Stress-Free Packing Tips

With additional luggage fees and the risk of your checked luggage not arriving when you do -- not to mention the time spent waiting at the baggage claim -- it makes more sense than ever to learn how to pack light. Think packing only a carry-on is an impossible feat? Read on.

Woman packing luggage

There's an art to packing light. But with some practice, you can become a pro. Soon, checking in luggage will become a thing of the past, and you, too, can snicker at newbie travellers lugging enormous bags. While they stand impatiently at the baggage check, you'll be strolling right on by with your efficient, compact carry-on.

Make a packing list

Well before your trip, make a list of essentials. Check the weather forecast for your destination and adjust your clothing and footwear accordingly. Be sure to include travel items such as your guidebook, camera, and charging cords for your cell phone, etc. Stick to the essentials. Sure, it'd be nice to have a travel candle to enjoy in your room, but is it a must? No.

Select shoes carefully

Shoes can take up a lot of space, so plan your outfits and shoes with care. Consider your most important activities on this trip. If you will doing a lot of sightseeing, do you have a pair that is stylish enough to be worn more formally, while also conducive to all the walking you will be doing? (Perhaps some ballet flats?) If possible, wear your least luggage-friendly (ie. the most bulky) shoes on your flight. When packing, don't forget to take advantage of the space inside shoes by stuffing them with socks or a bikini. The idea is to use up every possible square centimetre of space in your bag!

Bring versatile clothing pieces

Edit, edit, edit down your clothing choices to things that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. Dress in layers so you can avoid bringing bulky jackets for colder climates. Bring pieces that tend to wrinkle less to save you from ironing upon your arrival.

Include some laundry packets

Include some packets of detergent so you can wash some pieces and rewear them during your trip, and you'll cut down on the necessary outfit options.

Buy some items at your destination

Depending on where you are travelling, you can pick certain items up at your destination, rather than toting them along -- shampoo, for example (or simply use what the hotel provides).

Keep in mind that size matters

Wherever possible, go small. If you must bring a hair dryer, bring a travel-size version. Alternatively, plan to bring some products that'll allow you to avoid blow-drying your hair, such as dry shampoo; or style your hair in a travel-friendly way -- a side braid, for example -- that'll eliminate the need for a load of styling products.

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