How can you pack light for your next trip? Minimize your packing list to just the essentials, pack clothing and toiletries that do double-duty, and invest in a backpack. I'll share some tips on how best to achieve all three and set you on the path of minimalist travel.
What are the benefits to packing light? Lightening your load does wonders for your sense of well-being while making you a nimble and agile traveler, better able to handle the stress of traveling. I have learned this lesson the hard way. Living in New York necessitates carrying bags of your "stuff" constantly. Over the years, this "lugging" has aggravated my shoulders to the point of making it nearly impossible to carry anything heavy for extended periods. The idea of putting further strain on already taxed muscles has made me readjust how I travel. Here are some of my tips - to alleviate any physical strain and (and perhaps most importantly) take the "stress" out of packing:
Travel Light Tip #1:
Invest in a Backpack
This is the true secret of any good packer and to creating the ultimate travel bag. Unless you are embarking on multi-week trip overseas, going to a formal event, or engaging in a sporting activity on your vacation, you CAN get by with one backpack to carry your things. I put this to the test on my recent weekend trip home for Christmas. I knew the aircraft was too small to allow for even a roll-on bag, so a backpack was the best solution.
The beauty of a backpack? It is a breeze to travel with and puts the least amount of strain on your shoulders. When even a carry-on bag may be too cumbersome, this is your best option.
And before you shout - a backpack? I’ve never owned one in my life! Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes - from truly luxurious to a backpackers dream pack capable of walking the Appalachian Trail. Find your style - find the right size - and make the investment.
Kastrup backpack, Want Les Essentiels
Adams, The Heights Backpack, STATE Bags
Raven 28 Backpack, Fjallraven
Travel Light Tip #2:
Toiletries Must Fit into a Carry-On Bag
Your packing list will likely include your toiletry must-haves. Especially so for me - I am a beauty and makeup junkie. I will always have an excuse to buy another black eyeliner. But you do not need to travel with a train case full of beauty products. Prioritize what is necessary and ditch anything that doesn’t fit in a TSA-approved travel toiletry bag.
Have a favorite face lotion or shampoo? Buy a small travel size container and fill with just enough for a few days use. I take soon-to-be empty face creams and deposit the remaining in a small jar with a screw top lid. It’s a great way to make sure you use all of a product, while providing an on-the-go option at the ready (more on some of my beauty tips in later posts……)
Travel Light Tip #3:
Pack Only Multi-Functional Clothing
This one is pretty obvious, right? Consider what you really need, and what can you use for multiple purposes. Often it’s one pair of pants, a couple of shirts, a blazer/cardigan and you’re done. Jewelry does immense wonders to dress up any outfit, and black leggings can go from casual to chic with a mere top change.
Travel Light Tip #4:
Accessories That Do Double-Duty
You can indeed tuck your laptop into your backpack if necessary. The best backpacks will have a built-in laptop pouch (see above). Ditch bringing an actual book (it pains me to say as an avid bookworm with a large book collection), and download to your phone or computers. Better yet, download a free classic book and use travel as an excuse to tackle your must-read list (try the Gutenberg Project).
Too scared to try? Do a test run before your next trip. I promise you will feel a sense of accomplishment having minimized your “stuff” to a mere backpack. You can breeze through the airport hands-free and light as air as others are bogged down by luggage. Air travel is already stressful enough. Take the guesswork out of packing and aim to travel light whenever possible. Your mind, and your sense of well-being, will thank you.