6 tips from a seasoned light packer: this way everything will fit in your travel bag

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With the summer vacation right around the corner, many of us have to face the necessary evil: packing for the vacation. Not too fun since many airlines restricted bagage allowance in size and weight and a car doesn’t have endless space either. Over the years I have become a pro in light packing: traveling with as little as possible and not missing anything. And that’s no rocket science. You can do it too and I’ll show you how with a few simple tips.

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The first and most important tip is: #1 Roll up your clothes!

Much more will fit in your bag and it will not be wrinkled once you take it out at your destination. With this mini beaver dam on the picture, I can easily last a week. Picking items and colors that combine well, helps but you probably already thought of that yourself. I always put my flip flops under the elastic ropes of my backpack. Saves space inside. The water bottle fits nicely in the pocket on the side.

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I still remember the reaction of the apartment owner in Croatia: “Is that all?,” pointing with some disbelief at my small backpack. Yes, everything is in there. He was obviously used to more luggage. I used to be too. You probably recognize this: you pack everything, just in case, because what if you suddenly need it there? The things that you happen to ‘suddenly need there’ are usually limited to a hoodie (‘oh those evenings are cooler than expected’) and band aids (‘I never have blisters at home, only on vacation.’ Yeah well you don’t often walk 15 kilometers over impossible cobblestones at home either). So, the pair of pants that have been hanging in your closet for the past seven years without being worn, can stay at home. Minor chance that you’ll all of a suddenly wear those on vacation.

#2 Pack ‘old’ socks and ‘old’ underwear

Everyone has them; socks with thinner areas waiting to become holes soon and underwear with elastic that starts to break. Save them in your drawer throughout the year and take them on vacation. After use you throw ‘m away, saving you room in your luggage on the way back, maybe for a cheesy souvenir. By the way: don’t wear those socks with thinner spots on that long hike day. That might be a little less convenient, unless you have enough band aids with you. 🙂

#3 Check the dimensions of the permitted carry-on bag every time you travel

Yes, bag, because Ryanair meanwhile changed the rules again and trolleys are no longer allowed as regular carry-on. You have to either pay extra or buy a priority ticket. Other airlines will likely follow this example or have already done so (Wizzair). And the rules change often so don’t assume it will be the same as a few months ago.

#4 Put some detergent in a travel bottle…

… and do some laundry on location. Especially if you go on a trip that lasts longer than a few days, this can help a lot to still travel with little luggage.

#5 Purchase certain hygiëne products on location

Shampoo, shower gel, deodorant: I rarely take those with me but just buy it on the spot (or use the minis in my hotel if they are provided). But it is often cheaper to just buy a bottle of shampoo, shower gel and deodorant in the local supermarket, especially if you are with two or three girls and share, it’s ideal. If not finished, I leave the products for the next guest, who is probably grateful if he/she has forgotten his/hers or even had the same plan as I did. And it saves you some space and weight in your luggage. Plus those minis are relatively expensive to buy anyway.

#6 Dress “efficiently”

Maybe very obvious, but I often see people on the plane in shorts, on flip-flops and with two bulging bags. Not necessary; I’d rather wear more things and be a bit warmer on the plane (no excessive luxury with air conditioning on a freezing level normally) and have less to carry. So I wear layers, a nice cardigan, a scarf (multifunctional!), long pants and the sneakers/running shoes that I’ll use to walk long distances (and which would take the most space in my bag). That handy scarf that you bring also helps during cold evenings or unexpected church visits.

Enjoy your summer!

Love, Bridget