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6 Ways to Pack a Light Travel Bag for More Blissful Travels

View from the airplane window as I traveled with my Urban Southern Travel Bag

I have learned to pack less and less each time I travel. In two days I’ll get on a flight for Tokyo to spend two weeks abroad over the holidays. Being the adventurer that I am means that I won’t be staying in only one area during my stay in Japan. I’ll be on the trains, the bus, and my feet as I explore a culturally rich country.

As I was planning this trip, I gave myself a personal challenge of packing a really light travel bag. My goal was to travel with only a carry-on bag. I accomplished that goal by fitting everything that I need for all 17 days in the Market Tote

Traveling Light Will Make Your Trip more Enjoyable

No matter the reason you’re traveling — to spend time with family, to enjoy a new experience, to reconnect with old friends, to relax — you want to have a good time. You won’t enjoy any bliss in your travels if you’re dragging around a ball and chain, aka too much luggage.

When You Pack Heavy, Things Get Complicated

Ain’t nobody got time for that, honey.

When you travel, you always end up walking around with your luggage more than you think you will. Think about that while you pack.

Tip: Ask yourself if the one thing you really want to take is worth carrying or pulling everywhere you go.
Remember: If you take too many things on your trip, you won’t have any room left to bring cool things home with you!

Tiny little car memeJapanese women shopping with their bags.

6 Ways to Pack a Light Travel Bag

Try these tips to prioritize what to take on your next trip.

One. Pack for the best case scenario, not the worst case scenario.

Packing for the best case scenario will save you time and trouble.

Have you ever packed for the worst possible outcome, only to come home and unpack half of your luggage, realizing you didn’t even use half of it? I know, I’ve been there. We’ve been doing it all wrong.

Say something happens on your trip and you need an item you didn’t bring, you’ll more than likely be able to go out and find a solution more affordable than the price of a carry-on. You may also be able to borrow what you need from a friend or family member.

planters_market_tote_leather_bag

Two. Pack clothing that is color coordinated.

Lay your clothing side by side in a row. Do all of the colors play well together? Swap out any colors that don’t work well with the others. Keep it simple by packing either neutral dark tones or neutral light tones with only one or two colorful options.

Three. Pack lightweight tops that can be dressed up or dressed down.

Versatile, basic tops will be your best friend as you travel. I also packed two shirt dresses that can be worn alone or paired with bottoms for a layered look.

Sunlight chapel in the center of Tokyo with leather travel bag.

Market Tote as a travel bag in Tokyo.

Four. Pack clothing options for one week, no matter how long your trip is.

How much do you really need? When you come up with a plan of outfit options for one week, you’ll be set for your trip by repeating these options each week for the duration of your trip. Plan to do laundry each week.

Experts recommend packing only one pair of shoes and two pairs of bottoms. I researched capsule wardrobes as I was packing for this trip so I chose to pack wardrobe staples: a pair of high waisted black jeans and a distressed pair of blue jeans. These two bottoms create a range of casual and dressy outfit options.

I chose a pair of Eddie Baur boat shoes that could work with every outfit I packed. They are also very comfortable and supportive for walking.

If you anticipate snow where you’re traveling, consider packing a cute pair of boots that will work well outdoors as well as looking cute with what you’re wearing.

If you have to take a second pair of shoes along, choose a pair of sparkly Tieks flats. These sweet little flats fold up small, making them the most compact shoe I’ve ever seen. They’re so comfortable for all the fun hours of being on your feet.

Tip: Roll all of your clothing up instead of folding it. This really helps to save space and keeps your travel bag from getting cluttered as easily.

Front of a coffee cafe.

Five. Minimize cosmetics and personal items.

I take only my favorite, most basic cosmetics along with me when I travel. It’s simply not necessary to pack three eye color compacts, two different colors of blush, and four lipsticks.

Consider leaving out your razor. You can grab a cheap one when you get to where you’re going.

On this trip, I packed a facial bar for all my cleansing needs. I included a small lotion bar for my moisturizing needs.

I love using bars when I travel. Bars, bars, bars people! Reasons: 1. They can’t spill all over your bag as the pressure changes during flight because they are solid. 2. They take up less space.

Tip: I cut my bars into quarters so I could take only about what I’ll use on this trip. This might seem extreme but trust me, every little bit of minimizing will help your travel bag be a little bit lighter.

A historical walkway full of illustrated artwork.

Six. When in doubt, leave it out.

This point serves to drive home the first point of packing your travel bag for the best case scenario. Almost every time that I’ve packed that extra thing I thought I might need as I travel, I get home and realize I never used it.

By keeping this simple statement in mind, you won’t waste time and energy by lugging unnecessary items around.

Keep your travels easy, happy and light the way they're supposed to be.Click To Tweet

What do you think?

Leave a comment below with your favorite travel tips!

4 Comments

  1. Andrew E. Dasilva on December 17, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Hey, The picture of the bag you provide in this article is really good. I gifted my wife this bag. She is feeling comfortable with this. Thank you.

  2. Jonathan L. Chagoya on January 7, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Such an amazing article.The pictures are Also Awesome.I love the article.Thanks for writing.

  3. Nyk@TopHammocks on January 30, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Packing is always a daunting task for me and I must say that my poor travel bag packing skill often put me in a trouble at airport or railway station. Thank God, I found this post where I read the exact solution to my confusion. Thanks for sharing such cool pics and tips!

  4. Simi on June 30, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Thanks for sharing a great tips. I hope my next tour is very smooth.

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