How To | Life

Packing Lightly Tips

October 23, 2013

My good friend Becky is a traveller. She’s been all over the world during her Navy career, and now that she’s out of the Navy, she travels whenever she gets the chance. Today, she’s sharing with you a few tips to packing light!

I recently visited a loved one in San Diego on a whirlwind weekend trip.  I left Thursday after school and came back that Sunday afternoon.  While I hated how short this visit was, I know that it is MUCH needed.  While out there I attended a formal military event, which required me to dress up.

How to Pack Lightly from BetweenWeekdays.com3

As all women know, it’s all about what you wear.  I spent weeks finding the perfect dress. Given my horrible history with airlines and travel, I decided against depending on the airline to get my checked baggage to across the country with me.  I forced myself to tackle the idea of packing lightly and efficiently, which was certainly not an easy task for me.  I’m the girl who packs for ALL of the ‘what ifs.’  The idea of packing a small bag for the weekend is daunting.

What if I forget something? What if the weather is unpredictable? What if I start my period three weeks early? Yes, these are all things that run through my head when I pack.  Then I reminded myself that it costs $25 to check a bag which means this poor college student would be saving $50 by packing lighter! Score!

In order to do this, I had to give myself a pep talk and then plan each outfit meticulously.  I decided to put each day’s outfit into a ziplock bag.  In this ziplock bag, I included the clothes, underclothes, and jewelry that I planned on wearing. Once I remove all the air from the bags, these take up considerably less space than folded clothes would.

How to Pack Lightly at BetweenWeekdays.comAnother space saving tip that I thought of while packing is to wear a pair of jeans when traveling.  Airplanes are always cold to me, and so I was able to save a lot of room by planning to wear the jeans on both days of travel.  This also allowed for a ‘what if” in case it got chilly in California.

How to Pack Lightly at BetweenWeekdays.com2


(Yes! That tiny bag was all she needed for her cross-country trip!)

Another good tip for traveling lightly: if you are going to stay with a loved one that you see frequently, leave an extra bottle of shampoo and conditioner at their house.  I did this the last time I was in California, and so I get to save ton of space and weight in my carry on.  I know this is not always a feasible option, but if it is possible, then I recommend it!

There are always several options to packing light, and I recommend that you do research on your airline before you commit to this.  The airline I flew charged $25 for a carry on, so it probably would have been just as cheap and a lot less stressful to check a bag.  What tips do you guys have for traveling lightly? I’d love to hear them!

Isn’t my friend Becky a genius? I thought I’d throw in a couple of my own packing light tips, too, even though I’m not nearly as efficient at packing!

  • Make a list! If you have a list ready before you begin packing, you’ll be a lot less likely to second guess yourself and add items at the end. Plus, you’ll be a lot less likely to forget your cell phone charger…
  • Think about what you really need. For me, that’s my own personal blow dryer. It takes up a lot of room, but I’ll gladly swap that extra pair of shoes for my own blow dryer.
  • Pack pieces that can be work several times, such as jeans or cardigans.
  • Make simple swaps. Here’s a true story: my grandmother took a full size fan to California with her a few years ago. Why? She can’t sleep without it. I also can’t sleep without a fan, but I’m not going to give up half of my suitcase. Instead, I found an app that sounds like a fan that will run all night long.

I’d like to send a BIG thank you to Becky! I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I do. She’ll be back soon with more traveling tips!


All comments are encouraged and appreciated!