tend to up the prices… Mine has memory foam so it is super comfortable and easy to fit in my backpack.
- A Water Bottle— along with a neck pillow, if you’re on a flight for longer than 5 hours, might as well bring your own refillable water bottle. You are never served enough water on a flight…
I love this image from Brownell Travel … Sums it up perfectly (and adds a few things that I haven’t thought of!)