I’m really big on travel lately and over the past few years have been on various trips in North America. On all of the trips I’ve been, short or long, I’ve packed too much. I always end up returning home with outfits or shoes that I haven’t worn. Those things that I have packed “just in case”, I never end up using. In fact, during most trips, I end up wearing the same few outfits, usually dresses, more than once. Just like at home, I don’t need a huge selection of clothing items to get me through a couple of weeks.
I find this really frustrating, because I know that if I didn’t pack so much, I may have been able to fit my stuff in a carry-on bag, thereby saving myself money if the airline charges for checked bags, and time if waiting for the baggage carousal.
At the very least, packing fewer items would make my suitcase a bit more manageable when trying to get to my accommodation.
Despite my previous struggles, I seem to have been able to nail down a process for packing less, now that I have more practice with travelling.
Bag Up some Laundry Soap
Most of my reservation for taking items out of my suitcase stems from the idea that I may not have enough clean clothing to get me through my trip.
I don’t know about you, but when I travel, my clothes can become quite filthy. I’m walking a lot, sweating, eating, sitting on planes and out in the elements, and wearing dirty clothes is not only gross but it doesn’t make me feel very good either.
I hand wash a lot of my clothes at home anyway, so putting some light laundry soap in a small ziplock bag and washing some comfortable favourites every few days instead of packing a whole new outfit for every day of the trip is really helpful. Plus, I find that even unworn clothing sitting in a suitcase can feel not so fresh when you pull it out so this will take care of that as well.
Resolve to Bring a Smaller Bag
Deciding and committing to only bring a carry on, or at least a smaller bag, is key to actually doing it. If you commit, you’ll be more likely to think about what you are packing more thoroughly instead of putting all of those “just in case” outfits into your bag.
Only having what you need is surprisingly freeing and will free up the space mentally and physically to think about what you really need to bring, so you don’t forget about anything.
Avoid the “What-Ifs”
When I went to NYC, I brought too many pairs of high heels thinking that I would have plenty of opportunity to go out and party with my friend.
This wasn’t the case however; by the time 10:00 PM rolled around, we were both exhausted and not in the mood for going out to night clubs.
High heels are clunky, so they were taking up a huge amount of room in my suitcase and I didn’t even use one pair.
If there is something that you think you might do but aren’t sure, instead of just packing for that thing, why not throw out the “just in case” or the “what if” because if you aren’t sure now that you are going to do it, you probably aren’t. If you do end up, say, going to a night club, by a pair of nicer shoes at a second hand store and save yourself the hassle.
How do you avoid over packing when you go away?
Unless you’re going to the middle of nowhere, if you forget to pack something you could usually buy it at your end destination. So it’s not end of the world.
Hand washing your clothes is a great way to reduce amount of clothing you need for the trip. This is something I do as well.
So true. Plus hand washing is gentler on your clothes!
I usually hand wash some underwear and maybe sox when I travel for a long(er) trip.
Yes, I do the same and then anything that I have worn more than twice.
My wife and I decided not to worry about packing everything (like the what ifs). We will buy it if we absolutely need it, whatever it may be. We have found that we almost never need anything other than the essential items we pack and it gives us more room when traveling. Double win! lol
Exactly! You learn after some big trips hat you don’t need to bring everything,