How to Pack Light and Still Pack Everything

When I travel, especially overseas, I always opt to take a carry-on and light backpack—goodbye, checked luggage! The benefit is that I never have to worry about luggage getting lost, and it cuts down my travel time, especially when I’m going to be taking lots of little hopper planes throughout the course of my trip. So, how do you pack light without leaving out a critical item? Here are some items I would recommend packing or considering investing in someday to maximize your minimal packing list.

  1. 1. Invest in a Kobo or Kindle and say goodbye to heavy books

    Entertainment is important when you’re traveling. If you’re staying in hostels, there will be nights where you want to relax after a long day of exploring with your new friends, and what better way than with a book? Kobo’s and Kindle’s are very light and many of them have built-in lights! Yay! One less thing to pack. They retail at about a hundred dollars, so it’s definitely an investment, but you will be saving LOTS of money when you start purchasing books because e-books are almost always significantly cheaper than paperback.

  2. 2. Wear one pair of shoes and pack the other

    You don’t need more than two pairs of shoes, from my experience. Waterproof running shoes are the best, but they are often clunkier. What has worked for me is a breathable pair of running shoes and either waterproof ankle boots (if I’m going somewhere chilly) or supportive sandals (if I’m going somewhere hot). If you’re concerned about looking glamorous on a night out, just remember that ankle boots can be easily dressed up, and the style nowadays is to wear sneakers with a dress and leather jacket—so, no worries there!

  3. 3. Downsize your beauty products

    You know that stunning moisturizer you got that cost you an arm and a leg? Yeah, well, the massive bottle it comes in isn’t going to work for border security or your luggage. Whenever I pack my beauty and hair products I always put a small amount in an old hotel-sized shampoo bottle and only take what I need!!

  4. 4. Say goodbye to your straightener and curler

    If you’re emotionally attached to your straightener or curling wand, it’s time to now fall in love with your natural locks. Not only do those items take up space and weight in your luggage, but in a lot of other countries, the voltage coursing through the wall plug is waaaayyyyy too powerful for your Canadian straightener to handle. Even with a wall converter, there’s a good chance you’ll blow the straightener and it’ll never work again. So, goodbye manicured locks and hello oh-naturel cheveux.

  5. 5. Bring Wrinkle-resistant clothes

    Everyone wants to look nice, and an easy way to make that happen is packing wrinkle-resistant clothes. Spandex is great for that, but if you want to look a little dressier and less like you’re heading to the gym, you could pack some wrinkle-resistant white or black t-shirts and a collared blouse to elevate the look. Plus, a spandex-blend blazer will instantly make you look effortlessly classy.

  6. 6. Bring minimal or no jewelry—and only the cheap stuff 

    There is ALWAYS a possibility your hostel, Air Bnb, or hotel room could get broken into. So, don’t bring that expensive family heirloom passed down from your great Aunt Bertha. It’s not worth it, even for the photos! Instead, bring one pair of cheap gold or silver-toned earrings or necklace if you want to exude that class without risking losing something precious to your heart and wallet.

I hope these tips help you on your next vacation… whenever that may be. What are your tricks for packing light? Share them in the comments below.