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How to Avoid Overpacking

When traveling, whether it be abroad, between states, or even just for a weekend at the lake, it is easy to fall victim to overpacking.

The packing process starts with the necessities and somehow explodes into three extra pairs of shoes, and about three variations of the same shirt, just in case. This is fine if you are traveling in a car and manage your things well, but for those trying to fly places, or planning to stay in close quarters with other, overpacking almost always ends up being a nightmare.

The only genuine pro to overpacking is the availability of options. Sure, bringing more outfits than nights out or days away will allow you a little wiggle room with the planning of clothing ensembles, but sometimes more choices does not help anyways.

More than likely, you will wear exactly what you had planned to wear before the suitcase was stuffed with “just in case” tops and bottoms, and the extra will remain unfolded at the bottom of the bag, or they will end up left behind in some corner of the place to which you traveled.

The best way to avoid overpacking is to make a list of exactly what you will need for your trip. This means the bare minimum you can get away with taking.


1) The Essentials

Pack first the things that would ruin a weekend if you did not have them. For example, if you are traveling internationally, your passport would fit into this category. A form of ID, a wad of cash some form of money, contacts or glasses if you need them. This will insure that once you get to your destination, should you realize you forgot something, you won’t have to turn the car around because the trip has officially been made impossible.


2) The Reusables

Next, think about what the trip will entail and find an article of clothing or pair of shoes that can be worn at all times. Whether it be a pair of sandals, or a jean skirt, having something that can be worn to everything will become your safety blanket.


3) The Truly “Just In Case”s

From there, plan your outfits around the safety blanket and you will come to find that you do not need to pack nearly as much as you thought you would. Try to limit the shoes, as they take up the most space, and wear a pair that is essential to your trip so you know you have them.


4) The Toiletries

Finally, pack your toiletries according to a checklist you make prior to entering the bathroom. This way you don’t pack them as you go, which more often than not results in a forgotten item. Given that you will probably want to brush your teeth before you leave and maybe run a brush through your hair, leaving your toiletries to be packed last is a good way to finish the packing process.


Taking fewer things means that if your luggage is lost, or you are sharing a space with a lot of people, you can limit the things you misplace.

Take it from me when I say that packing light makes life so much easier. You have less time to decide what to wear and more time enjoying your destination. Not to mention, you will have a little space left over in case you find some amazing souvenir or new pair of shoes to bring home!!

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