Tips on How to Pack Smart and Travel Light

The best answer to your question ‘What should I pack when going on a trip?’ – be it a week, two weeks, or a few months long trip – will come from a master packer: less is more. To be precise, you should pack as light as possible, and you will thank me later. However, you should, of course, not bring an empty bag, no. To avoid the two extremes, take a look at the following tips on how to pack smart and travel light.

Passport + Documents + Phone

The first and the most important thing on your list should be your passport. With it, you will need your personal documents, traveler’s insurance, credit cards and some cash. Make sure to check with your bank the local currency, so that you can be ready when you get there. Since we are all using smartphones nowadays, there is no need to bring a paper map. However, make sure to bring a battery charger, and check which type of current is the country you are traveling to using, because you may need a different two-/three-phase charger head.

Image by mroach via Flickr

The Bag

Have in mind that your bag should not be heavier than 10 kg. Backpacks are the most practical bags you will find in the market, especially traveler’s backpacks, which are specially designed to evenly spread the weight. Also, their dimensions should not exceed the airplane overhead compartment. You must watch for this for two reasons: (1) you will pay less, and (2) you will not wait for your bag for a half an hour, and will not be at risk to wait for your lost bag for a month. Also, to separate items inside your bag, find and use weightless small sacks. Fold or roll up the clothes, for this way they will occupy less space.

By User:Mattes (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Holy Trinity

Now that you have found the appropriate packaging, you should think of the essentials. In this part, you should follow the ‘holy trinity rule’: you need three shirts (one to put on, and two to pack), three pairs of socks, and three pairs of underwear. Wear one pair of trousers and pack another one in the bag. You will need one shorts or a skirt. Make sure that the clothes are matching. There is no need for you to bring a coat of a jacket – it is best to wear layers, which are as as efficient as a thick jacket. Bring only one pair of comfortable shoes in which you can walk for hours without rest. Some experienced travelers suggest taking a sarong or a pashmina with you – they can serve as a changing room, extra blanket, a scarf, a skirt, a towel, an extra bag, and even a privacy wall.

By TannerKrolle (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons


This is another tricky issue you will have to deal with. DO NOT bring big bottles. Find traveler’s bottles, and bring only basics, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, liquid soap, shower gel, necessery thalgo products, deodorant, and that’s it. These you have to have with you in case the hotel you have booked does not provide them for you, but practice has shown that you will usually have all these for free. So these is just an emergency kit. Speaking of emergencies, buy a first aid kit at your drugstore and put it in some outer compartment of your bag – so that you can reach it easily when in need.

CC0 Public Domain

Additional Equipment

Besides these basic things, you will probably want to pack a camera and its charger. Also, you can pack a pair of flip flops and in case of rain – an compact umbrella and a plastic poncho. If you still have some room left, you may bring a small notebook and a couple of pens. Also, make sure to pack headphones in your pocket, because long voyages will be dull without music.

CC0 Public Domain

And in the end, follow this rule: when in doubt, leave it out. Not only will you have less weight in your back (for which the spine and your legs will be thankful), but you will have more time to enjoy yourself and enjoy the beautiful seesights of the country you are visiting. If you need something else on the road, remember that you can easily buy it. The world has become a global village. Enjoy it while you can!

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